byRetirement was supposed to be relaxing, but just a few months after I’d left my teaching job I found myself rushing around…
It was our last day at home before my husband, Larry, and I took the three-hour trip to our summer place on Lake Roosevelt. And summer was certainly in full swing.
Today the temperature hit 100 degrees. But Larry and I had a lot to take care of before we could get going. I grabbed the keys to my Subaru Outback.
“You take the truck to run your last-minute errands,” I said. “I’m headed to the nursery to get some plants for the summer house.”
I had no trouble spending the gardening gift certificate from my former colleagues. When I pulled out of the nursery my car was filled with hardy plants that could stand the blazing summer heat.
I straightened my glasses and turned up the AC. I’ll take the back road, I thought. Less traffic. We’d already loaded the beach towels and chairs into the car, but I was anxious to finish packing. I took a quick sip of water and fitted the cup back in the holder, which was always a little
When I looked back at the road I realized I was heading into the gravel on the shoulder. I whipped the steering wheel in the opposite direction—too far in the opposite direction, and much too quickly. I lost all control. The car flipped. I sat frozen behind the wheel as it rolled.
A strong pair of arms held me tight. An angel’s arms? I had time to wonder as the car rolled a second time, and a third. Despite the world spinning around me, I felt oddly calm, as if I were safe in a divine embrace. Calm enough to ask aloud, “God, could we please stop rolling?”
The car thudded to a halt, landing right side up on the shoulder of the road, broken glass from the windows showering me and crashing to the ground. The driver’s side door had flown open. My instinct was to get out as fast as possible—but I just couldn’t. There was so much love in the car.
I still felt the energy of the angel who had held me like a heavenly seat belt. Stay with me until help comes, I asked.
I had to get out and show myself, or I might be stranded here all day. I was about to step onto the pavement when I glanced down and realized my shoes had been knocked off my feet in the tumult. The asphalt would be hotter than a truck-stop griddle. I’d burn the soles of my feet for sure.
And my glasses—where were my glasses?
I pushed the car door open wider, careful of the threatening shards of glass. Maybe I could flag down a driver from inside. I stuck out my head tentatively. In the hazy heat I saw my shoes sitting on the ground, just inches from where I sat. They were positioned perfectly, one next to the other, like a pair of slippers beside the bed.
All I had to do was slide my feet inside. My glasses were an arm’s reach away from the shoes. The lenses weren’t even scratched. I didn’t have a cell phone on me, so I grabbed a beach towel from the backseat and sat on the side of the road, hoping someone would drive by. My arms and legs were bleeding where pieces of gravel and glass were embedded.
But I felt completely calm, and very little pain. It wasn’t long before a passerby called an ambulance. The paramedics were treating me when Larry ran up. “I drove by and thought, This is one of the worst wrecks I’ve ever seen. Then I recognized the car.”
I didn’t know how Larry recognized it—the car was totaled. I was taken to a local hospital with a wound clinic. Every other day for a week the nurses dug the gravel and glass from my skin and cleaned my abrasions. But I had no broken bones, no concussion. Larry and I had to postpone our trip, but the lake house could wait.
Whoever had held me tight during that crash made sure Larry and I had many more summers ahead.