Friday morning - our first attempt at leaving a campsite. There’s no substitute for doing things the right way!
Packing up and closing the trailer down goes well. We get the foldouts in, batten down the hatches and secure the cargo. After I raise the corner jacks, its time to hook up to the truck. This is the easiest thing I’ve ever done...
I ask Kris to guide me as I back up to the hitch. She does a great job! After we achieve perfect alignment, I get out and begin to crank the hitch down onto the ball - it stops halfway. No problem, I can handle this! I look closely and see that our alignment is not quite perfect. I clearly need to take charge of this part of the operation. I put Kris in the pickup and direct her minor adjustments - a trained eye will solve this problem in no time..... or not.
Now there’s a line of three vehicles trying to get out - and the truck is blocking them; so I pull out and drive around the loop - attempt number two.
Kris is busy, so I recruit Haylee to guide my backing. She, does a great job! We again achieve perfect alignment, but I’d better take a look - after all, she is a girl. I go back to crank the hitch onto the ball, and you guessed it, it freezes about halfway down.
Now I’m starting to think this trailer hitch is just a bit demanding. I’ve done this at least five hundred times in my life, and I’ve never had a problem like this! As I take a few deep breaths to prevent the combustion of my head, I look to the left.
These two guys are sitting in a pickup with a trailer hitched on back and looking at me like I’m the idiot missing from the village. Behind them are two more units and I know what they’re all thinking. I also know what I’m thinking... If these guys offer me any advice, they’re dead men. I refuse to let a couple of rv geeks sit there and watch me stuggle any more, so I jump in the truck and go around the loop again. I promise I never exceed the posted speed limit. No, really...
As I arrive back at our campsite, I hear Haylee updating Kris on the situation. Kris reclaims her role as guide, and I back toward the trailer - attempt number three. If it doesn’t work this time, we’re taking up residence at Canyon De Chelly. I can homeschool these kids and live without electricity - I wonder how long it’ll take to learn Navajo...
Kris guides me back and we get that perfect alignment again (yeah, right). I jump out of the cab, brimming with confidence and attack the crank with a vengeance. Haylee is watching in rapt attention, and Kris is staying out of the way. We watch the hitch as it lowers onto the ball. Yes, yes, yes....
No. I send Kris back to the driver’s seat and we make a few more adjustments. No dice. Are you kidding me? Super man, Paul Bunyan and an MIT engineer couldn’t get thins thing to fit! Who designed this piece of...
Kris (situated again in the driver’s seat, achieving surgical adjustments to the position of the ball hears me scream. So do the people at the visitors center up the hill, and the two ancient Navajo women living in the bottom of the canyon five miles away.
“What?” asks Haylee.
“What?” calls Kris?
But I’m not saying a word. I simply stand up, open the camper shell, reach in and pull out the receiver hitch. You know, the one with the two-inch ball. The one that slides into that square opening UNDER THE BUMPER! The one I took out last night so it wouldn’t get stolen. The one that fits the (insert term of endearment here) trailer!
“What’s up”? wonders Kris.
“Uh, could you pull forward about a foot?
Okay, this is where living with civilized people is hard for me. I just want her to move the truck forward a foot. I don’t want to tell her why. I don’t want to tell her that she’s been married to an imbecile for twenty years - she may not know yet!
“Could ya just pull up right quick?”
“Okay.” (She has no idea what a good decision she just made.)
Now, back to Haylee. My seventeen-year-old daughter has a dilemma. She’s stuck somewhere between laughing hysterically (because she just realized how dumb her dad is), hiding behind the camper (because she thinks I might combust) and running to the driver’s door to tell her mom the great story. Poor kid.
I look at her and the goofy smile fades from her face. She freeezes. “Is dad gonna laugh or cry or scream?”
I think I did all three. And that’s how it is.
You see, it doesn’t matter how badly I wanted that two-inch hitch to fit that two and five-eights inch ball. It wasn’t ever going to happen. Because it isn’t true. It isn’t right. It doesn’t work.
And here’s what I remembered: that’s how it is with living by faith. Living by faith works because the things of Jesus are true. Life by faith does work, because it is all true, and true things work.
Lots of times, people want things so badly that they forget they aren’t true:
“If I give him what he wants, he’ll realize that he loves me.”
“I know the Bible says to be a one woman man, but I can make this work.”
“If Jesus had these kids, he’d have given us different rules!”
“I believe it, but this is just too hard.”
The beauty of living by faith is that we aren’t on our own. Jesus doesn’t just guide us or control us, He empowers us. And I’ll tell you something true. When you get the right size ball on the right size hitch, it all comes together.