There is an old saying that goes, “We make plans, and God laughs.” If that’s the case, God must have been whole-heartedly laughing over this plan.
After months of back and forth discussions and negotiations in planning our family winter vacation, we came up with the following itinerary:
We meet in LA and spend the weekend participating in the Kabbalah Centre events. Then drive over 2 hours to rent the RV that my husband spent months tirelessly researching, in order to rent us the best one he could find. We drive the BIG modern, fully loaded RV to Las Vegas where we spend the night, perhaps taking in a show. We leave the next day for the Grand Canyon. We will stop along the way to explore nature trails and visit tourist attractions as we slowly make our way to Sedona, Arizona.
My husband meticulously researched the best campsites. He did his due diligence to reserve them in advance. Each night we planned to park our BIG modern RV in the best campsite while we sit around a campfire, telling stories, strengthening our familial bonds as we enjoy stargazing and roasting marshmallows that melt in our mouths. In Sedona, we will hike the nature trails, breathe in fresh air, sit in the vortexes, visit the local tourist attractions, etc. The primary goal of our family vacation was to enjoy being together. All the activities were a means to reach that objective.
Well, that was the plan, anyway. Can you hear God laughing yet?
Here is what actually happened:
A family friend gave us a ride to the RV place. We were all excited and chatted all the way there. In the course of our bantering back and forth, we happen to discuss the details of what the RV will look like. For some reason, our 4 kids* (*ages ranging from 25-19), and I thought we were all on the same page as my husband. However, a few minutes before we arrived at the RV place, he nonchalantly mentioned that the make of the RV is from the year 2004. There was a moment of dead silence. Then I said, “Dad is just joking with us.” To which he replied, “No, I am not.” I looked my husband in the eyes. His honest gaze reflected back to me that he was telling the truth. There was another moment of dead silence, followed by a resounding unifying cry, “2004??!!” This can’t be true. He is an intelligent, level-headed person. He makes sound decisions. What the h_ _ _ was he thinking??!! That was the first shock. I could feel God smirking.
When we arrived at the “RV place,” shock #2 was that my husband signed a contract and put down a deposit with a man who privately owned the 16-year-old RV. We found out that detail when the person who gave us a ride to our destination dropped us off in front of a ramshackle house with the old rundown RV in the driveway. To say we were once again in shock was an understatement.
So, there we were, standing in front of this stranger’s house with all of our overpacked, underprepared pile of luggage, bedding, too many bags of I-don’t-even-know-what, staring at an old small, smelly, RV. The RV owner greeted us and gave us a tour in and around the vehicle. All the while, I was thinking, “This can’t be happening! There is no way that I am going to spend the next 5 days in this clunker!”
I tried to pull my husband aside to convince him to tell this guy we changed our minds, and we are leaving (even though we were now stranded in this unfamiliar neighborhood 2 hours away from civilization). But, my husband was just not on the same page and proceeded along with the tour. The man spent at least 40 minutes explaining every detail regarding how to use and maintain this vehicle. It seemed like an eternity. Meanwhile, I ran out of logical ideas of how we were going to get out of this mess. I had no choice but to bring out the “big guns” and activated my secret weapon. I prayed. Oh, I could hear God chuckling alright. I prayed anyway.
And lo and behold, a miracle! As hard as the RV owner tried, he could not get the brake lights to work. Hallelujah! Thank God, we were free at last!
After the euphoria wore off, we realized that we were still stranded with our humungous pile of stuff, in the dark, on the street in front of the broken-down RV in the middle of nowhere – on a Sunday night after the car rental places had already closed. Eventually, we ended up renting a van at the nearest airport. We were back on track. We drove to Las Vegas. Luckily, we were offered a place to stay in a big beautiful time-share house of a dear friend who was not there that week. The new plan – stay the night, call a real RV rental establishment to rent a big, fully loaded, late-model RV. The calls were made; the reservation was booked for the next morning. And God chuckled more.
The next morning, I woke up with a severe case of the flu. We didn’t leave the house that day. In fact, each day I promised that I would be feeling better the next day, but each day I coughed, sneezed, ached even more. In the end, we did not rent the new RV; we did not see the Grand Canyon or Sedona, Arizona.
As it turned out, in all of our vacation planning, we didn’t bother to check the weather for those areas at that time of year. Each new day was either freezing, cloudy, raining, or snowing. If I had to go through a health cleansing, thank God, it was in the comfort of a nice, warm, beautiful home and not confined to an RV where I would have been sneezing, coughing, and spreading my germs in the faces of my family.
Even though we did not fulfill our original plan, we did achieve our primary goal – to spend time together, to grow closer, to just enjoy being together. And now I know why God laughs. Because God knows better than us what is best for us.
Yes, God laughed. And in the end, so did we.