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Day 149 ~ Grace
WHAT: Personal, Project 365 (2009)   |   WHEN: May 26, 2009
Rarely in our lives do we experience things that truly cause us to consider our own mortality. Thankfully. We think to ourselves that we're invincible and 'that won't happen to me.' We all know that - in the big picture - we are only here for a short period of time, but we preoccupy our minds with busy-ness and the happenings of life to the point that we forget to slow down and take a look around and enjoy the very life we've been given. Today was a reminder.

Kylie and I were driving back from a wonderful weekend trip to Nashville to attend Kylie's cousin's wedding and to visit with her family & friends, talking about something so every day that I don't even remember the specifics. I think it was something about when and where we were going to stop for lunch in a couple of hours. We had just stopped at a gas station a few miles back, earlier than we normally would have in the trip, but we needed a quick bathroom break, and we seemingly inconsequently changed driving duties before we got back on the road. Kylie was driving, and I was sitting in the passenger seat checking email and Facebook on my iPhone. We were just settling in for another leg on the road before our next stop.

It had just started to rain as we crossed under an overpass on I-40 W going around 70mph (the speed limit) on our way to Memphis when we hit an apparent slick spot on the highway and started to slide. It's one of those sickening moments that you comprehend in a fraction of a second, knowing that something bad is about to happen, and there's not much you can do about it. We started to spin around and caught a glimpse of the cars that - just a second ago - were in our rearview mirror. We continued spinning. In that very moment, my life didn't flash before my eyes or anything like that. I distinctly remember feeling terrified, completely helpless, and thinking with absolute clarity We're going to roll or hit something any moment. This is bad. This might be my time to die. I'm not exaggerating for effect; that's what I was thinking. It's also at this point that I'm sure I was making a noise never heard by mankind before.

More spinning and then I remember seeing mud fly up. We're in the grass! This is good because the grass median between the highway lanes heading different directions is pretty wide. It feels like we're getting ready to roll. How have we not rolled yet?! Hold on! I whipped my head around to see through the back window that we were now headed towards the oncoming traffic lanes. My fear of rolling now turned to a fear of getting hit by another vehicle. Things started to slow down. We had stopped spinning, but the car had stalled out during the spin and we were coasting to a slow descent in front of two trucks followed closely by 2 semis coming right at us on the other side of the highway. They had to have seen us sliding and spinning through the grass and coming their way and started braking. They were able to slow down to almost a complete stop as we finally came to rest on the opposite shoulder.

It was over as quickly as it started, and only by the complete grace of God did we come out physically unscathed. A couple seconds later as the gravity of what just happened sank in, the emotion overcame Kylie and I and we hugged and had a "Thank you, Jesus" moment. We took a few minutes to assess everything, restarted the car, and pulled off onto the closest exit. Kylie was understandably shaken, so we changed seats and I got in the driver's seat. We drove for a few moments in relative silence as I think both of us were reflecting on the incident.

The hand of God was obvious to both of us in this incident. I have no doubt that if I was driving things would've been potentially much worse because where Kylie basically took her hands off the wheel as soon as we started spinning and didn't fight it, I don't think I would've had the wherewithal to do that and, in fact, I'm sure I would've tried to steer out of the spin and over-corrected. Stopping to go to the bathroom early in the trip (something we don't normally do) caused us to change seats. Also, the grass median where we had the spin out was wider than usual and without and trees, signs, or restraining walls intended to - oddly enough - prevent cars from crossing into on-coming traffic. I'm certain if any of those things would've been present - like they were in so many places over the course of the rest of the trip - the results would've been more grim. The fact that we didn't roll while spinning 3 times at 70mph is still a miracle to me. God was working in this situation.

Before we got back on the road, I found my camera in the back seat and took a photo of the car and our path between highway lanes.

God smiled on us today, and we got the message. Life is so very fragile and can be gone in an instant. I know it sounds cliché, but don't take every day for granted thinking you've got 'plenty of time'. Don't let their be any questions with friends and family that you love them.

Slow down. Take a look around. Enjoy the life you've been given today.

Oddly enough, we felt this ranch gate entrance further on down the road in our trip was the Big Guy upstairs showing he's got a sense of humor.


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