Family Vacation
Mysterious Ways|December/January 2021
We were only 48 hours into our family’s three-week road trip when the car broke down. White smoke billowed from the engine. The dashboard warning lights went on.
Kathy Burgess

“Where did all this come from?” my husband, Gareth, said. He pulled off at the next exit.

I glanced at our sons in the back seat. Colin, seven, and Aidan, five, looked disappointed. We were in Michigan, in the middle of nowhere, on our way to Mackinaw Island. From there we planned to visit the Badlands of South Dakota and Mount Rushmore, then Yellowstone, Grand Teton and Glacier National Parks. It would be a grand tour! But so far the kids hadn’t seen anything but the road, and our Honda Odyssey didn’t seem up for the adventure.

Maybe I wasn’t either. Life had been rough lately. My best friend had died from breast cancer. We’d been roommates in nursing school. I knew cancer patients who survived, and I was angry at God that she wasn’t one of them.

A few months later, Gareth had lost his job. I took on more hours at work to compensate for our loss of income. When Gareth filled in as an independent contractor, he had to travel for weeks at a time. Colin and Aidan missed him tremendously, and I was stretched thin. Then our two beloved boxers passed away within weeks of each other. I wasn’t sure our family could withstand any more heartbreak.

That’s it,” I announced one day. “We need some good family time. We are taking a road trip.”

Of course, I didn’t intend for our car to break down after two days.

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