After 19 years of living in the Mid West, I think I’m beginning to belong.
I have joined the ranks of Minnesotans who say, “If we stayed home at the least little bit of nasty weather, we’d never go anywhere for six months.”
I have survived two horrid driving events in the past month and a half, and I am alive to tell about it, with my untainted driving record still in place.
Lest you think I am bragging, let me hasten to assure you that I know – I KNOW – that God has at least one angel on perpetual “Keep Gretchen Safe While She’s Driving” duty – so it’s not to my credit that I’m alive…it’s to His.
I don’t know why He has chosen to protect me in this way. All I can think is that He must still have some plans that involve me and it’s just not my time yet. Which is fine with me.
Both of these wretched driving situations of the past few weeks have involved freezing rain. Both involved me saying, “What am I, nuts?” as I drove along the highway at speeds less than half of the 65-75 suggested miles per hour. And both found my husband out of town and my kids and I braving the elements together.
And both, I must admit, did not take me out of the house for life or death reasons.
Take last night, for example. The kids and I drove out to our pastor’s house for a book discussion with some other couples from church. I like this chance to talk about interesting stuff, and the kids like the opportunity to play with their friends. I’d seen the weather report, yes. I knew that the rain was beginning to fall as we left the house…but I’m an optimist. I figured, “Either the weather report is exaggerating and this won’t come to anything or I’ll drive home in the freezing rain and put those angels to work.”
Okay, I didn’t really think about the angels. I just hoped for the best and ignored the worst.
When we left their house two hours later I was slightly worried. As we slid on our tennis shoes across the road to our car – holding tight to the little one’s hands – I was a wee bit more worried. As I started up the car, after breaking the ice on the door handles, I was in full “praying mode”.
This was one of those, “Kids, please turn off the radio and don’t talk,” car rides. What usually takes us 13 minutes took us 35. I saw a few semi trucks pulled off the road and I wondered – not for the first time – how truck drivers do what they do.
The temperature was 26 and the rain was relentless. In the dark and the conditions, I managed to make a wrong turn. I forgot to put on the Four Wheel Drive until I was about three miles from home. The ABS brakes kicked in several times.
But, despite it all, we made it home.
When the garage door finally shut behind us, I realized I was shaking.
“I never stopped praying,” Meep, our oldest daughter said.
“I prayed a little,” our son added.
The six year old was asleep.
Yep, she’s a born Minnesotan. “Mom will get us through. What’s a little ice?”
Either that or the angels were singing her a lullaby as they kept our car on the road.