Monday morning I had mentally prepared myself to leave St. Louis. It was often hard to leave the safety and security of a loving home and leave once again to an unknown, uncertain future. Nonetheless, after two days of rest, I was physically and mentally prepped to hit the road. However, it turns out leaving that day was not to be.
It seems like we were checking the weather a lot those last couple days. We were looking at the weather radar and trying to track rain and lightning. We'd had a little rain on Sunday, but not as much as we expected. Colorado had five tornadoes on either Saturday or Sunday (I've told people it was Sunday, but maybe it was Saturday). I remember looking in awe at the pictures that some of my friends had taken. Tornadoes are scary. Actually, tornadoes were one of my only fears for this trip because I had a vivid dream about them before leaving. Fortunately, in my dream, me and my riding partner (was it Tom? I don't remember) escaped to a lake.
I ate breakfast. Eggs and sausage and toast with jam. Jane was so fantastic a servant to us.
The weather was dreary that morning. The sky grew darker and darker. It was hard to believe it was 7 or 8am because it was so dark. Tom woke up and joined us. I felt uneasy. He checked the weather and I checked the weather (on my phone) and we watched the TV for the weather. He seemed certain this wouldn't be too bad, that I was psyching myself out and that we just needed to go. His forecast called for low chance of rain for the rest of the day and I knew that Tom would not be hindered by weather like rain.
The odd thing is that I was ready to go when I woke up. I was packed, ate breakfast, and was ready to move, but a terrible feeling arose in my chest. I suddenly felt so nervous about leaving that my heart ached. I felt almost desperate that I should convince Tom not to leave. Mind you, the doom and gloom over our heads at that very moment, showering hail, rain, and lightning on the roof, surely contributed to my unease. Tom might have thought that I was just afraid to leave the comfort of the house... that a little rain was what I was nervous about, but I prefer to think I'm not a pansy. No, something inside me was churning and I did not feel comfortable leaving. I finally convinced Tom we should not go by saying we should listen to our hosts about whether or not to leave and then I sort of egged on Jane to say that we should stay. Now it seems to me I was a little underhanded, but I feared nothing less would convince Tom that we should stay.
My heartache disappeared the instant we committed to staying an extra day. The rain and hail stopped in an hour. The sun came out. But we were committed. I figured Tom would not be happy with me because I wanted to stay and the weather turned out so nice. I was a little disturbed that my bad feeling proved to be incorrect (or so it seemed). Nonetheless, Jane and Paul let us stay another day and I was determined to do something productive now that we had no choice but to stay (Paul would have give us a ride out of the city, but he was already at the church).
So, I started reading 1 Samuel on the recommendation of my Dad. Then both Tom and I looked at the anti-virus software on Jane's computer (trying to fix some errors). I took an 8-mile bike ride. I liked that time alone with God. I spent a lot of time just chatting with Jane, who was babysitting three (or was it four?) little girls.
That evening, Paul took Tom and me to the Lone Elk Park and we saw some wildlife (buffalo, elk, deer, wild turkeys). It was nice to spend that time with Paul. It was good, quality time in my book (even though I wouldn't necessarily consider this wildlife to be wild... it was more than a petting zoo, but less than natural). Before I forget, the first or second night we were there, Paul took us into his "Den of Death" (his den with several of the animals he's killed) and asked us what some certain objects were. I knew I had seen them before and I knew they came from an animal, but I had to dredge up a memory with my grandpa to get the answer: turkey beards! I was one of the few people to get that right and maybe that helped me build a slightly better rapport with Paul ;). Before going home, Paul dropped us off and Wal-Mart and I picked up some snacks (apple sauce, TLC granola bars, etc.), sunscreen lotion, and a bar of facial soap.
Back at the house, I looked at a map with Paul and Jane and this was after we had found out that Clay City (a two day-ride away) was not a viable option to find a host. I had made many phone calls, all dead ends. The final woman I spoke with suggested Flora (Illinois), a slightly larger city about 8 or 10 miles east. Tom and I were okay with Flora and before we even had the chance to make some phone calls, Paul remembered that he had a friend from his Bible school pastoring a church in Flora. Thus, Paul called "Billy" and after a bit of catching up (and Paul explaining our situation), Bill agreed to help us. Bill already had a lot on his plate as it turns out, with the sudden death of a member of their congregation and I could tell even during the phone conversation that it was not the easiest thing for Bill to do to take on another responsibility. Still, he took us on.
After some ice cream we all went to bed. We found out the next day that we dodge a big bullet by staying an extra day. Call it the Holy Spirit, call it a miracle, or call it coincidence, but we were spared from grave danger.
We took a third consecutive day of rest in St. Louis, Missouri on Monday, June 8, 2009.