“It’s raining!” Jenny sighed, fighting tears. “This is meant to be a holiday.”
I frowned into the night. Jenny was a diabetic and her health made it harder to cope with being cold and damp all night.
God, I thought, how do we get things to go better?
Our New Zealand holiday had begun in Auckland with a sunny, blue-skied time. We slept on comfy beds and were treated to wonderful home-cooked meals.
We’d established that we could not hitch our way around the two islands. We’d tried, staggering across the airport lounge with heavy metal-framed back packs on our backs, our knees buckling under us. We barely made it across the room.
So we bought a car – a 1949 bright orange Vauxhall, for a mere $120 between five of us (1976, mind you). Consequently we called it Amazing Gracie. Little did we know how often that car would earn its name!
Gracie puttered all the way up to the Bay of Islands. We’d heard how beautiful this area was – but we saw only dense white mist. It was raining!
Photo from Pixabay
In a gap between rain showers we pitched two tents in a camping ground in the fading daylight. I began the night stretching out my sleeping bag near the tent, hoping to sleep under the stars. Just as I began to relax, a drip fell on my forehead. Oh no! Then another. Soon it was raining in earnest so I grabbed my sleeping bag and crawled into the tent with the other two girls.
We dozed intermittently while it rained all night. The synthetic tent fabric sagged, soggy and cold, on Jenny’s face.
God! I thought, this is meant to be a holiday!
I was determined not to be robbed. A thought whispered inside me. “Let’s praise God for the rain!” I said.
We began a feeble praising and singing which grew stronger as we cheered up.
Everything was cold and damp. Our clothes, our backpacks, our sleeping bags.
But no longer our spirits.
The tent was sodden.
An unfamiliar man’s face appeared at the opening of the tent.
“Would you girls like to come to our caravan and have a hot drink?” he asked. “My wife told me to ask you.”
We combed our wet hair and straightened our clothes, then followed him to a caravan.
Soon we were sitting in a cosy mini-lounge, sipping hot chocolate and eating a snack breakfast. It warmed us through and cheered our spirits.
Had our praises turned the corner for us? We wondered.
Later that morning we packed up and began the trip back down the island.
Thick grey cloud hid the world around us.
Suddenly Peter said, “You’d better pray if you want to see Mt Egmont!”
We gazed in dismay at the never-ending cloud – and prayed.
The clouds parted and a few miles along, there was Mt Egmont, bright and sparkling with its snowy peak piercing the clear blue sky and glittering in the sunshine.