A Traveler’s Nightmare

What is your worst hotel experience?

Mine occurred over Labor Day weekend during graduate school. On a whim, my friend and I traveled to Laredo to do some serious shopping before classes started the following Wednesday. We drove from Austin and arrived about midnight … without reservations for lodging.

Did you know that half of Texas travels to Laredo for 3-day holiday weekends? They must because the next 20+ hotels we spotted either flashed “No Vacancy” or housed droopy-eyed desk clerks who greeted us with a dispassionate, “Sorry, No room. We’re full.”

An hour later, as we trudged toward the exit of yet another filled hotel, the clerk offered a glimmer of hope. “Try one block behind us. He may have something.”

We followed the clerk’s directions to the motel. Arriving, we didn’t even care that it’s rundown appearance made it look like the Bates Motel in Psycho.  We registered for the last room.

It’s door opened to a musty smell and two mini-twin beds jammed against opposing walls. Dingy sheets and lumpy pillows adorned each mattress. A single light bulb hung from the ceiling and cast shadows off yellowing wallpaper. Tattered curtains separated the sleeping area from the bathroom. Accommodations included a 2’x2′ shower, a toilet with no lid, a wall-hung sink and a 1’x1′ mirror losing its glazing. Hair and make-up are not going to look pretty tomorrow, I mused. 

My friend and I stared around the room, silently running through our options. She glanced at her watch. 1:30 AM.  Reaching the same conclusion at the same time, we sighed in unison and dropped our bags on the floor.

I think about that ill-fated trip around Christmas holidays. Just like no one had room for us, no innkeeper had room for Mary and Joseph. How many missed entertaining the Christ child because they were already filled up? Brimming over with guests and activity and no room for anyone else.

Then I wonder, What about me? Am I like the innkeeper? Am I so occupied with busyness that I can’t make room for Jesus? Am I so full of thoughts about trivial things that I miss entertaining Christ? Do I relegate him to a stable and lowly manger in a corner of my mind? Christmastime is one of those seasons I try to step back, re-evaluate priorities, and shed meaningless worries or activities. I try to purge the clutter and make more room for God and His voice.  It’s time to reserve for Him the “suite” spot of my life.

While they were there [Mary and Joseph], the time came for the baby to be born, and she gave birth to her firstborn, a son. She wrapped him in cloths and placed him in a manger, because there was no room for them in the inn. (Luke 2:6-7, NIV).


About Gloria Ashby

I'm a writer, speaker and teacher. I live with my husband in the DFW area, and close to our daughter and her family.
This entry was posted in Christmas stories and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to A Traveler’s Nightmare

  1. Dawn Brewer says:

    I so enjoy reading your blog. It consistently makes me smile as I so frequenly relate to your experiences. Thank you for sharing and consistently reminding us of the greatest of God.

    You’re a blessing. Thanks!
    Dawn B.

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