My wife and I had vowed long ago, when our oldest daughter first moved to Wisconsin, that we would never visit there in the winter. We had had enough of cold, snowy weather when we lived north of Philadelphia, and here in Upstate South Carolina we get just enough ice and snow to appreciate what people in northern climes endure for months on end.
So when our daughter announced that she would soon be adding to our roster of grandchildren, we began calculating and realized with dismay that it would not be a warm-weather delivery. But we ransacked our attic and found enough winter clothing to provide layer upon layer of defense from the cold, packed our bags, and ventured northward.
The trip began ominously. It was 27 degrees when we left home. Twenty-five minutes out, as we climbed the mountains into North Carolina, freezing rain began falling, slowing our ascent to about 40 mph. By the time we reached Hendersonville, the interstate was ice covered. Between there and Asheville, we witnessed multiple accidents. We could only imagine what conditions were like farther north.
As we proceeded, however, I watched the in-car thermometer, and the temperatures rose quickly. By the time we reached the Tennessee-North Carolina line and descended into “The Gorge,” it was 52 degrees! Twenty-five degrees difference in only an hour! Roads were dry. Travel speeds were back to normal and remained so through Tennessee and Kentucky and into Indiana. But again the temperature dropped continuously as we continued through Indiana. Just past Indianapolis, a rain-snow mix began to fall, and the skies turned dark and ominous. Soon, the interstate was down to one lane, and speeds slowed to about 35 mph. The temperature was again down to 27 when we stopped for the night. We awoke to a driving snow and fierce winds. When we resumed our journey, traffic was light and speeds were no faster than 30 mph for a couple of hours.
During the next several days, as we watched that newborn child and held her in our arms more than we probably should have and gazed into her tiny face, myriad thoughts flooded our minds. We realized once again the preciousness of human life, the fragility and vulnerability of infants, and their utter dependence upon parents and others for their care. We wondered what the future would hold for her. We prayed multiple times that her parents would have the wisdom necessary to rear her properly in a physically and spiritually dangerous world. Most importantly, we prayed that she would grow up to know the Lord Jesus Christ as her own personal savior.
But now we are back in the warm, sunny South. We have unpacked our bags and washed and returned to storage our layers of winter clothing. I stroll freely throughout the house without worrying about where the dog is. And we will soon resume our regular routines, my wife in her second-grade classroom and I with my writing.