Archive for December 28th, 2009


chain of events

I love the concept of a chain of events. According to Wikipedia, a chain of events is a number of actions and their effects that are contiguous and linked together. Then there is the fabric of events, i.e., an expansion of the chain of events, emphasizing that chains of events are intertwined with each other as a fabric. Whether chain or fabric, such experiences can give one pause to reflect and reflect I shall.

It was snowing Saturday morning as partner  Big Dawg and I packed up my 1999, All Wheel Drive, Outback with all the paraphernalia needed for updating the liturgical installation at our church from Advent to Christmas/Epiphany. I brought along everything I could think of that might be needed for this task, including an extra sweater and gloves without fingers, just in case the church was freezing cold inside…something I suspected could be the frugal case.

We arrived and were met at the door by the clean-up volunteers who generously donate their time in love. Being met at the door meant that we didn’t have to struggle with the stubborn locks that prefer to receive keys copied from the originals, lost long ago and now forgotten by everyone but the locks themselves. We hadn’t been there more than 10 minutes when I realized that I had left half the new material at home…the half I had to hang first! Although the church is only 20 minutes  from home by toll road, it was snowing and I didn’t want to disturb Adopted Daughter’s rest by asking her to bring the missing pieces to us, so of course faithful partner, BD went back for the goods.

While she was gone I was busy with all the peripheral tasks. Then after about 45 minutes my cell phone rang and then stopped. I thought BD was outside the church door waiting for me to let her in, but no…no one at the door…just snow and cold. I called her back expecting anything but her shaky voice on the other end of the line. She told me that she had gotten halfway back to the church with the pieces I’d left behind, when the hood of the car angrily flew up, crashing the windshield, breaking the rear-view mirror and leaving only a couple of inches of cracked windshield for her to see the road and steer the errant vehicle off to the side through ice and driving snow, while traffic whizzed by. While I was balancing on emergency mode with practicality and calm—a thing I do about an hour before I realize all the could have beens and go to pieces—she said she had already strapped the hood down, was looking through the sharded windshield and heading back home for another car. I had time to think about the could have beens and how it must have  felt to have been the driver: SCARY!

I was not feeling upset or disappointed or anything that I could locate, beside gratitude that no other cars were involved and no one died (especially BD). I think I was in some level of shock, not wishing to feel an additional layer of life challenges. AD’s illness required a live-in-the-now lifestyle and I was working hard at being good at it. BD was a good driver. I was grateful and not surprised that she managed so well.

When BD arrived, we got to work, finished the task and headed home in what had been the old faithful station wagon. We drove slowly, carefully and quietly so as not to disturb our querulous hearts. Once at home, we made the insurance call, took care of whatever business was in front of us and had lunch. It was later on, when I went out to the garage that I saw the car…really saw it! My heart began to sag as I took it in and realized what it must have felt like to have this big piece of metal suddenly fly up and toward, like a determined bird of prey. We talked about it then…the what ifs and the could have beens and the would have beens. BD had been cool and competent during the attack: emergency mode.

So if the latch was working on giving way, and would have eventually done so regardless of weather, what I ask, would I have done had it let loose while I was driving? I’m pretty sure I would not have been competent or cool. The possible scenarios are unnerving. I do not believe in pre-destination or anything that leaves the relevance of God out of the picture. So I take this experience to my heart and do not dissect or analyze it. God’s grace prevailed. I don’t need a reason. God has called me by name and has not let the river overcome me….once again.

Tonight we took the poor, dear car to the body shop. It has a date with the insurance claims adjuster. They will tell us and we will say yes. Weeks from now Dear Car will be ready to roll and so will we.  Grace again and again.

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December 2009

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