I have an appointment with my rheumatologist later this morning. There's nothing particularly unusual about that, since I see her on a regular basis. Al will drive me to my appointment. There's nothing particularly unusual about that either, since he, or someone, drives me everywhere. I'm no longer able to drive in my post-stroke world.
But as I was thinking about this morning's appointment with my rheumatologist, I flashed back a few years to another morning when I was planning to see the rheumatologist. We lived in the mountains then, and Al was planning to drive me over to Kingsport, TN that morning since the roads on that particular day were covered with snow and ice.
That morning did not go exactly as planned. In fact, I didn't see the rheumatologist at all that day. The memory of that morning is quite a harrowing tale.
The morning's events got their start when another round of winter weather descended on our mountains the previous. Snow fell gently and steadily throughout the day, with about an inch or two accumulation. The driveway and the road stayed pretty much clear. Even so, the forecast was for heavy snow on the morning of my appointment, so Al decided to drive me since I am not a big fan of driving in show and ice.
We had no problems getting down the gravel road in front of our house. The road is very steep, but there was not a lot of snow accumulated on it, and the gravel gives some traction. But once we passed the gate and got onto the asphalt road, things changed. As we rounded the first curve, there was some snow across the road. And beyond that, the road was a solid sheet of ice. Those of you who have been to our mountain home are aware that on one side of the road is the mountain. And the other side is the fall-off-the-side side, with no guard rail. Nothing to prevent a car from just sliding over the edge.
And slide we did. Al did a very good job of maintaining control of the car. And of staying calm (at least on the outside) while I was having a panic attack. I have no words to describe the terror I was feeling.
Somehow - and I'm really not sure how - Al got the car turned around on that ice and headed back toward home. And somehow he got it moving forward and off that ice, back onto dry asphalt. We made it safely home.
I know that Al's driving skills played a great part in keeping us safe that morning. I'm grateful for his skill. But I also know that it was the Lord who kept our car in the road, who prevented our going over the side, and who brought us safely back home. And I am so very grateful.
We went up and down that stretch of road many times after that day, always amazed that Al was able to turn the car around and get it pointed in the right direction. Because that particular spot in the road is very narrow. Not wide enough to turn a car around.
I have many friends here in South Carolina who get very excited when it snows. I don't share their enthusiasm. It's a matter of perspective, I guess. I have lived nearly half my life in places other than my native state. Most of those years have been spent in places where it snows. A lot. I have shoveled more than enough snow to last me the rest of my life! I don't like to shovel snow. I don't like to be cold. But more than any of that, I really, really don't like to experience the terror that comes with the possibility of sliding off the side of a mountain. Memories like that morning are why just a few flakes of snow are enough to keep me at home.
I did a lot of praying this morning while we were in the car. I'm thankful that my prayers were answered. That we were protected from going over the edge. That Al was able to get the car safely turned around. That we made it back home.
I often remember that morning and how God brought us safely through that very stressful event. And how He has brought us through so many other challenging events. How thankful I am!
And how thankful I am that it isn't' snowing this morning as I head to the rheumatologist's office!
"Thou wilt keep him in perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on thee; because he trusteth in thee." (Isaiah 26:3 KJV)