It’s all about who you know and who’s with you.

I just got back from the Midwest Division Young Life Student Staff Weekend in Chicago. Check out #YLshakinupchicago to catch up on the trending take-aways from the 260 college leaders who came to share, learn, worship, and adventure.

One part of my job with YL is to help coordinate the trip for 4 big college areas in our region. This year, two borrowed conversion vans from Lincoln, NE, a cozy mini-van from Lawrence KS (7 people in 7 seats!), a 12 passenger van from St. Louis, and a Chevy Suburban from St. Joseph carried our crew to the Windy (but a pleasant 72 degrees) City. I was in the rented 2014 Suburban with 6 great folks from St. Joe. Their leader is my dear friend and first YL girl, Sara Hare.

Sara and me

Sara and me

I was excited to spend the weekend with this group but was packing some regret and stress alongside my black puffy vest and skinny jeans. Lots of me wanted to stay home and pack up our house, hang with my kids while Drew worked tax craziness all weekend, and go to a wedding of good friends at the gym.  All good things, one busy weekend.

Bringing back some goods for my kiddos

Bringing back some goods for my kiddos

The conference was grand. We packed back up in the Suburban to leave the Chicago burbs around 11:30am yesterday which was to put us back in KC around 7pm. All was well as we lumbered down the road until the radio cut out.

I was driving and came to notice the radio cut off also included the entire electrical system. We had a fully functional car but no information. All gauge needles rested at zero. How much gas I had left or what speed at which I was traveling, became a mystery and a guessing game.  The cruise control, gas pedal, brakes and steering worked fine. The turning signals and automatic windows were moot. We drove to a gas station and shut the car off at the pump. I erroneously assumed the car would restart and the electricl system would resume normal function- like an iphone or computer might do. Instead, there was no engine function and a dead battery when we tried to turn the key. We were on the phone with roadside assistance shortly and were told we would have a new car brought within 120 minutes.

The St Joe crew

The St Joe crew

At this point, the 5 college leaders, hunkered down. They flexed. They wandered from the car to the inside of the gas station. They dabbled with their phones and conversed with each other. They bought donuts and ice cream and shared snacks. They wrestled in the back of the stalled Suburban and they NEVER EVER COMPLAINED.

I called to check on the status at the 2 hour wait mark, and was told there was now no car as promised at the replacement pick-up location. We were told it would be another 2 hours. I relayed the news to my passengers who once again, swallowed the information- thinking of their chemistry test due at midnight and their 45 minute solo drive back to school after we dropped them off at the meeting point now a whole 4 hours later that previously assumed- and they smiled bewildered smiles. They started scanning the horizon and making a plan to find this little town’s main street to stretch their legs. No one threw a fit, no one cried.

Note the smiles and good cheer

Note the smiles and good cheer

We decided to push the car out of the pump stall before we walked off to town. I tossed the keys to one of the guys and asked him to put it in neutral. When he casually turned the keys, the car started! The engine fired up and full electrical function returned. We were shocked and elated! We were on our way!!!

As we drove, we celebrated. I thanked them for their attitudes and patience. I could not imagine being in such a circumstance with many other people I know who would have handled it so well. I loved the extra time to talk to Sara and her team. I felt no pressure or anxiety from these people relying on me to make phone calls to get us back on track. I love my family, but I don’t think it would have gone as well if I had been with the very people I’m related to by blood.

Today, I’m celebrating those people I don’t have to like, but do. I didn’t know the St Joe student staff leaders very well, or at all, but can now say I truly enjoy and appreciate them as ministers of the gospel and my friends. I work with them because it’s my job, but I’d hang out with them even if it wasn’t.

I am fortunate to have relationships with quite a few people who make ordinary life transactions enjoyable. 

1. My Hyvee ladies. I love my neighborhood HyVee. More than the layout or selection of items, I appreciate my friends in the check-out lanes: Leslie, Andrea, and Deanna. They have watched my kids grow up, listened to my life, commented on my produce selection, and hit on my husband…well, just one of them who is married and 60 something…truly, her comments serve only to flatter us both.

2. My phlebotomists Cynthia and Jana. (Come to think of it, these ladies also fall into a Drew-swooning category). When we go to give blood, Drew and I are among friends. They follow our life through stories. They knew about Oakley’s ear injury and checked up on us and him the next time we were in. They are great to talk to and hear from.

3. My OB-GYN is one of the most genuine and kind people I know and I just plain really like her. She took such great care to advocate for me through my pregnancy and birthing plans with Oakley. I loved going to office visits and check-ups because seeing Lee was a time to be encouraged, heard, cared for, and often just really fun. I felt she really liked me and I absolutely return the feelings!

4. My neighbors. Beyond borrowing eggs, milk,  or teaspoons of nutmeg, my house-mates, Abbie and Delanie, are our friends. I like them as people and am in awe of their strength as a family. I appreciate their help in reminding me my garage door is ,but also like sharing conversations in our driveway and our cookie decorating Christmas tradition.

All these great people and now we are indeed moving. Our offer was accepted last week on the house we found and loved. We will close April 25th and move April 26th. The timing is amazing and we are blown away by the blessing of this gift of a home.

When we move, we won’t geographically connect as easily with our neighbors but can continue to be friends. There will be a loss in the change for both our families.

As we move in the next few weeks, I realize, we will be around new people. We don’t know the people on our new street at all, but if the story of my life continues in its current theme, I assume we will really enjoy at least some of them! Maybe my college friends from St. Joe will grow up and come live on my street!

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