I've just been writing the intercessions for tomorrow's church service and looked up The Magnificat' in Peterson's The Message' because this is the subject of the sermon and I want to use Peterson's expression of it to frame our prayers. Mary speaks of a God who 'pulled victims out of the mud'.
Well, last night, I volunteered to pick up my friends and drive them all to the restaurant that we had decided to eat at for our Christmas celebration. My friends and I are in a book club, hundreds of which this country contains, probably as a result of the really rather highly rated book list devised by 'Richard and Judy'. Because I don't really drink, I thought I'd spare us the price of the taxis there and back. Anyway, I knew the pub was in the stix but stepped out with good faith that Sat-nav would get us there. I wish I'd held in my mind Jeff Lucas's warnings about Sat-nav's control over our lives in that DVD I watched with my house group, I might have fared better. Anyway, there is something lovely about Sat nav - you can absorb yourself in the conversations of those around you as you drive and let the computer do the thinking. To cut a long story short I announced 'just five minutes to go ladies', as I pulled in to what we all later discovered to be a left-hand turn too early. At first the road was tarmaced and all was well but then it became increasing rough and signs warned us it was private and leading to some kind of private hall and caravan park. It was pitch black but I could make out turning room next to a farm gate and so began to spin into the space so we could head back on ourselves. There was then an almighty crunch and so I stopped - it wasn't anything behind me because parking censors would have picked that up - no worse than that, it was underneath. we were wedged underneath by a load of stones with the back wheels sinking into mud, with the front wheels and bonnet poking out blocking access to any oncoming traffic and we were seriously stuck. We tried pushing, I tried driving forwards and backwards, sidewards if I could have done. I got out to see the undercarriage in the middle of the car totally grounded with no gap between it and the floor beneath. Oh no. Anyway, to speed the tale on, we sat in the car for two hours waiting for the AA, another half an hour for a 7 tonne truck to winch us out, check our undercarriage and charge me for the privilege and send us on our way and back we all went for a cup of tea at my house. That was the most expensive meal that I never ate.
On the plus side of things, we chatted and laughed and got to know each other in this minor crisis that we had all been thrust into together and I ended up thanking God for the friends that I am stuck with. We were also grateful for missing a near head-on collision with an oncoming car thanks to the warning lights that we sprung into action; for the kindness of the AA man for whom nothing was too much trouble; and for the fact that when he'd instructed me to break and I accelerated by accident, it was thanks to the fact that I was in neutral gear that I didn't crush the poor man to death. Also if I had chosen to drive just myself to the pub, I would have got stuck on my own, in the middle of nowhere, without a mobile phone signal, mine being the only phone that wouldn't work, so really and truly, thank God for good friends! These are just the friends I'm glad I am stuck with!