The Girl on the Side of the Road

We’d crossed back into Bolivia by that point. The sky threatened rain, the dessert land threated more dust storms, and the Andes mountains threatened landslides.

There on the side of the road was a car likely broken down. It had been hours since we’d seen a gas station. Hours since we’d seen anything really.

I’m sure that driver was freaking out. What do you do with a busted car in the middle of nowhere an hour from the border?


But it wasn’t the driver who caught my attention. It was the little girls standing in the grass beside it. The younger sister, maybe 3, stood with her hands to her sides facing her older sister.

In a matching outfit, the older sister, maybe 6, stood with both arms up in the air and a huge smile on her face.

I only saw her for a split second as our bus whizzed by but I saw her long enough to want to be that older sister.

Sure, it wasn’t her responsibility to fix the car. She didn’t need to figure out how they were going to get from nowhere to somewhere.

Yet neither was she choosing to notice that she was cold, hungry, and bored.

She chose to dance among the alpacas, rejoice in the dust, and play in the open land.

She chose to make it an adventure.

the least sketchy part of our walk

Let’s just be honest… the World Race—just like life—is full of adventures.

Breakfast isn’t delivered to your ministry site.

The country you were most looking forward to gets pulled from your route.

The bus that promised to pick you up from the side of the road between 11 and 11:30 doesn’t show up until 1.

The restaurant’s out of the only menu item you like.

The trip gets cancelled because of circumstances beyond your control.

The plumber who promised to come between 12-4 finally knocks on your door as you’re sitting down for dinner at 6.

The question isn’t if plans change… the question is what you do when the plans change.

Sometimes it’s not our responsibility to fix the situation. Sometimes the circumstances aren’t within your ability to control—no matter how hard you want to.

The question becomes: what do you do in that moment?

Do you respond like the younger sister with your arms held carefully in front of you waiting patiently?

Or do you spread your arms up to the sky and dance like the older sister?

Do you buy an extra candy bar as a gift to a friend?

Do you get annoyed that the waitress messed up your order or do you give her an extra large tip in the name of grace?

I know I want to be the older sister.

What about you?

  • Gail

    This is a good example of the saying “when life hands you lemons, make lemonade!” I want to be the big sister too!

  • AMEN!

  • Craig B.

    What a wonderful essay on the joys of embracing the ongoing slew of life challenges that we all face on a daily basis. Your insights into such a simple scene is marvelous testimony to God’s grace-given spirit within you. Travel safely!

  • Brianna Lomas

    Really great insight! Love the story and the challenge!

  • Dawn Muench