My wipers could not keep up with the fierce force of the blowing snow surrounding me.
Twenty plus years ago, I traveled to my hometown in Michigan from Chicago, where I was living. The familiar path involved driving mostly expressway straight from point A to point B. Not too complicated, right?
Unless, it’s winter. Anyone familiar with the 80/94 stretch that leads to southwestern Michigan can attest to the paradox of it’s dangerous beauty.
Though the snow often lays a beautiful blanket upon the ground and draping the tree branches, it can become a dangerous force when combined with a harsh lake-effect wind. One could argue that avoiding the danger would be the best course of action. However, when you live in this region, it becomes a familiar presence. One that is best confronted by learning to navigate through it carefully rather than letting fear keep you stuck. Life always involves risks.
So on this particular evening, I focused on trying to stay on the road. That would eventually lead to refuge. But the whiteout conditions and the increasing darkness caused by the lack of cars on the road caused my heart to race.
How will I make it home?
And then it happened. Without warning, my car veered off the expressway and into the ditch. The absence of road markings had made it impossible to see where the side of the road ended. Suddenly, my small red CRX was tilted downward; pressed into the snow. And for a moment, fear began to take root in my head and my heart.
I had no cell phone. Truthfully, no one did then. So I prayed. And I waited. Wondering how long I would stay stuck. Would I be rescued?
And then it happened. Two young men appeared out of nowhere.
“Can we help get you back on the road?,” they asked. Without hesitation, I let them in to my car.
Life always involves risks. For all of us.
Instantly, they initiated some “magical” force on the pedal and propelled my car onto the mostly abandoned road. And disappeared.
Would I have done the same?
Fear has a way of keeping us stuck.
But the good Samaritan refused to let it’s force paralyze. He recognized that abundant life leads to risks. Life giving risks; sometimes taking physical life in the process. But letting fear dictate our steps will always lead to “death.”
I don’t want to remain stuck. So I will grab onto every thread of God’s mercies to propel me forward on the road. And pray that my eyes and heart remain open to propel others as well.
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