When we really want something, we are not easily deterred. We try everything we can think of to go over, under, or around obstacles. And when we want something bad enough, sometimes we’d rather join a caravan of denial than face the painful truth. Perhaps that is why I decided to attend a relative’s wedding this past weekend rather than let the threat of a blizzard blocking our path stop me.
I’d read an online weather report about possible bad weather near the location of the wedding. But hey, it was 70 degrees that day where I live, so whatever they were predicting – it couldn’t be that bad. I mean most big snowstorms don’t happen this early in the year. And how many times has the weather man overblown his predictions?!
I’d been looking forward to this wedding. I’d pictured in my mind the groom on his big day with his new bride walking down the aisle. I’d planned on a night of catching up with rarely seen family members. I’d rewritten our homeschool plans to allow for a lighter schedule for traveling. I’d booked hotel rooms and plotted our itinerary. But that’s where it ended … mother nature had her own plans.
We’d made it quite a few miles down the road. There had been a little rain, but nothing serious. The kids had done their lessons, and I was feeling relieved the closer we got to our destination. Yet I couldn’t help but notice something unusual: there were not many cars on what is normally a lively interstate. The cows in the fields huddled together. As we got within our final 60 miles, I began to notice eerie white sheets of freezing rain appear like fog misting around us. The leaves on the few lonely trees along the increasingly silent road were beginning to rustle. Over the next hill a giant flashing sign read that no travel was advised ahead.
We got off at the next exit. While we gassed up, I spoke with some locals who warned me that others had gone ahead on that road only to end up disoriented and in the ditch.
We stopped and got a room.
From our hotel window, we watched as the weather conditions continued to deteriorate. The snow was now coming down heavier and the wind was picking up. About an hour later, the road that we’d arrived on was now closed ‘until further notice.’
During the middle of the night I awoke to the sound of harsh winds hitting the walls, and not long after, our electricity abruptly went out.
The next morning when we went to our continental breakfast by candlelight, I realized that some of the men and women who operate the road plows were also stranded with us in one of the worst blizzards I can remember. I could tell from the stern looks and the serious tones that we would not be leaving the hotel that day. And worse: the wedding was not going to happen.
For the next several days we hung out in our hotel. At one point, the kids thought it would be great fun to go out and run around in the snow. They tried it…and were back within 60 seconds. The winds were so fierce that it was painful to even walk across the street to a convenience store to buy our daily, picked through junk food. The snow drifts had reached over seven feet high in some places. Locations west of us were reporting up to 48 inches of snow. We were caught in a blizzard.
In these types of situations, even though in the back of our minds we knew this could happen, we still feel a sense of loss. Our expectations (realistic or not) haven’t been met. I felt so bad for the bride and groom, and I also grieved for our not being able to see them marry.
This is the time to focus on and be thankful for what we do have. At least we did not keep going down the road and end up trapped in our car alone in a ditch. We were stranded where we had shelter, food, and cell phones. We had interesting conversations with others who also could not leave the area.
Eventually, the lights came back on. We dug our cars out of snow caves. The wedding was rescheduled.
We gained perspective in that sometimes things like this happen. Life does not always go how we want it to; we have to make the best of whatever situation we’re given.