Monday, December 20, 2004

My favorite guardrail

Last night, the Baltimore DC area got an arctic blast of air and light snow, right after a day of mixed rain. Temps dropped fast and a lot so with the snow there was patches of ice all over the place.
Since I have an SUV, I love the snow. I just love to put it into 4x4 and drive. I don't try to do anything stupid, I just love to get out and have a little bit of fun. Part of it is man and machine, part of it is just the fun, part of it is a small sense of adventure.
Last night, I got a too much of the third. I was driving down one of our major highways to rent a movie, the same way that I go to and from work everyday. I came down a hill, onto a bridge which crosses over a reservior. At the beginning of the bridge, I felt a strange sensation in the truck, and then quickly figured out that I was sliding on ice, sliding a wee bit to the left. I tried to ride it out, when the truck started to lurch and spin to the right. At this point, I'm sure I was screaming something. I remember thinking to myself, "Time to brake", and I'm pretty sure that I was standing on my break pedal.
Eventually, I crashed the rear end into a guardrail, looking at the traffic behind me. I then realized that I was a sitting duck if other cars started to slide. So I drove backwards up the shoulder, once I figured out I was okay.
A police car and an ambulance were there within 2 minutes. Looking back, there was an accident on the opposite side of traffic right before I got to the bridge. As I sat there stunned, I watched probably ten to twelve cars on the other side of the road begin to slide, swerve and hit each other on the bridge too. It was crazy.
God really protected me last night. I didn't hit any of the jersey barriers on the bridge, instead slid all the way across it into a guard rail. It's only the rear bumper. It was only me in the car. The truck didn't roll over, and it didn't plummet into the reservior (you guys know about my lack of swimming ability.)
I went back today to get some pictures.

Here is the guard rail, I guess I put a nice dent in it. It is now my favorite guardrail. (Although I didn't have a favorite before last night.)

Here is the bridge.
Notice the jersey barriers along the span. My slide from the middle of the bridge to this side was a pretty lengthy one.

The small dent compared to what it could have been.

I was really spooked about driving back home, over the same bridge, last night. Actually, I'm still really freaked about it today. Just a little while ago, I had to run an errand (deciding to work from home) over the bridge too. It just made me think about how sometimes God protects us, yet He brings us close to this edge of danger, risk, comfort. And yet, many times, He calls us to continue, to go back to the experience when it's not so risky, to continue to expand our character, to get back on the horse. If we don't meet our fears, living with a faith that demands risk, we will fail to be the people that bring the Kingdom forth around us, because we are too scared or too worried, or had an experience that made us captive.

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