I'm very excited to again this week join a talented group of women who, week after week, join in an online, unedited flash mob free write based on a word-prompt given to us by our fearless leader Kate Motaung. My timer is set for 5 minutes; let's see where the word "safe" takes me.
A few weeks ago, I drove home during a freak ice storm that blew in and, within minutes (literally), had interstate traffic at a standstill and me taking curvy, hilly backroads to get home. I had no idea where I was most of the time -- I just did what my iPhone gps told me to do.
Normally, the same trip takes 2 1/2 hours; that day (and night) it took 10.
Most of the drive, I was puttering along at speeds of 10-15 mph; along the way, I saw vehicles in ditches and ravines, multi-car accidents, and vehicles parked along the side of the road.
As dusk approached, visibility worsened. I considered pulling onto a side road or driveway but I was afraid to pull into someone's driveway, I worried that they would come home only to find their driveway blocked. The side roads were narrower than the one I was on, so I rejected that option.
I drove on and on and on.
And I prayed. Mostly aloud.
Some desperate pleas, but mostly simple "just get me up this hill or through this curvy spot, Lord" and "thank You for getting me through that one" prayers.
I didn't feel safe. Not a bit.
But I just kept chugging along. 8 or 9 or 10 miles an hour. Until I came upon a multi-car accident at the intersection at which I need to take an on-ramp to a 2-lane-each-way divided state highway. Unfortunately, my exit was on the other side of the accident; fortunately, the road I was on for the first time level and had a shoulder, and I was able to pull completely off the road and stop for the first time in over 6 hours.
After being immobile almost an hour, the accident was cleared, the ambulances and tow trucks gone, leaving only 2 cars so deep in ravines they couldn't be retrieved in those conditions and the sheriffs deputies and highway patrolmen, who come over to my car, wished me safe travel, and told me I could proceed.
I got home. Finally.
I didn't feel safe the entire drive. Not until I was 10 miles from my house and there was no ice covering my road did I think the worst was behind me.
I've thought of that drive more than a few times in the weeks since, and at first I questioned why I kept going, even when the risk was so high.
I thought back over my life, and I saw a pattern. In difficult times, and in the times I've been placed in unsafe conditions, I've always done the same things.
I've prayed, I've hunkered down, and I've kept going.
So far, that strategy has served me well.
I hope I won't have to resort to that 3-pronged strategy again, but I'm sure I will. Life is full of danger -- physical, emotional, relational, and spiritual.
But I'm never alone.