Life comes into perspective with a close call on a rain swept highway
It was cold, windy, and raining like crazy, but we had tickets for a play in downtown Atlanta and reservations at a fabulous French restaurant. It was going to be a memorable Sunday afternoon for all the girls in my Atlanta family. We didn’t want to drive or try to find a parking place in pouring down rain, so four of us took Uber to be dropped off at the front door.
I sat in the front, the other three sat in the back. Of course it’s only natural that I engage in conversation with any of my Uber drivers. I love to ask about their family, what they enjoy doing, how long they’ve been driving for Uber – anything that helps reveal more about who they are. Everyone has a story and I’ve heard some interesting tales and heartwarming sagas over the course of my travels.
Harold was his name, he was probably in his sixties, divorced with grown children and grandchildren, former military, and a retired Greyhound bus driver. When we all expressed our concern about driving in a hard rain in four lanes of traffic on the freeway, he assured us in a calm voice that he had learned how to drive in all kinds of weather and emergency situations with his Greyhound training. Knowing that, I felt somewhat relieved.
About half way to Atlanta, the rain had gotten worst and the windshield wipers couldn’t seem to move fast enough. We were in the middle lane when a small, low, two-door sports car passed us on the left going much too fast. The driver hit a pocket of water at high speed, swerved into the HOV lane, hit the cement barrier, jig-jagged over into our lane and the lane on our right and then did a tailspin in front of us. We saw it unfold right before our eyes in panoramic view, not knowing if we were going to hit the car or the car was going to hit us. I could do nothing but pray.
I reached over and grabbed Harold’s arm with one hand and braced myself with the other hand on the door. I didn’t panic, but watched helplessly, only repeating Harold’s name several times. Harold said nothing. He calmly began to break slowly in intervals, rather than slam on the brakes as I would have done. His eyes quickly checked the rear-view mirror and both side mirrors. Because of the rain, traffic behind us was slower, with enough distance behind our car to brake and pull off the freeway once they saw what was happening.
We swerved slightly into the right lane, missing the sports car, then came to a complete stop that seemed inches away from the car’s fender. Only by God’s grace and mercy did we avoid what could have been a deadly accident for all of us. I truly believe Harold was our angel of protection behind the wheel.
We arrived at the restaurant and the play on time, still shaken from our experience, but enjoying every minute. It turned out to definitely be a “memorable” afternoon.
I always try to reflect on what I’ve learned from a life experience, whether it’s good or bad. God teaches me something in any or all circumstances, if I just take the time to let Him reveal it.
As the New Year begins, most of us will face circumstances beyond our control at one time or another. It’s a part of life. It’s how we learn to cope and how we learn a lot about ourselves. Sometimes we grow stronger and wiser from our experiences, other times it can cripple us emotionally or physically. Sometimes we don’t have a choice.
Here are some of the things I was reminded of on the freeway that Sunday afternoon. I hope they will encourage you and bring you hope for 2020. . .
The unexpected will happen
As much as we try to do everything right and everything possible to avoid a situation, we can be blindsided by the unexpected. So buckle up and know you are never alone. God will not leave you – ever. His presence accompanies you when the unexpected happens.
Take a deep breath
You may or may not see a situation coming, but don’t forget to breath! Taking a deep breath gave me a little extra dose of oxygen I needed to think as I tried to wrap my head around what was happening.
When you see it coming, pray
Breathing and praying go hand in hand. As I took a deep breath, I prayed. I was totally helpless when I saw the driver of the other car completely lose control. There was absolutely nothing I could do, but pray. I knew we were in God’s hands, regardless of the outcome. I knew that before we got in the car and before any crisis I face. Knowing that I am always in God’s hands is embedded in my soul.
It’s not always easy, especially when it’s life threatening or life changing. You may not feel calm inside, but remember that being calm in a tough situation will help to calm your family, children, or friends.
Reach out for support
I remember grabbing Harold’s arm for support. Thankfully it didn’t distract him, but it somehow gave me the comfort I needed in the moment. One of life’s greatest blessings is having someone next to you to share the good times and walk with you through the hard times.
Sometimes it’s a spouse, a family member, a friend, or even a stranger, like Harold. Maybe someone is reaching out for your support right now.
When you don’t know what lies ahead, trust
We can plan, dream, and hope for the best in the new year. Yet, none of us knows what lies ahead in 2020. But, this much I do know – I know my Savior. I trust Him in all things. Do you?
My hope is from Him. He only is my rock and my salvation, my stronghold; I shall not be shaken. Psalm 62:5-6
Trust in Him at all times… Pour out your heart before Him; God is a refuge for us. Psalm 62:8