So we decided to go visit some friends of ours from church yesterday. They're lovely people, our kids are friends, they're going to be Christine's godparents, etc. We just have a great connection with them. It had already been a super long morning and the weather was getting ominously worse and worse as we drove to their house.
We were running late and they were waiting on us to eat lunch, so I was already feeling a bit bad about the whole situation. And then Iakabos missed our turn. No biggie right? We'll just turn around really quick and go back.
Unfortunately, the place we tried to turn around was muddier than we expected. Much, much muddier....
I got in the driver's seat and Iakabos got out to push. After trying to get ourselves out for about ten minutes, we finally decided to call Anna and Michael and let them know we might need some help. Thankfully another gentleman (who had four wheel drive!) stopped to help us. He had the same idea that we did... the mud doesn't look as bad over there; let's try to get the van that way.
After pushing our very large 12-passenger vehicle even further backwards, he realized that yeah... that mud wasn't dryer and there was no way we were pushing this van back uphill toward the road. Thankfully he had a rope, brought his truck into the mud and was able to tow us out. We thanked him profusely and were just about out of the mud when Michael pulled up with a couple of his boys.
Iakabos asked me to drive the couple miles to their house since his shoes were caked in mud and I was behind the steering wheel at that point anyway. I followed Michael and we made it back to their house and had a lovely meal and time together. Little did we know that the craziness wasn't over yet.
We went to leave and Iakabos loaded all six children up in the van (this is a real ordeal with two wheelchairs in case you were wondering...). We said our good-byes and got in to drive off. Iakabos said "Oh no." And I said "What?"
"The lights have been on this whole time. The van is completely dead. It's not even trying to start." Oops. Because the weather had been bad, Iakabos had turned the headlights on earlier in the trip. I didn't think to turn them off when we got there because I hadn't realized that.
So back I marched up to Anna and Michael's house. Anna came out to move their car in position to jump the van. After connecting and letting it run for a minute we tried starting the engine. Clicking noise, but not enough power to start. We let it run for five minutes. Nothing. Not even clicking. We let it run for fifteen minutes...
By this time the kids were cold and wanted to go back inside. Iakabos told them that he was going to try one more time, and if it didn't work they could go back in and play. The next thing that happened was that we had a horde of cheering children running back to the house.
Anna and I took the babies back inside as well and let the guys keep working on it. We joked about how getting our two families together with all our bunches of children was just asking for spiritual warfare.
After about ten more minutes Michael comes in and says that they still have not been able to get the van going. There was talk of needing to go buy a new battery, but first he wanted to try something. He grabbed the holy water sitting on their mantle and went back outside.
He splashed holy water on both vehicles and on Iakabos. Then they checked the meter again; it still showed a very dead van. "Well let's try one more time before we go back in," Michael said. So they did. It started immediately. Very soon we were on our way back home, marveling at what had just happened.
Coming from a background where spiritual things felt very unattached to worldly things, it still amazes me when I see these connections. Intellectually I know the spiritual world exists and is quite active all around us, but it's easy to forget that in a society that so ignores spiritual realities and in a culture where Satan tries incredibly hard to hide such things from us.
I thank God for reminders like this, reminders to be vigilant and not to become comfortable in this world. We are in the midst of a battlefield that is constantly raging. If we are comfortable, something's wrong. Have you ever seen a soldier set up camp in a foxhole and decide that the scenery was so beautiful and the food was so delicious and the hole was so comfortable that he would love to just sit in it and make it his permanent home? What would happen to such a poor deluded soul? Certainly he would pay for his inattentiveness with his life.
Such is the ridiculousness of a Christianity that enjoys its earthly life and desires to stay as long as possible. This is not our home; this is a battlefield, and we need to treat it that way. If something as mundane and worldly as a car battery can become a spiritual battleground, how much more the education of our children? How much more our church attendance? How much more our relationships with others? How much more our jobs? The tone of our voice? Our food and entertainment choices?
It truly was a wake up call for me yesterday. How foolish and careless I have been to not douse every part of my life in prayer, to neglect daily reading of the Scriptures, to let our bottles of holy water sit on the shelf instead of making use of them every day. (For heaven's sake, we had a bottle of holy water in our van and didn't think to use it ourselves!)
We have so many distractions. May God be merciful and not allow these distractions to blind us to the spiritual realities embedded in every facet of our day. I thank God for the reminder yesterday and pray that He will have mercy on me and correct my spiritual inattentiveness.