I could have titled today’s column, “Turning bad into good, per God,” quoting Romans 8:28 King James Version, “And we know that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.”
I was looking forward to my 45th high school reunion last weekend. For six months, along with 11 classmates who also wanted a reunion before the 50th, we made plans. I was drafted as chairman even though with an office move, annual special editions and festival coverage, I was burning both ends of the candle. Funny how we don’t realize the wick is about to burn out, until the car battery doesn’t start. Literally.
From Sunday to Thursday I was fighting fatigue that turned into at least two days of fever over 102.5 degrees, another almost as high, plus before I fell victim, had a day of deadlines. I was supposed to prepare my work to leave for the editor so my time away from the office wouldn’t be a burden. That’s when the battery died. I was running late Thursday, packing with half a mind and no energy, and when I got in my car to crank it at 3 p.m., it didn’t. For more than an hour, I called looking for assistance. Finally the first neighbor I called got home from Lafayette. Afraid if I stopped the car it wouldn’t start again, I called another friend to pick up the reunion signs I’d ordered locally to be convenient for me, and I knew they would be ready on time. As she waited with my running car, I turned on the office computer and lined everything up to be completed by my editor. Thank you Chris Landry. No one really knows how hard you work, but God sees all. By 6:47 p.m. Thursday, I was checked into my paid hotel room, and crashed for the night.
The reunion committee was a well oiled machine. Everyone had a part to play and I felt as though I was running to catch up with the team in the last weeks, and definitely was for the weekend. By doctor’s orders — negative for flu but antibiotics prescribed and tests run — I stayed in bed Friday missing the homecoming game. We all had special T-shirts. I wore mine Saturday.
There were things I had forgotten in my packing and one of the guys on the committee knew I was in no condition to drive. Even with his help, we were chasing rabbits to New Iberia and back. I was only along for the ride. How he kept up with my brain is a miracle. By then the shot the doctor had given me to help me through the weekend had kicked in and I was the energizer bunny on the inside. Outside was still weak, fragile and dizzy.
I only lost it one time later that night when the reunion conversation did not quiet enough to get everyone on the dance floor for pictures. Everyone now knows, don’t push Vicky too far. Everything said and done, it was a fabulous event, especially the 71 person memorial. Our Sunday morning brunch was as special as we all hoped and those who attended have a glimpse into our real lives, now, not the ones we remember or hope to cling to from high school.
Thinking all went well and heartfelt congratulations to the hard working committee who gave me the best hospital stay with extraordinary food to match, I packed up and left the hotel. That’s when I learned my debit card was missing. I had the small change to buy donuts as we said goodbye at a lunchtime cafe. Figuring I’d find the card, not until everyone scattered heading home did I realize, I also was almost out of gas. Literally, three miles to go. The gas card I keep wouldn’t work at the station across from the hotel, no cards worked in their system that day.
Immediately I started laughing. They say if you want to make God laugh, tell him your plans. We were laughing together, because what could have gone wrong in a four-day weekend after a week of sickness, did go wrong. Except for the fact that I was loved and nurtured by strangers and lifelong friends, and was reminded just how much God loves me — AND — He was not surprised by anything that came my way. I collected the change from different hiding places in the car and managed to scrape up enough money to get back home. My blessing, as I laughed and told the gas register gals my dilemma was pooled pennies left from other customers and by the time I got to my car, they added $2 to the gas tally.
That young man wearing a cross around his neck, looked at me like I was crazy, but didn’t offer any assistance, nor the other two customers at the station that day. That’s okay, I looked liked a fool. While I laughed, I told them Jesus is coming back soon and I hoped they’d be ready. I told my 1974 classmates the same thing. I don’t know if I will be at the 50th. I expect to be gone with the rapture before then. The sounds I heard from heaven as I drove home worried me it might be sooner than later, but it’s all good — all God — “Gloria, Hallelujah.”
I could have written more of the crazy weekend of mishaps and blessings, there were many, but after two more days recovering, I’m on deadline, except to say, God and I had a lot of time together this weekend. It was a great reunion.
Vicky Branton is the Teche Life editor at The Daily Iberian.
Epilogue: A high school friend from the mid 1970s wrote a song, “Today Ain’t My Day.” I’ve been singing it all weekend. The lyrics are comical, and I enjoy the inspired visuals, but I’ve always had a problem with the ending. It needs a little Coffee Talk With God. The shepherd boy, Psalmist, King David, might lament to God about the woes he was experiencing, but he ALWAYS turned to the silver lining and gave God glory regardless of the circumstances.
Last weekend for my 45th high school reunion, I truly knew, “Today Ain’t My Day” experiences.
Talk about walking down memory lane to get to your future destiny, I wrote part of this column Sunday, Oct. 6, 2019, at 10:50 p.m., on my back with a temperature thermometer in my mouth. Low-grade fever still hanging on. The weary eyes from dryness and seasonal allergies (I hear your concurring thoughts of confirmation and compassionate understanding) will soon close for the night — again after an unusual week. The doctor called and changed the antibiotic I was taking, to a more powerful one following the test results. Still fighting fatigue this week.
My Lafayette High School Class of 1974 - 45th Reunion was last weekend. I’ve been part of the classmates planning it for more than six months. One found a verse we updated for our reunion motto: Rarely in life do we get to look back through new lenses. No truer statement could describe what we experienced from and with our classmates the past several days.
But I’m reporting on the part immediately before and the afternoon after closing of the 4-day events. I spent a lot of time last weekend with God, alone, in my committee-paid hotel room, while the rest of the celebrants played — just like we hoped, dreamed and planned. God and I were busy outlining the future.
Remember I’ve been saying a lot lately, (wo-)Man plans his/her steps, but The Lord orders them. And did He ever, again. I knew I had to laugh adversity in the face. I found this verse that seemed to set a seal on the experiences.
“Listen well to wise counsel and be willing to learn from correction so that by the end of your life you’ll be known for your wisdom. A person may have many ideas concerning God’s plan for his life, but only the designs of His purpose will succeed in the end.” Proverbs 19:20-21 The Passion Translation