It's a long drive; usually takes me a total of 5-1/2 to 6 hours depending on how many stops I make and how much time I spend at those stops. There are basically three legs to the journey, as I see it. On the way to my retreat, the first leg takes me out of town, over a mountain pass, and then down into the lovely John Day River valley. The trek over the pass was unpleasant. It was snowing. It had been snowing. Thanks be to God, there was very little traffic (which is usually the case). I get anxious when I have a car behind me wanting me to go faster.
At a certain point, the road conditions improved markedly, and I thought, "Aha! This has been recently plowed!" Sure enough, a caught up with the snow plow. I was happy to follow along behind, but alas, the driver turned off before we got past the snowfall!
|The snow plow is barely visible, but it's there in the center of the photo,|
sending up a spray of snow behind it.
The return trip was a different matter.
On the major highway, it was snowing and raining, and there was plenty of icy slush on the road. Plus, there's traffic there, and not everyone drives carefully! I saw one car that had spun out and ended up on the side of the road facing the wrong direction; no injuries, and I think the same vehicle passed me later on!
|I do not like driving in this stuff, especially since my little car does not|
have 4-wheel-drive! (I was practically at a stop to take this photo, with no other
vehicles in sight!)
The John Day valley was again easily traveled, though the rain continued. Then...the final leg. Over Dixie Summit again, up to Austin Junction, and down the mountain. Snow. Snow. Snow. White-out conditions in a couple of places. This leg, which generally takes me about an hour and 45 minutes, took an hour longer than that. I did not take any photos along that stretch; even though I was mostly alone on the road, I didn't want to stop to snap a picture - I just wanted to get home! The photo below is on the very last 10-mile stretch before home.
In the almost 12 years I've been making this bi-monthly trip, this was the worst driving I'd seen; so all in all, that's a pretty good track record, I guess. But I found it quite exhausting! Still, as I usually do, once I reached my destination, I sat back and considered that, "Well, it could have been worse!"
Looking back on it, though, it's just a condensed version of life, isn't it? The ups and downs, the storms and calms, the bad weather and good. In our travels, we must trust God, while making prudent travel decisions as well! (In retrospect, I wish I'd put my trip off by a week; but there is no predicting weather in this part of the country!) Usually, we can look back and say, "It could have been worse. Thank God it wasn't!" The same "travel" analogy holds for our spiritual life as well, I'm sure you will agree. That is why I pray every day to the Archangel Raphael - for safe travels through life, whether that involves physical, emotion, or spiritual travel.
Lord Jesus Christ, have mercy on me!