(Photo©Father Lawrence Lew, O.P. Used With Permission)

Worth Revisiting - Is This The End?

Thank you Allison Gingras  (Reconciled To You) and Elizabeth Riordan (Theology Is A Verb) for another opportunity to re-publish our favorite posts on Worth Revisiting.

Stop for a visit now (and every Wednesday). The gifted writers who post there each week will no doubt have much of value to offer you.
[I decided to share an excerpt from my book,  Fleeting Glimpses of the Silly, Sentimental and Sublime.]  

Is This The End?

Neither my wife nor I had ever driven across country. We were excited to do so since the prize awaiting us in Denver was an extended visit with our daughter Tammy and her husband. We planned a leisurely trip with no set schedule, driving as far or as little as we cared to do on any particular day. We gave no thought to weather conditions along our planned route, assuming the high blue sky and feather like clouds that had been with us from the outset of our journey would accompany us throughout our trip. 

(Image source: Wikimedia Commons)

We drove past blighted inner cities, congested and traffic logged interchanges in and about Chicago, and the unending miles of corn fields and irrigated farmland that would stretch before and around us as we traveled through Iowa and Nebraska. I must admit that I enjoyed driving at 85 miles an hour, amused and perplexed however that everyone was passing me.

We spent two relaxing days in Des Moines, Iowa to break up the trip and give my ailing back a break.  Refreshed, we headed west anxious to see and experience the steep and majestic Rocky Mountains in Colorado. We almost didn’t make it.

Somewhere between Des Moines and Omaha, Nebraska, realizing I had forgotten to fill up the tank, I took the first exit that displayed a gas station sign. Little did I know then that in many parts of Nebraska, gas stations are miles and miles off the exit – in this case 26 miles to be exact.  Fortunately we made it, filled up, drove back to the four lane interstate racetrack we had previously exited and resumed our journey. There was a steady flow of traffic in our two westbound lanes, both behind and in front of us.  It wasn’t long before I was back at 85 mph and marveling again at all those who flew past us.

Just minutes later, without any warning, the blue sky was swallowed up by instant darkness. Vicious streams of rain poured down upon us, accompanied by vile and strong winds.

Even with the windshield wipers working at full speed, I had great difficulty seeing more than a few feet in front of me. I was going too fast at the time to safely pull off on the shoulder.  I began to slow down so that I would be able to do so.  Within seconds we were surrounded by an impenetrable brown cloud and a wind that began pushing our vehicle as it pleased. I could see nothing. I did not know what lane I was in, or whether the road ahead of me was straight or curved. I had no idea how close I might be to any vehicle in front of me and or how anyone approaching us from the rear would ever be able to avoid hitting us. 

The fear in my eyes only added to the terror evidenced on my wife’s face. I told Lonnie I loved her; she expressed her love for me.  We both prayed that God would be merciful to us, as I slowly inched the car toward what I hoped would be the shoulder of the road.  I had no way of knowing where I was.

The minute I silently accepted our impending deaths, I received an unmistakable, non-verbal, internal prompting to stop the car. It made no sense! But I did as I was prompted.

The wind picked up, our car began to rock from side to side. We were sure the force of the wind would flip us upside down.  An eerie indescribable noise surrounded our vehicle. A vise grip could not have held Lonnie and me any closer than we were. Her finger nails dug deeply into my arm and shoulders. Tears were flowing from her frightened eyes; my heart almost jumped out of my chest.

As quickly as this nightmare began, it ended. The wind was no more. The brown fog lifted. Where once there was the sound of impending death, now there was a deafening silence of absolute stillness.  We were alive! We gave thanks to God and kissed each other like it was our very first time.

I looked out the window, now able to clearly see all around me. I couldn’t believe my eyes. For reasons known only to Him, God had safely placed our vehicle on the shoulder of an exit ramp, just feet from a nearly empty parking area!

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