Sunday, June 06, 2010

A Three Goat Day

I just got home from a trip with my daughter, three preschoolers, and a dog from Albuquerque, NM to Sacramento, CA. We traveled through 6 states in 7 days with a layover in Colorado Springs to visit friends and family. After driving two ten-hour days, my daughter was getting very tired of driving and the kids were restless. Our trip was delayed by a trip to the emergency room to have many deep splinters removed from my two-year grandson’s legs and hands. The boys were so excited about sitting on a bench and watching prairie dogs playing in the grass at the visitor’s center in Cheyenne, Wyoming that they didn’t notice the bench was leaving it’s mark.The staff and volunteers at the hospital in Laramie were so nice and friendly it made the stop a little easier (at least for myself, the baby, and my five-year old grandson who were served refreshments while my daughter tended a screaming 2-year old.) We continued our trip driving through the sheets of rain and whipping wind in Wyoming that was pulling at the bicycle on the back of the van. We finally stopped and my daughter somehow got the bicycle into the packed van. Needless to say, we were discouraged with having to stay an extra night at a hotel.

On the last day of the trip we decided to make one last stop at a rest area before going on to Reno for lunch. We weren’t sure where we were. Just somewhere out in the desert. But with a crying baby, and kids wanting a snack, we decided to make a quick stop. We were gathering up diapers and snacks when we realized the front door to the van wouldn’t close. 

When questioned about the door, my five-year old grandson said he just stuck his finger in a hole in the door. Apparently he pushed latch on the front door out of place. It was quite stuck. After several attempts to fix the latch, my daughter called the Kia towing service. After explaining that she had 3 kids in car seats, her mother, and a dog in the car, they said they might be able to fix it onsite. We felt a slight sense of relief until he later said the door would have to come off and we would need to be towed to Reno which was an hour and half away. 

We pictured ourselves out in the desert with a towing service looking for us while our five-year old culprit was anticipating a tow with great excitement. Needless to say when the Mario at the Kia dealership took the time to do some trouble-shooting and my daughter fixed the problem, we very happy to get back on the road.

We headed for the freeway feeling a great relief at not being left in the desert all afternoon and possibly spending another night in a cramped hotel room with 3 children. My daughter’s face was glowing as she said that it was so nice to be driving. What was a tedious tiring experience an hour earlier had become a delight. I asked her if she had heard the story about the man with 3 goats. Of course I proceeded to tell her what I remembered about a story.

There was a poor man who lived in a tiny little house with his wife and children. He was very unhappy living in such a tiny space and having very little money. He went to his Rabbi and asked what he should do. The Rabbi said that he should buy a goat. Now the house was even smaller. He went back and complained to his Rabbi, and he was told to buy another goat. When he complained again, his Rabbi said that he just needed another goat. Now the man was really miserable. He went back to his Rabbi and said that he couldn’t stand it. The Rabbi told him to sell all of his goats. The man did as he was told and went back home. He was so happy because his house seemed so much bigger and he had more money.

After telling my daughter the story, I was curious about how well I had remembered it. Turns out the man had only one goat. I’m not sure which way I heard the story, but I am confident that we had a 3-goat day. When we got to Sacramento I noticed the tall trees and the green grass. I have lived here all of my life and always wanted to live somewhere else. After traveling through desert, desolation, and salt fields, Sacramento was a welcome sight.

I find it very easy to take for granted all that I have: family, friends, food, and shelter. It is so easy to want more. More to eat, more to drink, and more to do. For example, I love coffee. When I decide to have only one cup of coffee, I end up drinking three, so I decided to spend three weeks on a spiritual discipline of not drinking any coffee. For the first week I felt like I was missing something.  The second week I just had to remember to not drink it. The third week I found that I didn’t need coffee anymore. I find that so many of my needs are just wants, excesses, and desires. When I have enough, I want more. After being in tight quarters for three days, I appreciate the comforts of my home. It takes a 3-goat day to appreciate a house without goats.

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Carissa said...

Wonderful story, I love it. Thank you for sharing, and I'm glad you made it home safely!

Coach NJ said...

The result of spending so much time in the car with the kids is that we really bonded. When our technology fizzled for various reasons we resorted to singing "Old McDonald Had a Farm" and other old favorites, but after 3 days we were thankful the iPad (audiobook)and DVD player (for the kids) was working. I am looking forward to the adventure driving back to Albuquerque.

DianaPhoenix said...

Very thoughtful, and what great insight. My goal today is to find gratitude and appreciation. And where are those excesses I can do without?