If We Only Knew What We Don't Know
I was supposed to write about organization, but recently something happened, and I can't pass up the opportunity to share about it.
My husband Terry and I were excited to go to the beach to dig razor clams. Obstacles prevented us from heading out as soon as we wanted, but we finally hitched up the camper and started out. We'd be able to dig clams on that evening's low tide if we hurried.
It was after we were on our way, we began the series of "If We Only Knew..."
First, we stopped to check our propane tanks. We should have done it before we left, but hadn't. If we had checked, we'd have known the tanks were fine. We were pressed for time. It was an unnecessary delay.
And the second "If We Only Knew..."
We couldn't remember if we had purchased our shellfish licenses. Since we were stopped anyway, I went inside the little general store to buy them. The sweet lady behind the counter was unsure how to process our request. After a long thirty minutes, she discovered that according to Fish and Wildlife, we already had our licenses. The sun was getting lower on the horizon, time was not on our side. Another unnecessary delay.
The third "If We Only Knew..."
When we stopped to buy the propane we didn't need, and purchase the licenses we already had, we smelled something burning. Terry looked under the camper and the Yukon but couldn't see any issues. The tires were fine, the gauges were fine. We decided the smell wasn't coming from our vehicle.
Bad decision. If we only knew that a little valve in our exhaust system was stuck closed. And said valve was getting hotter and hotter.
The fourth "If We Only Knew..."
The hot valve caused a leak in our exhaust system. When the Yukon started making a loud noise, Terry immediately diagnosed it as an exhaust leak. It was annoying but we could continue on our way without risk of more damage. If we only knew what had caused the exhaust leak, we might have known damage was being done to a vacuum hose.
The fifth "If We Only Knew..."
The damage to the vacuum hose affected our brakes. Terry didn't know we had no brakes until he tried to slow down for a car turning in front of us. He looked at me and said, "We have no brakes."
I'm a little slow sometimes. I responded, "There's something wrong with the trailer brakes? You can adjust those."
"No," he said, his voice a little higher than usual. "We have no brakes on the Yukon." He applied the trailer brakes which jerked us to a stop.
In normal circumstances, one would pull off to the side of the road and call roadside assistance, but this road had no shoulder. None. Zippo. Traffic was bumper to bumper.
But at this point, we were climbing a hill. Letting off the gas was enough to slow us down. Maintaining a large distance between us and the car in front of us helped keep us--and them--safe. But as is often the case, when one goes up a hill, one must come down.
We knew this. We knew at the bottom of the hill was a signal light and on the left was a large parking lot. The parking lot became our goal, but could we make it?
The sixth "If We Only Knew" was really an "If They Only Knew..."
The people in front of us had no idea the danger they were in of being rear-ended. Fortunately, the heavy traffic meant a slow drive. But Terry could no longer keep a safe distance between us and them as our camper pushed us down the hill. He used every skill he has as a professional truck driver. The trailer brake helped some, but trailer brakes are designed to assist the car brakes, not do all the work themselves. Several times I closed my eyes and braced for impact, but the impact never came.
I wanted to get out of our car and warn the people in front of us that we might hit them and we were sorry. But I'm not skilled at getting out of a moving vehicle.
We neared the bottom of the hill. The signal light was red. But the left turn lane was clear. A car honked as we swerved into the lane. The light was still red, but there was no stopping. We turned into the parking lot and coasted to a stop.
Terry and I looked at each other. I unclenched my white-knuckled fists. By the grace of God and the skill He had given Terry, we made it unscathed.
I thought about the people in the car in front of us. They had no clue about the danger they were in or the panic I felt as time after time we came so close to crashing.
And I thought about God and the times He must think, "If they only knew--how many times He has stood between us and danger, how many times He has rescued us when we didn't know we needed rescuing.
Praise God that what we don't know, He does.