Many of us spent some time traveling during the recent Christmas and New Year’s holiday season. By most standards, the Tollivers stayed fairly close to home. We did make one trip. But we made that one trip twice. That’s what having grandchildren will do for you. They make traveling seem easy … or at least bearable for the first couple of hours? We made that five-hour round trip, two times, each one week apart, to pick up and spend some time with our oldest granddaughter. The first trip was uneventful except for the repetitive, but really fun (?) travel games that a ten-year-old can make up.
The second trip was more interesting. We had been driving for almost four hours. We were on the return side of the round trip to pick up our first-born granddaughter, Jordan. The first half of the front side of the trip had been uneventful. The last half of the front side as well as the first half of the return trip had been in snow and ice. We experienced a couple of close calls sliding slowly toward stop signs and fish-tailing around a curve. But the worst was behind us on the return trip. We had been driving in heavy snow, but now we were out of it, driving on what appeared to be dry roads.
Myra and I and Jordan had actually begun to enjoy the trip to Jefferson City. By the way, I am intentionally not saying where Jordan lives, nor am I revealing the highways we were traveling … and, I am not revealing those facts for reasons that will become obvious later in this article. And, if it seems like I am rambling, that is probably because I am still a little “befuzzled”—that’s a word that Jordan made up in the aftermath of our little “incident.”
The long and short of it is this—in a matter of seconds, on a perfectly straight stretch of road, for no apparent reason other than a short sheet of black ice, we spun around two and one half times and ended up in the ditch. Now there’s more to it than that. And, I hope you will let me give you more details about our auto-acrobatics. But, I’ll give you those details as I share with you some lessons we learned in the whirlwind.
Lesson #1—sometimes life comes at you, fast and furious—be ready. In a matter of seconds, we spun around at least two and a half times … it all happened really fast, but Myra and I agree that we think it was two and one half turns … all on a two lane highway with lines of traffic going in each direction. As the slide began, I felt the rear end of our pick-up truck starting to come around. Just as I started to say something about our predicament, and in the very next moment, the bed of the truck was in the exact spot on the highway where the cab had just been … and we were going backwards, with wheels going forward, at what seemed like a high rate of speed. In another instant, we did another complete spin. Then, almost in slow motion, another half spin and we slammed into the ditch. And, it just took you longer to read that last sentence than it took us to ride through the spin. We were on a leisurely drive across a part of the Show-Me state when life came at us suddenly! Sometimes, life comes at you fast and furious—be ready.
Lesson #2—you cannot always depend on others to help—be patient. When the spin-out occurred, we were in a long line of traffic. We’ll talk, in a moment, about the miracle that no other vehicles were touched in this incident. But, behind us and beside us was a long line of traffic. I wasn’t totally able to see many of those cars and trucks go by when we landed in the ditch. But I have to admit I was somewhat disappointed when the county sheriff’s deputy drove right past us—obviously not a Cole County deputy sheriff … and yes, this is the reason I am not revealing where the accident took place. Perhaps this was a fluke. Could it be that the deputy really did not see the incident? No. Being observant is one of the hallmark characteristics of police officers. I can’t tell you why the deputy didn’t stop. But I will always remember that he drove right past us as the dust was settling on our little flare-up. You cannot always depend on others—be patient.
Lesson #3—you can count on some people to help in time of need—be thankful. At least ten people did stop to offer assistance. And we are thankful for their concern. A couple of them drove past us on the other side of the highway and went to a lot of trouble to turn around and come back to check on us. We are very appreciative of the many people who did not pass on by, but stopped to help. Through this incident, we relearned that there are caring people in the Show-Me state. And when you are in need, there will always be some who will care and who will help—be thankful.
Lesson #4—you can expect God’s intervention just when you need it the most—be faithful. I have to remind you that we spun around at least two and one half times, on a busy two lane road with lines of traffic going in each direction … and no other cars or persons were involved in the accident. That’s a miracle! Our little spin-out easily could have been a multiple-vehicle crash with tragic results. The last time Myra was in a spin-out like the one I have described for you, it ended in a head-on collision. I promise you, she relived that crash during our little adventure last month. As you can imagine, ten-year-old Jordan was shook-up when we finally came to a stop in the ditch. Myra immediately began to calm her, saying “We’re all right, baby. We’re all right. No one is hurt. God was with us. He took care of us. We’re all right.” And, if it sounds like I remember every word she spoke, I do. I will never forget those words. She was right on target. God did intervene. The fact that no one was hurt was nothing short of a miracle of God. Praise Him! And when your need is the greatest, God’s help is the surest—be as faithful to Him as He is to you.