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Saturday, July 28, 2007

Feeling Old, Vulnerable, & Very Grateful

You know how older folks often talk about young folks (teenagers usually) and how they seem to believe that "it will NEVER happen to them," therefore they do some of the craziest things. Well, today I feel like a teenager with a wake-up call.

I had the opportunity this week to attend Church Music Georgia 2007, sponsored by the Georgia Baptist Convention Music and Worship Department. It was very good. I especially enjoyed the sessions with Dr. Bill Green. I also had the opportunity to stay with my Uncle Billy and Aunt Tootsie overnight - thank you so much!!

On the way home today, I had to stop by my new church (sorry I haven't blogged about this, but I start at First Baptist Church, Jefferson, GA this coming Wednesday, August 1 - a very special day for those in the know) to pull some anthems to begin preparation for my first rehearsal with them. OK, if you don't know, it's my B-day - happy, happy! I have wondered today if I was going to make it. Anyway, I digress ...

Well, when I left the church, I came through Commerce and got on the Interstate. As I traveled, the rain got heavier and heavier - so heavy in fact, that I actually thought it prudent to begin to slow down. Obviously not soon enough ...

I hit some heavy water on a bridge and the car started going in a direction I hadn't intended. Up until now, I actually thought I was a pretty good driver. I did think to start trying to turn the steering wheel in the opposite direction, but my car and the water on the road had some strange ideas. First, I saw the guardrail on the right beginning to move closer to the car, then we suddenly shifted away, and I think I was looking back down the road I had just been out of my side window, then the median showed up and my car just headed down in the ditch and up the otherside toward the rails shielding the on-coming traffic. Of course, the car by this time was now facing in the opposite direction from which it had started, and just as the rail was looming up ... the car stopped.

The engine was still running, the lights were still on, the windshield wipers were still flapping their merry little tune, and the rain was pouring down.

And, I sat there.

OK, the airbags didn't deploy. No other cars were involved. I hadn't flipped like the vehicle we had seen a few months back (see prevous blog - God's Timing). I thought to turn the engine off. I knew I needed to get out and check for damage, but I sure didn't want to get out in that rain.

And what had been going through my mind? No, I don't believe I thought of imminent death. I thought "this is my best car" and "I wonder if the new tires are ruined" and "I thought I could drive better than that!"

So what did I do? I called Donna (of course, she decided that I needed her to come be with me) and then I called 911 (I supposed I needed a report in case there was any damage to the car). I did, finally, grab the umbrella in the car (of course, it was a small one) and get out to examine the exterior of the car. It actually looked fine. No apparent damage to the body and the tires were still intact and inflated - minus one screw-on valve stem cap. So ... the very wet me got back in the car to wait - for the sheriff and for Donna.

Well, the deputy finally arrived and make a visual inspection (very much like mine and with the same results). When he asked about a tow, I suggested - I had already thought about it, but decided I should stay put for the report - that I first trying driving out, if the car was driveable. It was and I had no problem going back through the ditch and with a little assistance watching for on-coming traffic, I was able to turn around and head back up the road.

I did begin "to hear" sounds so I did stop a couple of times to check them out, but didn't see anything out of the ordinary. I will have to make some decision about having it checked out for damage I couldn't see, but that's not for today. And, I did make it home. Donna also finally caught up with me at home.

So, now, let's review. I survived. The car survived and still looks good except for all the extra grass. I didn't flip - excellent. I didn't hit any of the impending guardrails - also excellent. There were no other cars involved - hallelujah - in fact, not one even stopped to check on me. The car was still driveable. I learned a very valuable lesson or two (or three).

So, now I feel older (even before B-day arrives) and I feel more vulnerable and ...

I feel very, very grateful. Whether there were angels pushing/pulling my car away from guardrails, holding off other traffic, holding the top to keep it from flipping, or if it was just God's gracious hand of mercy in a situation that could have been much more tragic, I am very grateful for the goodness He showed to me.

Thanks be to God for His matchless riches of mercy and grace to me!!