I love making my bed. Pure white antique chenille complete with my cheerful yellow pillows. Sometimes, when I’m finished, I wish it was appropriate to take a picture of it and post it on Instagram, its so pretty.
I pulled the sheets taut and smoothed out the wrinkles. The comforting purr of a car coming down the road in the rain reached my ear.
A mighty crack like a shotgun and I heard muffled bumps. Then silence. No car anymore.
I knew something was dreadfully wrong. I dropped the coverlet and left my room. On the way down the hall, I knocked on the bathroom door.
“Abby, come outside, something happened.”
I walked out the front door and as I did a wail reached my ears.
I started running down our sidewalk.
“Are you ok?!” I called back, panic gripping my heart. It was like I was transported to the swimming hole again, on that horrible day. I tried not to think that way but to instead remain calm. Whatever is beyond these bushes, panic will not help them.
“Oh God, why?!!!!” came another wail.
I rounded the corner and in the center of the road stood a skinny blonde twenty-something boy, blood just beginning to drip down his legs. Behind him, the trunk of a blue ford focus peeked over the edge of the bank.
Our driveway comes out on a curve. The edge of the curve is a pretty steep incline down into the woods. His car was completely off the road and had taken the road signs with it.
“Are you ok?!” I repeated, looking to the car, hoping against hope no one was in it.
“I’m fine.” He sobbed, “This is just not my day. Do you have a phone? I’m getting no signal.” He lifted a shaking hand and pushed a blonde strand of hair out of his eyes.
I felt relief but eyed the drama-king judgmentally. You gave me a heart-attack.
“Sure, come in.” I gestured to the house and started at a trot up to where Abby stood, her eyes concerned.
“Is everything alright?” she asked, peering over my shoulder.
“I think so, we just need a phone.” I answered, opening our front door and stepping in.
Behind me, the guy hesitated. “May I come in?”
“Of course!” I ushered the damp, trembling soul into our entryway and Abby went to search out a phone.
“What happened?” I asked him.
His eyes darted and he lifted his phone. “I was on my phone. Texting with my girlfriend. I had just had a fight with my brother and I was pretty upset. So I was looking down and when I looked up, it was too late to stop.”
“I have no signal either.” Abby returned, holding up her phone.
Before I could offer mine, the guy, in a sudden spurt of nervous energy, turned around and headed out.
“I’ll run up the road for signal.” he threw over his shoulder, then stopped. “Can-can someone come with me?”
“I’ll go.” I told him. “It’s ok.”
Just like that, he was sprinting out our door and up our sidewalk.
I hesitated for a split second, but then followed him, putting on all my speed just to keep up. It was about the time that I started across our gravel drive that I realized I wasn’t wearing shoes.
However, I would not be left behind. He was so fast. He ran like someone was pursuing him.
As I passed the neighbors’ houses, I realized that that was exactly what it looked like.
He started calling people and finally connected with his dad. When he did, I suggested that we stop running. He didn’t hear me. So we continued at a breakneck speed up our road, him sobbing his story on his phone, me gasping and refusing to give up.
“You have him!” I finally yelled, “We can stop!!!” and stop I did. He soon realized I was no longer behind him and he turned.
I didn’t want to know all the things I now know about his family dynamic. I awkwardly stood beside him in the rain, barefoot, as his dad called him an idiot and told him not to worry about “Trevor” who I assumed was the brother he had been fighting with. When he got off of that call, he turned to me.
“I’m going to call my girlfriend.”
Also a call I did not want to overhear. “I’m going to go- uh, look at your car!” I answered brightly. He seemed calm enough to be by himself now. “You didn’t hit your head or hurt anything, right?” I asked.
“No,” he gestured to his legs, “this is from the weeds as I got out of my car.”
“Good.” I eyed the welt from his seatbelt that was starting to swell on his neck. Probably the only reason this guy didn’t have a concussion.
So I skedaddled down the road and peered over the edge of the road at his car. It was still running. The windshield wipers were going and the right back wheel was completely off the ground. This boy was blessed. It was nothing but trees beyond and for some reason, the car had stopped shy of the first one.
I stood in the drizzling rain, waiting for him to return. When he did, his voice was wheedling as he spoke with his girlfriend. I eyed him covertly, trying to find a way to ask how long it would be till his dad was here.
He suddenly stopped in the road and looked over at me, his eyes wide. “What is this I am hearing?!” He pointed to the car.
I listened. I only heard the purr of an engine and the rhythmic thump of his wipers. He stared at me still, not at all about to investigate it.
“Well the car is on.”
“I turned it off!” he returned, panic written on his features.
Drama, drama, drama.
“But it’s on…” I didn’t know what else to say. “and the wipers are on too.”
Did he think we were dealing with a car that now self-starts? Due to this accident?
“I must not have turned it off then…” he relaxed. “I have to say,” he turned to me and smiled jauntily, “all in all, its not that bad.”
“Who are you talking to?” an annoyed voice issued from the phone.
“A gi-” he stopped himself and eyed me, “the neighbor.”
I felt distinctly uncomfortable.
“She was just helping me.” he spoke into the phone again. “Dad will be here in fifteen minutes.”
Please, no. Fifteen minutes is such a long time to stand out in the rain listening to a conversation between a guy and his suspicious girlfriend.
He glanced over at me, noticing my damp little self for the first time I think. “You can go, I think I’ll be fine. Thanks.”
That was that. “You’re welcome,” I called to him, “knock if you need anything.”
Inside, I finished my bed and tidied up in the kitchen, distractedly peering out the windows. His dad arrived and soon, with an impatient rumble of his tiny, muffler-less car, someone I assumed was Trevor arrived.
I sat at the window, my heart warming as I anticipated the reconciliation. Trevor walked up to the car the boy sat in, opened the door, shouted into the interior, and slammed it. My blood ran cold. Yikes.
A police cruiser pulled up and soon our house was blanketed in smoke from the flares they set up all around the site.
I resisted for as long as I could, but when the tow-truck arrived, I threw on shoes and a jacket and headed out. When I approached, the Officer by the mailbox seemed to get nervous.
No worries, I’m here as a spectator, not as a trouble-maker.
I was glad to see that Trevor had departed, I didn’t want to meet him, angry men make me nervous. They had already pulled the car up the bank and it sat on the road, minus a bumper and a couple other pieces.
“They said if the boulder hadn’t been there, it would have been much worse.” the blonde guy walked up to me.
“You hit a boulder?”
“Yup, that’s why it stopped.” he turned and watched them wrestle the car onto the back of the truck beside me. “My dad says it’s done for.”
“God was watching out for you.” I answered.
He looked at me with a strange expression, then looked away. “Yeah.”
Say something more. He’s thinking.
“Do you have insurance?” I asked. Not what I meant to say.
“I don’t know.” he shrugged unconcernedly.
I turned away, struggling for something else.
The officers and his dad congregated. “So obviously, he needs to watch his speed on curves like this. The road was wet though, so it’s hard to slow down in time.” the senior officer spoke.
I waited to hear the condemnation about him texting while driving. Nothing. Realization dawned.
“Did you tell them you were on your phone?”
He smiled cockily and shoved his hands in his pockets. “It was a deer.”
“A deer ran across the road and I swerved to miss it.”
“Those deer.” I answered sarcastically.
“I think the deer will be fine though, I have a feeling.” he answered playfully.
I struggled internally. I imagined myself striding forward and announcing, “Officer, this boy lied to you, he was texting and wasn’t watching the road. There was no deer. Arrest this man!”
They would wrestle him to the ground and cart him away for reckless driving and obstructing an investigation.
As nice as that sounds…. what would have happened would be that he would have gotten fined, then would have gotten angry at me and whispered, “I know where you live.” right before he drove away.
I held my peace.
In the end, they all drove away, leaving me in my driveway, determining to march inside and speak the truth on some platform, even if I wasn’t brave enough to bring the man to justice in the moment.
Then, as I wrote, I remembered that moment when I mentioned God’s protection. His face as he looked at me and considered my words.
Fear kept him from telling those officers the truth, fear kept me from telling the officers the truth… but more importantly, fear kept me from telling him the truth. There is a God, and He loves you enough to keep you from serious harm. Not only that, He loved you enough to send His only Son to die for that lie you just told.
In Thailand, there was much fear. I would sit in my room in the dead of night, beset by fears within and without. Until God showed me that fear is the enemy.
What is the worst that could happen? If shadows did come alive, would it not be because God had allowed it? For my good and for His glory.
If my siblings do choose the wrong path, will fear ever arrest their path? Could it not be that God is teaching them? For their good and His glory.
If my future is dim and unclear, will fear shed light upon it? Could it not be that God is teaching me to trust only Him? For my good and His glory.
If I speak the Gospel to a lost soul and they respond in anger, will that be so bad?
In everything, it will always be for my good and His glory. Even if it is difficult or unpleasant.
I hope he comes down that road again one day and thinks about God’s protection. May it be that God uses this to arrest him, not in the way I had ridiculously imagined, but in an eternal way.