Rocky Mountains touch crystal blue skies. Rocks, shimmering like glass, peer from the lakes that hug the mountain highway. My hands gently steer the wheel. As the hours go on, the mountains and lakes will soon be replaced by mountain ash trees and prairie grass. I slow, my eyes drifting to a deer grazing on the highway edge. Beautiful. My tires grind on rivets. I've crossed the line. The deer jumps, and gracefully disappears in the nestle of trees. I steer left, aligning myself right on the road again, glancing beside me and in my rear view mirror. My passengers still rest, eyes closed. I let out a breath, content that I did not disturb them. My traveling companions, these three ladies, are counting on me to get them home safely. And with all my heart, I am going to try my best to make sure I do.
We call ourselves the 'Tailgate Girls', Kerry, Laurel, Marilisa and I; a name derived from a planned outing of hanging out on the tail gate of my Jeep on the banks of a river only accessible by a 4-wheel drive. Although a rained out road de-railed our picnic to a spot just off the highway, the name stuck. Since then the four us have hiked the trails of Jasper, dined together on pizza and steak, and danced to the wee hours of the morning. And we have shared our stories, and hopes, and dreams. But what I appreciate most about these ladies is how they have lifted me up in my faith journey. And it all started from an invitation.
An invitation that saved my life.
In a time of brokenness and shame, I searched out healing. Led to a small group at my church, I met Mike, who invited me to attend an event for other singles within the church community. This one invitation led to me meeting the 'tailgate girls', and such an abundance of new friends and other events that there are too many to write in a blog post! But know, that one invitation did touch my life deeply. And I am forever grateful.
One invitation. A life saved.
As the radio plays softly through my car stereo. I tap my fingers to the beat. I think about the single dad on my block who recently had hip surgery. I think about the mom across the street with three young children and a husband who works out of town. I think about the widower next door. I think about the foster home with three teens around the corner. Just around the corner and when have I extended an invitation? Would they be interested in the youth swim party coming up? Or how about the newly divorced woman, Jackie, I see every week at bible study. Would she be interested in the singles volley ball on Friday nights? I let a hand off the wheel. I run my hand through my hair. What if they say no?
Kerry stirs beside me, stretches out her arms in front of her. "I feel better," she says. "How about you? Do you need a rest? I can take over the driving."
I shake my head, smile. "No, I feel good actually. Go back to sleep. You ran at 4am this morning! You deserve your rest." But I am glad for her concern, for her caring.
Kerry fluffs up her pillow. "You're a gem. But if you do get tired, just wake me and I'll say yes to driving." She leans back and I watch her close her eyes before I turn my eyes back to the road, both hands on the wheel.
Maybe Jackie would like to join us for games night? I make a mental note to invite her.
Is there someone you can extend an invitation to today? You just might save a life.