Our day started unexpectedly at 3:14 AM with a phone call that jarred me out of a very deep sleep. Looking back, I was so fast asleep that when I woke up, I couldn’t quite figure out what was happening. It turned out to be Delta Airlines telling us that our 11 AM flight to Atlanta had been cancelled for mechanical reasons. However, we could still make it to Chicago if we took the 6:15 AM flight. Since there are only two flights from Tupelo to Atlanta each day, and since we have a meeting in Chicago tonight, the decision was easy. Suddenly Marlene and I jumped out of bed and started getting ready to leave.
We had both done some packing last night but planned to finish it this morning since we had (we thought) plenty of time to get to the airport. So here we were at 3:30 AM, scurrying through the cabin, trying to remember what we still needed to pack, and trying not to bump into each other.
And then there was Dudley who woke up and started whining because he knew we were leaving. In fact, he knew last night we were leaving. Dogs are that way. They know when their owners are about go on a trip and leave them behind. For quite a while he followed me wherever I went. Finally he stood by the front door, as if to say, “You aren’t leaving without me.” When we finally finished getting ready, it was about 4 AM. I opened the door to take the first bag out to the car and Dudley followed me, barking and whining and jumping around. He went back inside with me, but when I took the second bag outside, he decided to stay by the car.
We left the cabin about 4:15 AM, driving through the darkness down the Natchez Trace toward Tupelo. We tried to think if we had left anything but decided why worry about it because we weren’t going to back anyway. Dudley was with us because we had to take him to Alan’s house where he will stay with Jake, Alan’s chocolate lab. Generally when we drop Dudley at Alan’s, he bolts out of the car and starts running toward the house, barking as he goes. Since the neighbors wouldn’t be happy about that at 4:45 AM, I ran ahead to unlock the door while Marlene put Dudley on a leash and brought him into the house, waking up Jake and (of course) Alan, whom we had not had time to call. I’m just glad he didn’t think someone was trying to break into his house. Dudley and Jake were so happy to see each other that they shared a piece of stale pizza. Then they ran outside to play in the backyard–at 5:05 AM. We told Alan that we were leaving for Chicago, he told us to have a good time and be safe, I said that Marlene would be back on Tuesday and that I would be back in two weeks. He wished us safe travels and off we went.
And so the first leg of our journey has started. We are in Chicago where this morning the temperature was -4. Right now it’s 10 degrees with 8-12 inches of snow on the ground. They say a warming trend will raise temps into the 20s by the end of the weekend.
We are here for some KBM home meetings today and tomorrow and a KBM board meeting on Monday night. On Sunday morning I’m preaching at 8:45 and 11 AM for the beginning of Missions Emphasis at Elmhurst Christian Reformed Church. Then on Tuesday I’m flying to Atlanta and driving to Cloudland Canyon for a pastor’s retreat while Marlene goes back to Tupelo. Then next Thursday we both fly to California for three days (more about that later) and then a week from Sunday, I’m heading to New York to teach Galatians to the first year students at Word of Life Bible Institute.
We knew this was going to be a busy time, but the ways things have worked out, in the next two weeks I’m going from Tupelo to Atlanta to Chicago to Atlanta to Cloudland Canyon to Atlanta to California to New York and then back to Tupelo. Our schedule has changed multiple times this week–and just a moment ago, literally after writing the last sentence, I just learned that the plans for tonight have changed.
Several years ago a friend gave me his secret for success as a Christian:
Watch God work
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About Dr. Ray Pritchard
Dr. Ray Pritchard is the president of Keep Believing Ministries, in Internet-based ministry serving Christians in 225 countries. He is the author of 27 books, including Stealth Attack, Fire and Rain, Credo, The Healing Power of Forgiveness, An Anchor for the Soul and Why Did This Happen to Me? Ray and Marlene, his wife of 37 years, have three sons-Josh, Mark and Nick, two daughters-in-law--Leah and Vanessa, and two grandsons--Knox and Eli. His hobbies include biking, surfing the Internet, and anything related to the Civil War.
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