A Feast in the Midst of Trouble

I bought my second Santa Fe last year. It was the during the COVID Lockdown. I wanted to try out my new four wheel drive. I went to visit my sister . She was careful about visitors as she was in touch with sick people. We chatted over coffee outside in the sunshine. The driveway up to her house is quite steep. She had recently installed an iron hand rail for ease in walking down or up to her house.

I said my goodbyes and jumped in my car. I drove off. Suddenly I heard “Crunch”. My car got impailed on the iron rail and left a long dent in the back door. My new car, What will Brendan say? I shook with fear. I sat paralysed. If I drive forward or backwards the dent will get longer. I felt helpless. The joy I had, evaporated. My sister reassured me till I recovered and got out of the car. I got in touch with my son and he came to the rescue. There is a signature dent across the back passenger door.

Fast forward to this past week. The car mechanic had rang me to tell me he had finished fixing my hand break. I asked Brendan to drive me to Saintfield to pick up my car and we could go for breakfast after. Before we left the house Brendan reminded me to bring my mobile phone. We drove to pick up my car.

I paid my mechanic and was delighted with getting my car road worthy again. Brendan and I agreed to meet back in Saintfield. I drove off, turned on the window wipers, the lights, the radio and had the heating up full blast. It was a dull, wet, cold morning. I was comfortable in my wagon, sheltered from wind and rain.

The Main Street in Saintfield is busy with traffic. Cars were trying to manoeuvre aroad a parked loading lorry. I got a parking space opposite the cafe Saints. I waited for Brendan.

I ordered freshly made pancakes with bacon. Brendan was having a coffee as he was meeting someone for lunch. We chatted and I shared my happiness at getting my car back. I was even happier when the waitress brought me three fluffy freshly cooked pancakes draped with maple syrup.

Breakfast over Brendan and I parted and said we would see each other back home in Belfast. I walked back to my car to find a white sheet on the dashboard. “Oh no”a parking ticket I thought. More money! It was a notice which read “Your car moved down the hill into the car in front.” I thought that’s strange I have just got my brakes repaired. A lady came out of a shop nearby. She told me what happened. The car in front was owned by an elderly man who had just stopped to pick up his pension from the Bank. He was distressed to see my car. He was afraid to move his car. Other shop keepers came to the rescue. Some one went looking for me in the local shops and cafes. I couldn’t be found. I was happy eating my breakfast across the way without any disturbance.

A driver had the bright idea to put a brick in front of my wheels to stop it moving again. Then the gentleman could drive off. He left his phone number for me.

I thanked everyone who had helped and apologised profusely. I wanted to get out of there fast! I jumped in the car and turned the key but no response. More trouble! It just went Click. Click when I tried the key again. What is happening? Then I remembered the radio, the heater, the wipers and the lights had run down my battery.

I wasn’t too distressed this time. I called Brendan to come back to help me. In the meantime I called the car mechanic. I didn’t have long to wait. He parked alongside my car and got my battery recharged. He removed the bricks from the wheels. The traffic got jammed again on the Main Street. Brendan returned. “It’s just as well you had your mobile or you would have been stranded!“

Just the events of a morning when it should have been quite straight forward to pick up my car. There was trouble but I didn’t loose my joy. I was having a feast while people were looking for me. I’m on the road again!

Boats

I make boats from drift wood I find on the shore near where I live. I have wood I intend to use that is the remains of a rowing boat that was abandoned by its owner. The winter storms buffeted and broke apart the once loved vessel. I enjoy making something new and beautiful, a sailing boat ornament, from that which is discarded or broken. The reclaimed wood is now loved by its new owner as it sits on display in his home.

Today I travelled across Strangford Lough by ferry to see and pray for a friend. While I was waiting at the harbour a beautiful, slim lined yacht passed gracefully through the water. It had two masts that reached skywards. It towered over other yachts parked nearby. The ferry seemed small in comparison to this vehicle. It is a visitor to these parts.

I soon forgot about the beautiful vessel when the ferryman said my ferry card, to pay for the journey, was out of credit. I resisted the temptation to be annoyed. I paid the full price for the journey.

On my return home I wanted to call into a shop to top up my card which gives subsidised journeys on the ferry. I knew I risked not getting on the ferry because of restrictions to the number of vehicles due to Covid. I collected my card and drove to the terminal. The boat was full and the ferryman signalled to me, no more vehicles. I stopped, resigned to wait an half an hour till the ferry returned.

I said a quick prayer, “Please Lord let the ferryman change his mind.” Just as I said that he asked drivers on deck to move forward to make room for another vehicle. He beckoned me forward.

I was super excited at the quick answer to prayer. I was full of joy and thanked the men for their help in making room for me. The ferry launched forward. I saw the sky move and wondered what was happening. Then there was a crash. My car had moved backwards and broke the long pole that is lifted and closed when cars get on and off the ferry. I was disoriented and in shock. In my excitement at getting on the ferry, I forgot to put the handbrake on. No one else saw what happened.

I waited trembling on my journey across the Lough. “What will the staff think when they see the pole crash landed at the back of the boat! I have damaged the ferry boat. That woman I made room for, look what she has done!” Perhaps I should have stayed at home and not bothered going out to help a friend. I remembered a promise from Psalm 121, ” I will watch over your going in and out”. I said another quick prayer, “Help” to God. I waited as other cars started up their engines, preparing to disembark when we got to the other side.

Then one staff member discovered the damage. He called to another. Three or four men gathered to look at the fallen barrier. I waited in trepidation. There was no scolding. No rebuke. In fact they laughed at what had happened. Thankfully they waved me forward and off the boat. They will take care of it. No calling the police to the scene of an accident. Thank God for the ferrymen who helped me today.

I got home. The yacht I saw earlier was parked offshore. It is beautiful. I stopped for a minute to reflect on my adventure. I told Brendan about what happened. He raised his eyes. He asked if my car was damaged? I forgot to look. Later he discovered a dent, the size of my hand just above the back lights. Thankfully the lights weren’t smashed. This new damage is just an addition to the war wounds my car has got since Brendan bought is for me six weeks ago. I have a story to tell about each one. We laughed together.

The Old Heron Waiting



The tide is high
No room to wade on the shoreline
The water is lapping against the wall
I’m safe here on the ledge
My favourite spot
Jutting out of the water
I’ll wait
And keep warm
With my neck
Sunk between my shoulder blades
I’ll wait
Till the water recedes
I’ll wait
To dart at some tiny fish
Lingering in the shallows
I know their hiding places
I’m too old
To fly from my perch
To find another spot
I’ll leave
Those fishing grounds
To the younger ones.
I’ll wait

That Which is Stolen is Restored by God

In my “About post,” I said I want to write about how God helps me in my life.

At the end of January I was preparing to go on a trip.
The morning before, a young man walked into my kitchen, found my husband’s car keys hanging beside the door.  He stole our Saab car.
My neighbour knocked on the door.  He told me “Someone has just taken your car!”  It was a big shock.  I was upstairs and had not realised someone had entered our home.  The neighbour had watched it all happen from where he lives.  I was gob smacked.
It was nine o’ clock in the morning.  Children were passing.  School traffic was heavy.  
What a nightmare.  The police called and took details.
The incident was so strange I just laughed.
I thought to myself, “My husband is going to get a car upgrade.”  
He did not find it funny.  The car had passed the MOT recently and quite a sum of money was spent on it.
Our cars have been attacked before.  It usually happens when we are going on a ministry trip.  We have got used to coming under attack from the enemy of our souls.
The devil comes to rob, steal and destroy, but Jesus comes to give us life and life abundantly.  John 10 v 10
We prayed that God would restore a car to us.  He did it before and we believed he would do it again.
The car was found later.  It was destroyed.  The police told us the driver has crashed into several vehicles on his ventures through town.
Our insurance company said we would be liable to pay the cost of damages if the driver was caught!  He has not been caught.  Trials come to test us!  
I believe all things work together for good.  Romans 8 v 28
Three months on I am settled in the country and it would be nice to have a car to get out and about.  My husband put his mind to looking for a car.  He was specific.  He wanted a black automatic car.  I wanted a Saab.  We now have a black, automatic Saab!  It did not cost the earth.  It was much reduced.  It is in great condition.  We have joy and thank God for his restoration.
He is the Living God and he restores our lives and our goods!  He cares for me.