This year as part of our Christmas break adventures, we decided to take a road trip to Atlanta to visit some family. We left on Saturday afternoon and planned a stop for the night at a halfway point between Dallas and Atlanta. After a quick stop in Shreveport, my husband and I switched places, putting me at the driver’s seat.
About 5 miles outside of our planned stop, I glanced down at the GPS to verify my exit. When I looked back up, for a split second, it looked like a box was in my driving path. I had no time to react and just hit it, realizing a split second later that I had seen an antler fly over my windshield. I panicked, taking both hands off the steering wheel and started screaming “What did I just hit?!” My husband very calmly told me that I had hit a deer and directed me to pull over to the shoulder.
I made it to the shoulder of I20 with my dashboard lighting up like a Christmas tree. My husband tried to get out on the passenger side and realized that he was unable to open his door. We had hit the deer and then run over it. We switched places and he went out to survey the damage. He came back and told me that our SUV was not drivable and we needed to call a tow truck. We were close to a major city but still looked like we were in the middle of no where. We agreed to drive the car to the next major exit and stop somewhere that was better lit.
I called a tow truck company who came within 15 minutes. I called for a cab that came within 20 minutes. Within the hour, we were at our hotel, car-less but together and safe. We were both in disbelief at what had just happened but grateful that we were all okay. We started to make calls to our insurance company and family to let them know what happened. The kids took out some games that they had packed and started to play. They both knew what had happened but had no understanding of why we were making so many phone calls.
Later that evening as we were going to bed, my husband said “You know, we didn’t pray when we left our stop in Shreveport.” I told him that I had prayed before we left, knowing that I would be driving in the dark and through some pretty desolate areas. I sure did pray! But it still happened!
In John 16:33, Jesus tells his disciples, point blank, you will have problems- “33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” Sometimes those problems come with antlers…
Sometimes bad things happen in spite of our prayers- not because we did anything wrong, but sometimes just because. He also pointed out to me that we needed to take the attitude that our kids had- they knew that everything would work out because their parents were handling it. He encouraged me that our Father would be handling this and we didn’t need to worry about the outcome.
We rented a car and finished our trip. We had a great time with our family. There were lots of laughs- mostly at my expense! As we started our journey home, we got word that our car was going to be totaled. We were both incredibly disappointed but we both knew that it could have been much worse. We were grateful that we were all okay, and it seemed as though the SUV had absorbed the impact. I was reminded of a previous post by Binu Samuel where she talked about her son learning to play the piano– how the white keys sounded too simple and the black keys too flat or sharp but when played together, they made beautiful music. We have both sets of keys in our lives, and I would be remiss if I didn’t notice them along our way–like how every time we hit a bump in the road my daughter would ask me if we had hit it another deer, or the Cowboys fan who high- fived me at the gas station in Mississippi and told me that she had already bought her Super Bowl ticket because she knew that the Cowboys would make it, or lady who gave me free drinks and food at our lunch stop, or the barista at Starbucks who told me that my drink was on him. White keys mixed in with my black ones. ~Shiney