Thursday, March 10, 2011


When I was growing up in Minnesota, I did not understand the picture books that depicted the month of March as a green, windy month with lots of kites in the air. I guess I assumed it was symbolism or something. February was red hearts, and March was kites. Whatever. In Minnesota we had snow into June, on the north side of the house. I remember how one spring I was "saving" a patch of long-lasting snow in the shade under the evergreen bush by the bricks on the north, and one day in June my dad came by with a shovel, chopped up my snow and spread it out.

"Hey!" I said, "I was saving that. Now it's going to melt."

"Good," said my dad. At the time I was consternated, but now I completely identify with him.

We had a blizzard here on the first Sunday in March. By the providence of God, Shannon had elected to leave Dartmouth a day early (she was visiting their graduate school, and I went along for the drive because, you know, I just can't get enough of driving and riding in the car on the New York State thruway). Anyway, we drove home on Saturday in weather that was only slightly rainy, and on Sunday I sat in my house drinking hot tea with cream, looking out the window and thanking God that we were safely home and did not have to be out on the road in that weather.

Actually, we did venture out to go to church, and Shawn very nearly rear-ended a snowplow on our way home (you'd think the road would be in good shape directly behind a snowplow, but no, the plow had its blade up, and it was saving its salt for after the next turn). I prayed out loud. Shawn steered onto the shoulder. The car slowed to a halt just inches from the snowplow blade, which was sticking out into the shoulder in front of us.

That is the second time in my life that I prayed out loud to God for safety during an out-of-control road situation involving snow and ice. The other time was a number of years ago. We were driving to Minnesota, for Thanksgiving I think (but it might have been Christmas). It was snowing hard. We were on the long stretch of I90 that runs along lake Erie between Buffalo and the PA border. Snow fell heavily, and the road was getting iffy. Traffic was light, but there were a few cars around us. Shawn drove with a tense grip on the wheel, his jaw thrust forward. He always drives, because I am not much of a driver. Sometimes I spell him if the weather is perfect and the traffic conditions are light. Sometimes.

But he was driving, holding the road, and he said, "It's getting kind of slippery." Just then a car about one hundred yards in front of us (OK that is a totally baseless estimate, but maybe you get the idea) skidded out of control. The car to the left of it swerved to avoid it.

Our kids said, "Wow! Look at that car spinning around!"

Shawn said, "Oh no," and probably tried to figure out how he would maneuver around a pile-up after it happened.

I watched in horror as cars ahead of us splayed from their lanes while the car-out-of-control turned a figure-eight. Unconsciously, I put my right hand in the air, palm towards the windshield and shouted, "Dear Lord God, please help that man get his car under control!" As the words fell from my mouth, the car finished its figure-eight facing forward and swooped off the road on the right hand side, clipping a mile-marker which slowed it down. It was resting calmly beyond the shoulder by the time we passed, and the other cars resumed their positions in their lanes. There was not a single accident.

My kids were stunned by the power of God. One of them said, "Wow, Mom." But mostly they were speechless. Shawn started breathing again. We all had a very strong feeling that we had just witnessed a miracle.

God is good. He may not have gifted me with great driving skills, but He taught me how to pray and He answers me when I do (not always the way I am hoping, but that day He poured clear grace and mercy all over a bunch of us).

Ahem. I was talking about March. It is pouring rain tonight, and the wind is howling. Here in New York, March is a little more like the picture books. Anyhow, it's windy. Very windy. Speaking of which, I probably ought to bring in the wreath on my front door. It isn't trimmed in red, so I thought I could get by with leaving it up indefinitely, but here in New York if you don't take your wreath down by March, it's liable to blow away. Wind puts you in mind of kites, but our March wind would probably shred a kite into dental floss.

Some year I'd like to experience the seasons in Roanoke. I think Roanoke sounds just about perfect.


Ruth MacC said...

I think praying out loud under extreme circumstances must be a sign that you are in prayer pretty often Ruth :0)
Mum died today. Thanks very much for your prayers. Will you please pass my thanks on to whoever prayed for her and me/my family?

God continue to bless.


Ruth MacC said...

Happy St Patrick's Day Ruth :0)