Twice a year, I drive from Houston to Wichita, Kansas to spend time with my brothers and their families. Predictably, these two times are Thanksgiving and Christmas, with our school vacations for the two coming only weeks apart. It's a ten hour drive each way and to escape the sometimes horrific early morning Houston traffic, I've taken to leaving in the neighborhood of 4-4:30 AM. There really is no terrific time to return to Houston unless I plan on arriving home in the middle of the night so I've fallen into the habit of early departures from Kansas as well. The funny thing, the time keeps getting earlier and earlier. Last Thursday, I backed out of Dave and Sally's driveway at 1:12 AM. I just can't sleep when I know I am going home. When I drive to Wichita, I have no set schedule for days but when I return to Texas, I almost immediately return to work and so I have stuff to do- groceries, pay bills, laundry, etc. I get antsy, even in the sleep mode. The best thing about leaving when I do is that I-35 is basically deserted, but of course, not totally. That brings me to the very early hours several weeks ago, the AM after Black Friday.
I tip toed out of Dave and Sally's before 2 AM- they still had a good number of other guests scattered throughout the house. It was foggy but otherwise, it was a good night to be on the road. At least, it was for the first couple of hours As I neared the exits to Ardmore, Oklahoma, about 3 3/4 hours from Wichita, I looked up and saw a car stopped on the shoulder with the bumper sticking out into the right lane. On top of that, a man was walking around the back and, as I recall, about to also be in my lane. I jerked my car into the left hand lane and fishtailed, in great danger of flipping over. It took me several seconds to regain control and I was shaking. My guess is that is the closest I've been to death in years, at least as far as I know. What the other driver did was incredibly foolish. Fortunately, I was driving a little bit under the 70 MPH speed limit or it might have been catastrophic for both of us.... and there might have been someone else in his car as well. We'll never know.
So, four nights ago, I retraced my route. The conditions were practically the same, minus the fog. The drive was uneventful until I neared Ardmore. Then, I became very cautious and even more alert. I wasn't nervous but I focused more on driving and being aware of my surroundings. Of course, there was no problem. I was in no more danger than along any other stretch of the 630 mile drive. In fact, I would guess I have driven over that patch of concrete where, I believe, I escaped death at least thirty times throughout the years. But if something happened on this latest journey, it wouldn't be because I wasn't paying attention.
I wish I was that cautious in other aspects of my life and not just on isolated occasions. We all know points of peril in our existence. It might be a co-worker or a place where we are tempted or fatigue. It might simply be spending too much time on the laptop! The scriptures are full of warnings about the dangers of sin. We are also told there are ways to safeguard our souls. Peter says we should be sober minded and alert and he and James both say to resist the devil. That's hard to do if we are snoozing through the warning sirens of our conscience. Sometimes our path is clear and sometimes it's on the foggy side. Here's the bright side. There is one light always shining through to steer us away from our baser instincts..... even in the middle of the night in Oklahoma.
Applicable quote of the day:
He who fears dangers will not perish by them.
LEONARDO DA VINCI
LEONARDO DA VINCI
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