The Old Country Road
Grandma grew up in the same house she lives in today. Depending on which direction one was traveling, her house was either the last house or the first house on the old country road, an old house comparable to the road it sat next to. After a leisurely Sunday afternoon visit with grandma about pow-wows, give-aways, and the next dance, my plans were to visit my mother in a distant town and then drive the two-hour trip home. Those were my plans. At the end of a full weekend, I was beginning to feel the tired as it crept into my body. Evening was fast approaching, and I still had many miles before me.
I had driven only a short distance from grandma's when the thought crossed my mind to go by and visit my aunt and uncle. After all, it was only two miles up the road and right on the way. It wouldn't take long just to give them a hug and tell them I loved them. Besides, I thought, they're getting on in years and it's been awhile since I last saw them. But I was tired and still had lots of driving to do, so I turned off toward the highway. As soon as I turned off, I again thought to stop and visit. "No time." So I kept driving. "It won't take long." I argued with myself. "Keep driving, lots of miles yet to go." The battle within continued through the one-mile stretch to the next intersection. I came up with excuse after excuse, "the gate will be locked", "dogs are loose in the yard," or "they would be getting ready for church".
As I approached the last intersection that would take me to their house, I turned to get back on that country road. I wondered what had made me turn here and why I was doing this. I continued the struggle within and at one point even considered stopping right where I was, right there in the middle of the road and turning around. But something deep within told me to keep going that way. So I continued driving on the old country road that I had been on so many times before.
I remember the road very well. I had been on it many times as a little girl. On weekends, my mom and dad would squeeze me and my brothers into the backseat of the car. They would buy us pop and potato chips and we'd go riding around visiting family. Years past and now I'm grown and driving this road toward my aunt and uncle's house.
As I got closer I told myself, "I'll drive by real slow but if they're not sitting out on the front porch, then I'm not stopping." However childish and ridiculous it sounded, that was my decision. The possibility of them sitting out this late was pretty slim; after which I would be able to continue on with my travels. When their house came into view, imagine my surprise to find them both sitting out on the front porch! There they were, relaxing quietly in their chairs as if expecting visitors.
I drove in and hugged them both. I told them I just stopped by to let them know I loved them but that I wasn't going to stay long because I didn't want to keep them from getting ready for church. Of course I was glad to see them, but at the same time feeling very ashamed of myself that I was so reluctant in obeying. "Forgive me, Father, for being such a disobedient child," I prayed. Uncle Thurman said they almost went inside right before I got there, but Aunt Thelma wanted to sit out just a few more minutes. Had they gone inside, I would have driven on past and missed them. Aunt Thelma said, "Go get some apples off those trees, there's paper sacks out there." After I finished picking, I went inside to say my goodbyes. The whole visit took only a short time, but as I drove away a wonderful, indescribable feeling came over me and filled my soul with joy.
What a wondrous feeling. As I drove the old country road I was thanking God and praising His name. I was lifting my hands as high as they could go in my car; I even rolled down the window to raise my hand outside to reach up high. The joy and happiness I felt was awesome. "Thank you, Jesus," I said. My Lord was riding with me a little closer than I thought because it was at that very moment I heard a voice -- a very distinct voice as clear and audible as any could be. It said, "You're welcome to be here." I was stunned.
Nobody, but nobody was with me. Although I knew I was alone, I still turned my head to see who was in the back seat. I waved my hand behind my driver's seat to feel if anyone was crouched down behind me. No one was there. I looked at the seat beside me. Empty, but I knew that. I looked at my radio and saw it was turned off. I flipped it on and off a few times, looking for any logical answer, but finding none. I even stuck my fingers in my ears and wiggled them about like cartoon characters. Did I really hear a voice? I replayed what had just happened and those words ranged over and over in my mind. God brought us together for a special moment that day. He saw the joy in my heart and it made him smile.
What if I had driven by and missed that wonderful blessing? Perhaps if I hadn't stopped, a terrible accident would have befallen me. I don't know. What I do know is that I am welcomed to be here and that God has wondrous plans for me beyond my wildest dreams. We fight against our priorities and God's will for us all the time. We get caught up with our own agendas and fill our time with what we are comfortable with and enjoy doing. As we continue the battle within, asking and searching for his strength and guidance will carry us through. I'm still praising God today, and that special apple pie was delicious!
Delrayne Roy is a member of the Ponca Tribe. Delrayne is a member of the Mary Lee Clark Memorial United Methodist Church in Del City, Oklahoma.
Copyright 2009 © Delrayne Roy. Used by Permission. Reproduction granted for use in church worship services. Any further use beyond worship services must be with permission from the author.