We four took a road trip in our old 1980’s RV this weekend to visit family in Grant’s Pass. It was a five-hour long drive down I-5 to reach the land of the evergreens. These trips always strike me as funny because we must pack up a good part of our real house and leave its true creature comforts to be in a much smaller, way less comfortable, and rickety home on wheels with spotty heat (at best) and beds that are hard and lumpy (the worst) and often sleep crooked if we do not get the wheels exactly level wherever we end up spending the night. I wake up with a sore back each morning, missing my nice bed, but remind myself it’s all worth it because we are breaking the standard routine, which is good for us.
What I love most about these trips however is that the four of us are confined to one area. Unlike in our house, there is no Dad-zone and Mom-zone, teenage-girl zone and gamer-boy zone. We are all together, no getting around it or away from it. This can be wonderful and good-memory-making time as we talk, tell jokes and ramble down the highway with nothing to do but spend time as a family. BUT. Oh no, there is the word that ushers conflict into even the most benign fairytale stories. And this will be no exception. The same thing that I love most is what I dislike most; we are all confined to one, small space. Nowhere to escape when trouble strikes.
There we were, all having a great time and then, suddenly, like an icy blast of wind hitting the warm mood, we were all arguing! The kids pushed one of each other’s buttons and both started exploding, yelling and yelping. Then almost as if we were pulled into the vicious vortex without a choice, Mike and I were barking at each other over directions as to how to get to where we were going – classic. I have a feeling that if Adam and Eve were afforded a vehicle, the first documented argument would be over which way to get to the Tree of Life or some other landmark where each would feel the need to be proven right on their opinion.
We drove in circles in the RV (literally) and in our heated conversations and we all went to bed mad. I know The Bible implores and wisely advises that we do "not let the sun set on your anger" (Eph. 4:26), but we were just not in the mood to make-up just yet, still licking our wounds. So, silence and cold shoulders won the night. I tossed in tension-interrupted sleep on that bad mattress and tried to shake off my bad mood and figure out how the once fun-filled night had soured so abruptly.
A rooster crows…I am awakened in the morning by a feathered, fowl-mouthed alarm clock. I really dislike my alarm clock at home; its tone is screeching and brash also as it screams into my ear sounding just a little too excited to break my slumber; but at least it has a snooze button. This loud creature in the not so off far distance has no such thing and kept crowing repeatedly with no concern for my need for more sleep. Rude bird.
The most famous rooster-crow in history is documented in all four Gospel accounts the night Jesus was betrayed by Judas (the one we expected), and then, surprisingly, by his real and trusted friend. Peter had just denied knowing Jesus three times and had gone from being willing to die with Jesus just hours before, to being a full-on defector when the alarm sounded: “At once a rooster crowed…” He cried bitterly at the understanding of what he had just done, probably in disbelief that he could turn that quickly on his best friend, Savior and Lord.
The new day’s dawn had ushered in Peter’s biggest life-regret and a harsh awakening of his soul; wishing he had done better and right by Christ. I have a feeling all he wanted was a chance to do it all over again. Indeed, his second chance was coming; Jesus' resurrection would bring much-needed redemption. And, being the unshakable rock unto which Christ built His church, Peter made it right, alright.
This opens up my heart as I arise today of the opportunity to do better too and get another chance. Mike made the coffee, brings me a cup held out as a peace offering, and we tell each other, “I am sorry for my part”. We move forward into this new day with a filling of fresh love for each other and the kids gave morning hugs, bringing relief, redeeming what was lost. And we begin again...
Maybe that rooster was sent to wake me up not in body necessarily, but in attitude. Its pronounced crowing is the symbol of awakening, for Peter and for us all. And when we don’t get it right, it is an offering of another day and another chance to offer better. Good thing in my case.
Question: Are you ever discouraged at how quickly you can turn from being sweet into being somewhat bitter too? Offer grace today to your heart knowing God does not expect perfection and He is the One who offers second chances and fresh starts.