01 Feb The Trailer Failure
Over the past four days, I’ve driven over 15 hours all over Colorado, totaling about 850 miles. No, I wasn’t planning on road tripping, and no, I am not trying out to be a truck driver. All I was doing was trying to pick up a livestock trailer.
Last year, I found a great used bumper pull livestock trailer that was “only” 5 and a half hours away, on the other side of the state. It was at a farm we visited in the fall, and the drive was gorgeous. Surely, I thought, it wouldn’t be a big deal to pick up the trailer at our leisure next summer, and I quickly put down the deposit for it.
Well, our schedule changed, and we found we needed the trailer sooner rather than later. So I decided to pick it up this past weekend. Nick and I had planned it out – I would go alone, I would stay overnight somewhere near where I was picking up the trailer, and then I would drive home with it the next day. I mean, how hard could it be to haul a 16 foot trailer? I had driven an RV for the first time last year, and though it was super annoying to drive, I managed.
At least that’s what I kept telling myself. The other part of me was terrified. Literally, during the first couple hours of my drive, I oscillated between feeling pumped, and then would suddenly burst into little bouts of ugly crying. I had never hauled a trailer, let along for 5+ hours. I was alone, without guidance or help. I didn’t know what to expect. I didn’t even know what to watch out for. I watched a YouTube video about how to set the trailer brake gain on our truck. Yeah sure, the guy made it sound easy but what in the world were the trailer brakes actually supposed to feel like? What if they failed? What if it rolled down the side of a mountain?
Every time a new fear popped up, I gave it to God. I acknowledged my very real concerns, and then tried to lean into Him a little harder. By the time I arrived at my hotel Friday night, after a beautiful five hour trip through the mountains, I felt at peace.
Early Saturday morning, I woke up, it was a glorious wintry mountain morning. I checked out the window. Snow. SNOW! Over 5 inches of snow and fallen over night and it was still going. I was in shock! We had checked the weather forecast over and over again, all around the area I was traveling, and it never mentioned snow! It was supposed to be 40 degrees F and sunny (I think I need to find a new weather app).
I quickly texted the sellers. “What does the weather look like over there?”
“We’ve got more than 5 inches, and it’s still snowing” she texted back. “Do you have weight on the back of your truck? Does your truck have a trailer brake controller?”
We checked the traffic cams. Slushy. It did not look good. The passes, Vail Pass and Eisenhower tunnel specifically, were our worry. Being at a much higher elevation (over 10,000′ above sea level), they freeze much more quickly, and the roads can be steep and winding.
I didn’t know what to do. I texted Nick, I texted another friend who was familiar with hauling trailers. No one had a definitive answer, because we had no idea how the weather would go.
You see, mountain weather is unlike any other. It can change in a heartbeat, especially in the winter. Storms develop out of nowhere, and can linger or move on quickly. One minute can be sunny, the next you can barely see through the blizzarding snow, and then a couple hours after that, the sun could be back out and everything is melting already. Oh and it’s likely that the weather in the next town over could be completely different. Don’t believe me? Look up “bomb cyclone Colorado”.
I was in a panic. Do I push forward, risk it, hope the weather gets better, and go pick up the trailer? The seller was highly recommending against it, she was very nervous about me taking it over the passes.
Or do I turn around and go home? After I had driven 5 hours, to drive another 5 hours home empty handed?
Would the roads really be that bad? How dangerous was the situation actually?
What if it was bad? What if I got stuck in a snow drift in the middle of nowhere and nobody knew?
I didn’t want to fail. I didn’t want to go home empty handed.
I had had all this anticipation, all the looking forward and planning – if I went home now, what does that mean?
Failing is a funny thing. No one wants to fail. Failure is like pain, we avoid it as much as we possibly can.
We hate the thought of things not going the way we planned, or of not being able to attain the goal that we set out for.
It’s hard not to be frustrated with those moments of failure. It goes against everything in our bodies that want us to always succeed, to always be productive, to make sure we achieve and perform in the way we expect.
Sitting in the hotel room, with the snow falling gently outside, after deliberating and checking and researching for 2 hours, Nick and I finally decided that the safest choice would be for me to just drive home.
10 hours, for nothing.
I cried out of frustration. I cried out of fear and doubt.
Why did it happen this way? Was it something wrong that I did? What if God had been warning me not to go this weekend and I missed it?
Suddenly, I felt a check in my spirit. I believe it was the Holy Spirit, a gentle nudging reminder.
What makes you think that this isn’t what God had planned?
But how could it be? It was a complete and utter failure! I wasted all this time, and gas, and used my hotel points, for nothing!!
Could it be possible that failing is a healthy part of learning new things, and simply a result of embarking on new dreams and adventures?
God put a revelation in my heart. It wasn’t for nothing.
Yes, I didn’t achieve what I had set out to do. And yes, I guess it could’ve been prevented if I hadn’t gone at all.
But no, it doesn’t mean that God wasn’t with me, and it doesn’t mean he would have prevented me from trying.
What I saw as a failure, God saw as a normal part of learning,
When we watch a baby learn to walk, we don’t see their falling down as failure. And we don’t prop them up forever so they won’t fall when they walk. We let them slowly find their balance, stand up, fall, find their balance again, stand up, pick up a foot, fall, balance, stand, then step. Until one day they are walking without even thinking about it.
I didn’t fail that day. But I did learn.
I learned not to plan trips across Colorado in the winter if at all possible.
I learned that my safety is more important than pushing through and just “gettin’ it done”
I learned that I need to get comfortable with “failing” or a better way to describe it is “not always getting the result that I planned for”. Especially as we start on this amazing new journey doing a million things we’ve never done before.
So what was the result? Well, I ended up asking for my deposit back from the seller, and they were kind enough to do so. I need a trailer in two weeks to haul a heifer and a bull, and I knew I couldn’t risk that trip again in such a short time.
I found another trailer. Actually, I believe God provided another trailer. It was much closer, and worked out great. I did end up having to make two additional 3 hour long round trips, first to view the trailer and then to pick it up, but it went very smoothly! I hauled it myself, and now we officially have a way to move animals!
On Saturday morning, I thought I had failed. And perhaps in some senses, I had – I failed to obtain what I had planned to do.
But on Monday night, right now, I find that God worked everything out. And I’m wiser in some ways now than if everything had gone smoothly that day.