Wet Weekender

The weekend weather forecast called for 80 percent rain chances, with the possibility of severe storms, which made our plan to have Cloud 9’s tires replaced on Saturday morning questionable at best. So we decided to get the work done on Friday afternoon, meaning we would arrive at our campsite later than usual. But we were soon nestled into our secluded little spot and prepared ourselves for a wet weekend.

But first, Date Night, with its “CBS Evening News” and cocktails, steak and asparagus grilled to perfection, baked potato and charred peppers. We neglected to bring our Date Night wine, so dinner had to be accompanied By our “table” [translation: boxed] wine instead. We ended the evening around a crackling fire under cloudy skies.

We had planned to replace our tires the third weekend of April, but that wasn’t to be. Last weekend, as we were preparing to roll out of our site, we noticed we had a flat tire. We inflated it just enough to allow us to roll the rig forward, which revealed a massive failure of the tire where the tread had started pulling apart. We then did something we hadn’t done before: We changed the tire. Although we have Roadside Assistance, we figured it would take a couple of hours at the least to get a tow truck to our location and have the tire changed, so we decided to spend an hour or so doing it ourselves. It was actually a lot easier than we thought it would be. Despite our sense of accomplishment, the trip back to our storage unit was fraught anxiety, because we had no way of knowing when the next failure would occur or if we would be able to replace the remaining tires.

We knew we were pushing our luck with the Chinese-made Goodyear Marathons. A quick search of the Internet revealed hundreds of thousands of similar complaints. Yet we figured we had relatively good performance, considering we traveled more than 35,000 miles over four years and had never had an issue. It suffices to say our anxiety was assuaged and our peace of mind restored with the installation of our new Goodyear Endurance tires, which were developed specifically for travel trailers and manufactured in the USA.

Saturday brought storms and rain, but nothing nearly as dire as had been forecast. In fact, by mid-afternoon, the front had pushed through, leaving only cloudy skies throughout the remainder of the weekend. We enjoyed our typical Saturday brunch, followed by nap time, cocktails and a supper of grilled lemon chicken, cob corn and Brussels sprouts and artichoke hearts. We then settled in to watch the 2013 UK Arena Tour version of “Jesus Christ Superstar,” which we happened upon by accident while searching for last year’s NBC live version starring John Legend. What a thrilling, energetic, edgy production! We’ve long considered JCS one of the most powerful musicals ever, and this version restored all the ear-splitting heavy metal rock of the original concept album. Ben Forster’s “I Only Want to Say” moved us to tears–and that ain’t easy. If you haven’t seen this version, you owe it to yourself to find it and watch it at full volume. You’re welcome.

Sunday found us relaxed and reflective, surrounded by bird song and the greening of spring. It also found us reading The New York Times, discussing various items of interest, particularly, David Brooks’ essay on “The Moral Peril of Meritocracy.” In it, he discusses failure, and its ability to teach us who we are.

Last year, as a result of a setback at work, Jon found himself thrust into a kind of professional valley. He felt alone and adrift. Until the situation was resolved (some six weeks later), he wandered through a kind of spiritual wilderness, questioning his worth.

While many people are broken by such setbacks, becoming smaller and more afraid, growing more angry and resentful, never fully recovering, Jon was broken open. He realized how lucky he was. He had his health and his husband and his home. He didn’t know where his experience would lead, but he knew he would be transformed by it. He realized his life would not be defined by his success but by his failure…by how he persevered in adversity and dedicated himself to helping others.

In his essay, Brooks addressed and expanded on these themes, providing ample food for thought. A key takeaway: “In the wilderness the desire for esteem is stripped away and bigger desires are made visible: the desires of the heart (to live in loving connection with others) and the desires of the soul (the yearning to serve some transcendent ideal and to be sanctified by that service). When people are broken open in this way, they are more sensitive to the pains and joys of the world.”

Wet weekenders aren’t only about tending to tires or watching the weather. Sometimes they lend themselves to thoughtfulness, introspection, discussion, and revelation.