If you’ve driven Interstate 85 on a section of road where the traffic merges from four lanes to threw lanes, you know that’s it’s the section where a lot of wrecks happen.
Traffic goes into a bottleneck and it’s a slow commute for everyone. Tonight, I waited for the traffic to dissipate before heading home for the weekend. Sure enough, at the bottleneck, there was an accident and as I passed it, began to accelerate, my car stopped accelerating. . Like it went into a lowered gear, but would not go faster… I changed to the right lane… Then to the shoulder and slowly inched to a wider section of shoulder near an exit ramp. And… Near where I get my car serviced. I just had the oil changed last week. They said everything looked fine. I’m up to date on my maintenance schedule, but why was the car rough idling and flashing dash lights?
Cars and tractor-trailers sped by me at 65 miles per hour and I called the dealership (where I get it serviced) because I was one mile away. The service department called the towing company and the service manager said they’d look at the car tomorrow..
Scared and panicked, I yelled, “tomorrow? How in the h#!! am I supposed to get home? I live 30 miles from here!” My rational mind was not working. I was sitting on the side of a major highway, alone, in 95 degree heat and suddenly, I was upset that something is wrong with my mode of transportation when it shouldn’t be.
Mr. F. kept his composure when I did not. He assured me that they would do something. I was so upset, a tear slid down my cheek.. Not 5 minutes earlier, I was listening to an audio book titled “The Last Good Man” and looking forward to mowing grass when I got home. And here I was stuck in a car that sputtered and shook and then stopped. Lights lit up on my dash that I’d never seen, in places they’d never been.
I hung up with the patient service manager and called my husband, 30 miles away. With trembling voice, I told him that I was waiting for a tow truck and would try to get a rental car. Or I’d call someone local to ask for a ride. He asked, “you’re okay? Don’t cry about it. I’ll be there to pick you up.”
This thought hadn’t even occurred to me. I didn’t want to impose on him to drive 30 miles each way. He asked “why wouldn’t I pick you up?”
We celebrated our 11th wedding anniversary over the weekend and I’m still as stubborn as ever and don’t want to ask for help.
So, there I stood, on an embankment of the interstate, watching cars go by, waiting. Knees shaking and I sent a text to my brother. He made me laugh saying, “the next hour will go by quickly if you count cars”. At least there was a breeze from the speeding cars.
A bearded, rough looking man on a motorcycle pulled up next to me and asked “ma’am, are you okay? I’m heading to the house and wanted to see if I could do anything.”
Cars honked, a few truckers hit their jake-brakes and pointed a knowing finger to me.
A local cop stopped and asked how long I’d been standing here. He saw me pull over and had to respond to another wreck and had enough time to check on me. He said he’d stay with me until the wrecker arrived since I was all alone. To my shock, it had been an hour. I thought about playing ‘Candy Crush’ or ‘Words with Friends’. Instead, I pressed the icon for my Bible app and the verse of the day appeared:
Acts of the Apostles 1:8 CEB
Rather, you will receive power when the Holy Spirit has come upon you, and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, in all Judea and Samaria, and to the end of the earth.”
Nothing about angels or wings of protection… But something more. The reminder the God gives us peace in a storm sitting in the middle of a busy interstate. And keeps us safe by sending kind people to check on us. And to remind us that we’re not alone. Sure, scholars may say this verse is about something else… But for me, it was powerful and peaceful at the same time.
The tow truck driver appeared about 2 minutes later. He loaded my car on the rollback and I rode with him to deliver my car. My husband arrived at the same time and I apologized profusely to the service manager who stayed after his shift ended to wait on me.
Hours later, now, I’m calm. I’m okay. I’m safe. I know lots of people in the area where I was stuck who could have given me a ride home if I’d needed it. In fact, there was a service tech willing to drive me home if necessary.
Sometime tomorrow, I’ll receive a call from this same man who witnessed me yelling, crying and apologizing within a 30 minute window, and tomorrow, he will tell me the diagnosis for my car. I’ll probably apologize again for yelling at him in my moment of fear, lashing out like a frightened animal.
Oh, that just reminded me… I left the cat’s food in the trunk of the car. .. I’ll get that tomorrow too. Tonight, I’ll rest in our bed, and thank the good Lord for my guardian angels who guided my car safely off the highway, on to a wide shoulder and stood with me in my time of fear. Maybe that’s why the officer thought there was someone else with me. Maybe, he saw my angels before I did.