My little Datsun was tightly packed with everything we would have for the next 12 months, along with my 15-year old son David and my dog Sheba. We planned to take our time crossing our beautiful country, stopping to visit Custer’s Last Stand in Montana, Mount Rushmore in South Dakota, Mark Twain’s home in Missouri, and Lincoln sites in Illinois. After 4 days we arrived in Wisconsin, where we stayed with relatives for several days.
Up to then, everything fell easily into place and our excitement carried us along. But suddenly, it was time to get out the maps (no GPS yet!) and decide the route for the rest of the trip. We had an address 19 miles east of Philadelphia, with the name of a neighbor who would hand us the key to our home for the next year. I had never been east of southwest rural Wisconsin.
Oh! Did I forget to mention that this was a job exchange, where I traded classrooms with another teacher? And that we not only traded classrooms, but homes, too? With little information about each other, but a lot of trust, I was moving into a stranger’s home, and he and his wife and two children were moving into mine. We did not know each other, nor did we meet on our trip. We each left our homes with a lot of trust that we were doing the right thing. We had letters of reference, several phone conversations, and a lot of trust.
With the maps spread out on my cousin’s dining room table, I began to panic. Toll Roads! Cities larger than any I had ever seen! Highways with 10 and 12 lanes of traffic! Tunnels! This farm girl from the country suddenly became filled with fear. For several hours I felt that I simply could not go on. I experienced real panic.
Cousin Lois began to realize the depth of my overwhelming fear. She sat down and moved the maps away, and began to talk to me. I don’t remember what she said, but her words poured peace and comfort into my soul. She reminded me that I had prayed and believed that God had opened this door of opportunity. Then Wilmer walked in and together they put their hands on my head and prayed for me to have courage and trust.
I felt myself becoming calm. I opened my eyes and re-examined the maps. Now the way seemed clear again.
The next morning we headed east to the Chicago Skyway toll road connecting the Dan Ryan Expressway to the Indiana Tollway and my trust for the journey was renewed.