The year ended for Christie and me in a manner we were not expecting. It wouldn’t have been our choice, either. We like our world peaceful and orderly. And December 31 was not that. Not at all. Let me explain.

We left the house for an early dinner on New Year’s Eve. By 5:30 pm, we were at our favorite local eatery and they predicted a 10-minute wait. Not bad at all. There was a bit of a crowd out front, but they don’t take reservations and things usually move along rather quickly. After standing outside for 45 minutes, it was now dark and chilly. Everyone inside was apparently having a grand time and enjoying rich and long conversations. Because no one left. Well, someone must have left because they seated a large group and another couple. But not us. And nothing gave us any hope that we’d get a table any time soon. We decided to move on. There are lots of options in the South Bay.

We checked on a restaurant down the street. Packed, with no tables available. We’d already tried to get reservations down in Redondo, but the earliest available was on January 2. But this was early in the evening. Fancy was not a priority for us, so we headed down the hill (easier than up the hill these days) to a hole-in-the-wall Mexican place we’d been to a couple of weeks ago. We loved it, by the way. We got all the way down there and it was dark. Closed for the night. No way.

That sense of disappointment was repeated two more times. Finally, I said, call Lamppost. We were already down the hill and we can take it home to eat in some orderly peace and quiet. We called and ordered our pizza. We’re only about ten minutes max away from there, but we found out the wait was over 30 minutes. For a single medium pizza. Really?

So, I got to wait another half an hour for the pizza. And when we arrived, we discovered they were closing in 15 minutes anyway. We finally made it home two hours after we left home. And we hadn’t even had dinner.

Sometimes life is like that. It’s a journey of sputters and stops. So then I got to thinking. Was this night reflective of 2019 or predictive of 2020? Hmmm. The year just leaving had its moments, tough ones often. But life is a journey that can surprise us and test us. There can be a lot of waiting. Sometimes it’s a treadmill, and you run and run and don’t feel like you’re making much progress.

What did this night mean for us? Who knows? Maybe we ought to plan ahead. Maybe we ought to have taken one of the alternative options we were given? But I don’t think you can draw any conclusions about what lies ahead. We learned to use the grocery store for New Year’s Eve. Or get a reservation weeks in advance.

When you follow God, be prepare for surprises. Trials have their own purpose and to avoid them all, will stunt our growth. Be get ready for whatever comes along in the year ahead. Keep your hand in God’s and enjoy the ride!