You’ve heard of #100HappyDays? Well, I stole the idea and adapted to fit my blogging schedule.
Every day is filled with reasons to be thankful. And yet the majority of my day isn’t spent being thankful. That’s got to change. God sent his son to save me - HUGE reason to always be thankful. And I’ve been freed to live a new life through Christ, released from fear, doubt, shame and self-reliance, equipped with love to serve others and blessed with all kinds of daily tasks and jobs to express my love. And that’s just the big stuff.
This is #100ThankfulWeeks to praise Him. I’m sharing one simple thing I’m thankful for each week. Because there can never be to much thankfulness.
Week 32: Paved Roads
“Mommy?” I say, buckling my seatbelt and pulling the strap tighter across my waist. “How much further is it now?”
Dad is the behind the wheel, Mom is on the passenger side and I’m happily tucked between them in the narrow middle seat. Watching the dotted white lines flash under the deep blue hood of the the Suburban. It’s an August afternoon and the shadows are growing longer.
“Well,” Mom says thoughtfully. “We’re past Indianapolis but still in Indiana. When we cross the border into Illinois, it’s about two hours.” She points to the broad, green road sign far off in the distance along the right side of the road. “That sign will probably tell us how many miles are left.”
Dad clicks on his turn signal, glances over his shoulder and guide the Suburban into the passing lane. I watch as we pass the semi-trailer on the right. It’s an animal trailer with little rectangular holes punched out along the sides. I spot the shape of horses and for a moment I wonder where they’re headed. And what it would be like to be a horse inside the trailer.
Dad clicks on the signal again and we glide back into the right lane. Mom pointed to the green sign again and I see the miles. 96 miles to Peoria. Or at least the exit for Peoria. “So if it takes us an hour to go sixty miles, then how long will it take us to drive ninety miles?” Mom asks.
I stare at her. Math. My nemesis. A jumble of numbers and signs and calculations. None of which I can do in my head. At least not quickly. “I don’t know,” I sigh and stare at the dotted white lines disappearing beneath us.
My mom pats my shoulder with encouragement. “Sure you do,” she says. “How many minutes are in an hour?”
“Sixty,” I say. This number I’ve memorized. So no math necessary.
“So if if we drive sixty miles in sixty minutes, how long does it take us to drive one mile?” I glance up at her and she smiles. “You know this,” she says.
What I know is that I want to be at Grandma’s and Grandpa’s. I want to have lasagna and chocolate chip cookies and the milk from the special jug. I sigh and try to do math. Divide by two, carry the one, subtract the zero. Or something. “I’m not sure,” I say at last.
“A mile a minute,” Dad chimes in. “We’re driving one mile a minute, which means it takes us sixty minutes to drive sixty miles. And that means we’re driving sixty miles per hour.”
“Oh,” I say. And suddenly the relationship between miles and minutes makes sense. A mile a minute. 60 miles per hour. So that’s what 60 MPH means on the white road signs.
“So how long will it take us to drive ninety miles?” my mom prompts once again.
“Over an hour,” I say. Of that much I’m sure. Unless Dad drives faster. If he drove 90 miles per hour, then it would only take an hour.
“How much is ninety?” Dad asks. And I stare at him blankly. Ninety is ninety. It’s after eighty and before a hundred. It’s a big number.
My mom pats my shoulder again. “What’s half of sixty?”
I stare at her, then look back at Dad, then try to do math again. “Thirty,” I say at last. Because I’ve memorized that too. Although I’m pretty sure there’s division or subtraction involved. And maybe the number 2 in there somewhere.
My mom is smiling at me and my dad chuckles. “And how long will it take us to drive thirty miles if we can drive sixty in sixty minutes?”
I hate math. And I’m starting to hate miles too. But something about what Dad just said makes sense. Half of sixty minutes. “Thirty minutes?” I ask, tentatively.
“You’re right,” Mom says. “So if it takes us thirty minutes to drive thirty miles and sixty minutes to drive sixty miles, how much is that altogether?”
“Ninety,” I say. And then I see what she did. “So it will take ninety minutes to get to Grandma’s and Grandpa’s?”
Dad laughs and Mom gives me a little hug. “Not quite,” she says. “We get take the exit for Peoria in ninety minutes. But then we have to drive through the city. And that will be about a half hour.”
Dad points to another green road sign. 82 miles to Peoria. And the relationship between time and travel starts to make even more sense.
I still hate math. But I’m thankful for paved roads (did you see that one coming?). Most of the time time, I don’t give paved roads much thought. They’re there. They’ve mostly always been there. And they’re just connecting lines between two points.
But can you imagine a world without roads? Especially highways? Think how long it would take to drive 90 miles if you had to take side streets, mud trails and gravel roads. And why stop at 90 miles? Some of us travel hundreds of miles every few months - and treks like that would take days if not weeks without paved highways. Visiting grandparents 600 miles away might never happen. Transporting fresh produce from California to Vermont would be an epic feat. And emergency response would be limited to city centers - good luck getting help if you live in the sticks.
So this week, I’m thankful for the simple convenience of paved roads. I can easily travel at high speeds, I can cover hundreds of miles in just one day and a continent in a week. Just think of the potential for helping those in need, for sharing love with others and for aiding our families spread out to the four winds. Roads. Utilitarian but awesome. And I’m so grateful I don’t have to live without them.
Do you travel much? What's the furthest you've ever driven?