Last month I was in Tahoe.  It was therapeutic to be in such beautiful surroundings, both inside the condo and out – but especially out.  However, I didn’t write about the drive to Tahoe from Sacramento.  It was harrowing. Winter storm “Titan” had just hit LA as I was flying out, so I watched rain blow sideways in torrents as I waited for my flight.  It reminded me of the beginnings of a Florida hurricane.  It’s a good thing I’m no longer afraid to fly, thank the Lord, because my only concerns were if I’d make standby, and if I did, if the flight would be delayed.

The drive over the pass into Tahoe was another story.  Half way into the 2-hour drive “Titan” caught up with me.  Huge, fluffy snowflakes, quite romantic and dreamy at first, but I knew what was coming.  Within minutes I was driving in high winds, and non-romantic snow.  Winds slammed against the car sideways, and thick snow cut visibility to little red tail lights ahead of me.  I squinted to see them between the wipers on high.

I’ve driven that pass four other times and have been very comfortable with it.  But, not in a snowstorm with a name like “Titan” in the middle of the night.  It seemed like an hour of inching along past flashing signs that said, “Chains only or 4-wheel drive with snow tires.”  I knew my rental had 4-wheel drive, but wasn’t so sure on the snow tires.  But, I wasn’t turning around.  I watched the left lane build up with layers of icy snow while the right stayed defrosted with exhaust. Evidently no one was leaving Tahoe; we were all going in.

Near the top of the pass our lane expanded to two, and suddenly a group of wooly men appeared in bright yellow snow suits, shouting to random cars, “PULL OVER!”  One of them pointed and yelled at me.  I inched my way to the parking lane now shared with twenty other cars that had been pulled.  A bear-man, a real live Grizzly Adams, a full beard covered in snow, wearing a fat, yellow suit and hood, was now at my window, yelling.  My heart was in my throat.  I fumbled for the window button – which one was it?  Finally I find it and the blizzard flies into my car. I hardly notice though because Mr. Grizzly is shouting at me through the wind, “IS THIS A 4-WHEEL DRIVE?”  I reply with a sophisticated, “Uhm, errr, wellllll, errr – I think so??”  Just then, another man-bear shouted, “SHE’S 4-WHEEL!  LET HER GO!”   Now Grizzly is bellowing, “GO! GO! GO!“, and I inch my way back into the line of snow-covered turtle cars, a line of headlights behind me, a line of tail lights ahead.  I pass more big bears in snow suits holding signs that say, “Chains on! $20!” and a few miles later, “Chains off!  $20!”

I looked at my GPS.  Sixteen miles to go.  “We can do this,” Lord, I think.  “I hope it’s not my time to go yet.”  And yet I was scared. Really scared.  A “Steep Grade Ahead” sign appeared, and we all slowed even more as the earth tilted us downward in the whipping snow. As I put the car in low, my fear turned to a depressing, haunting feeling as I imagined what it would be like to be stuck outside in those conditions. I was very aware that only a thin piece of glass separated me from real-live nature.  I was warm.  I was safe.  46_1_taft32iBut, if I had been born 100 years before, if I’d been born an Indian, or were a pioneer wife in a covered wagon, I would be out there.  In nature.  Huddled in a wagon or a little cabin trying to keep my babies warm, or in a tent. No Cracker Barrels, no McDonalds, no warm bathrooms, now hot showers, no instant heat, no instant food, no instant safe place, no 9-1-1.  Just me, my family, my faith, and the terrifying, harrowing elements.

It is super humbling for me to realize how soft my life is compared to so many who’ve gone before me. Just when I think I’ve made great strides in growth, I realize it’s taken place inside a well-insulated bubble.  And I know (not just assume or guess, but absolutely know from my core) that I would not have fared as well had I been subjected to such an environment.

I had that same haunting knowing making a 45-minute drive from Richmond to Williamsburg with Bill this week.  Dashing to our rental car, the cold wind stabbed at every little opening in my clothing.  I squealed like a little piggy all the way to the car, “I’m soooo coooold!!”  In a few minutes we were driving past beautiful, tall, thick Virginia forests at a comfortable cruising speed, settled into comfortable seats and warmed by comfortable heat.

“How utterly beautiful,” I thought.  And then I remembered where we were.  Richmond.  Civil War Richmond.  And that haunting feeling returned. I thought about regiments of men living in these very woods, fighting in these woods, starving in these woods, and dying away from their families inCW7 these woods.  Again, my heart froze.  What if I had been born a man in the 1800’s?  I might have been in these very woods, constantly cold and hungry, being called on to kill other men, other husbands and fathers, perhaps wounded or dying myself.

I imagined pulling the car to the side of the road, getting out and just walking into these now safe woods. Even with my coat, scarf and hat, everything in me said no, no, no.  It’s too cold. The freezing winds are too unfriendly.  It would be too hard.

The woods were no longer utterly beautiful, but utterly eerie with the memories of human suffering and tragedy.  I could imagine the pain of loss of mothers, widows, sisters, daughters. I tried to imagine the pain of the men themselves, but it was too much.  I liked the windshield that sat between me and harsh reality, the heater that kept me safe from the elements.

We arrived safely at the condo, and that feeling hasn’t left as I’ve done nothing but read up on Jamestown and Williamsburg.  I must admit, it’s humbling and sad.  Poor Pocahontas kidnapped from her husband when she was just 17  by Capt. Argall, and then married to Capt Rolfe while in captivity, a widower 9 or 10 years her senior.  When Capt Rolfe took her to England to show her off to receive more funding for Jamestown, she died of an unknown illness at the age of 21.  And the stories of brutal Jamestown winters, famine and starvation those first years, and even cannibalism.  I’m so glad I wasn’t born Pocahontas or a Jamestown settler.  Or an English Naval Captain.

The weather is beautiful today and warming.  It will be in the 70’s the rest of the week. We are heading out now to enjoy more history, more scenery, the weather and time together.  I would upload a photo of our adventures, but my man hasn’t shaved since we arrived.  He is definitely in vacation mode!  Maybe tomorrow.  While we sight-see and learn, I will keep in mind how cushioned and protected I have been, and that even in my sufferings thus far in life, I have much to be thankful for.  I have definitely developed a deep respect for those who have faced greater suffering than I and overcome.  Many blessings, Friends.

For by the grace given me I say to every one of you: Do not think of yourself more highly than you ought, but rather think of yourself with sober judgment, in accordance with the faith God has distributed to each of you.  Rom 12:3



My Insulated Bubble

2 Responses to "My Insulated Bubble"

Thank you for this…
It was very encouraging! 🙂

Thank you, Nehemiah. I hope you and your family are doing well!

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