"This is how grace works; it enters the soul, penetrates the heart, saturates the conscience, abides in the memory, affects the affections, gives understanding to the understanding, and imparts real life to the heart, which is the seat of life." Spurgeon

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Between a Rock and a Hard Place

It was a gloriously humbling day. We awoke and finished shopping, packing, loading and then left. We climbed up impossibly narrow two-way roads out of Positano en route to Florence (250km north of Rome).
The roads wound back and forth with sharp and steep switchbacks every 100 meters.
The kids were all so car sick that we stopped at a convenience store to sit outside and look at the sea for 30 minutes - twice. The second time we had some drinks and snacks and Holly called her mom with an update on what was one of the most beautiful places we have ever seen, Positano Italy.
I got directions from the barista and double checked my GPS. It appeared to be taking us on a short cut away from the oceans edge and the swervey-curvies. I drove past the narrow entrance to this passage three times until I stopped and decided, in Will Gruver fashion, to go for it...
We proceeded straight up an ancient, hair trigger, cobble-stone road. At one point early on I remember Holly telling her mom that she needed to "go right now" due to the freaky road we were on. Mom said, "Oh dear, are you going to be OK?"
Well, the road got freakier. In retrospect, the fact that we took this short cut at all, let alone traveled so far along it, was all complete madness. There were no turnarounds and the trunk of our van was packed with bags. So going back or driving in reverse down a mountainside was not going to happen. We were all praying.
Our 2011 Peugeot 9-passenger van's first few minor dings and dents occurred when the bumpers and side mirrors slapped the 20' stone walls of the alley as we twisted and turned upwards. I was praying to just get off the mountain and back to the swervey-curvies in one piece.
Finally, when we were 2 kilometers from the main road on the north side of the mountain, we began descending and came to a passage that looked too narrow to pass through. I got out and thought through our options. I walked ahead a 1/2 km and the road opened up.
Not seeing any humans or other motorists along this road had been disconcerting. But just beyond this narrow passageway there were actually 9 small cars parked! Yipee!
So, I got back in the van, released the parking break and we inched forward slowly.... Until we got stuck. The only option at this stage was to hit it, which is when we all started screaming.
Things we are thankful for:
1. Getting off the mountain in south Italy alive.
2. That, while almost totaled from a cosmetic perspective, our van is still drivable.
3. Hertz Gold Club Rental Insurance.
4. A memory of God giving peace in the middle of an incredibly stressful moment and answering prayer.
5. An adventure we will never forget... Our first family car accident ever.

Matthew 7:13-14
"Enter by the narrow gate. For the gate is wide and the way is easy that leads to destruction, and those who enter by it are many.
14 For the gate is narrow and the way is hard that leads to life, and those who find it are few."


  1. You guys are too much! Les and I had an experience in Switzerland when he decided to go up a road to explore - well it was one of those no way to turn around roads up a mountain, very narrow and I felt the same way but we finally made it - our problem was we could not read the signs as they were in a different language so I think we didn't know which way to go. No GPS then, but even with GPS occasionally we have been lead to a deadened parking lot. Hopefully you will get a map that you can read or have someone explain to you - is that possible? As I said previously, I want you all back in one piece. Love Mom

  2. Excuse me but is this where you got stuck - seeing this new picture - it looks like a sidewalk and not a road. Oh my goodness. Mom and Grandma