You’ve heard of #100HappyDays? Well, I stole the idea and adapted to fit my blogging schedule.
Every day is filled with reasons to be thankful. And yet the majority of my day isn’t spent being thankful. That’s got to change. God sent his son to save me - HUGE reason to always be thankful. And I’ve been freed to live a new life through Christ, released from fear, doubt, shame and self-reliance, equipped with love to serve others and blessed with all kinds of daily tasks and jobs to express my love. And that’s just the big stuff.
This is #100ThankfulWeeks to praise Him. I’m sharing one simple thing I’m thankful for each week. Because there can never be to much thankfulness.
Week 37: Kindness
“Here comes the snow,” I mutter, watching as the heavy droplets of rain splashing against the windshield suddenly change to giant, wet, sticky snowflakes. I don’t dare to look away from the highway and car ahead of me to see if my other half has heard my announcement. Or has seen the sudden change in falling precipitation.
He makes a sound of disgust. “So I see,” he says. “Well, this is going to be fun.”
Not fun. Awful. Because it’s Kentucky and they’re not equipped to handle the snow. Because the dusk is turning to night and it’s getting harder to see. Because it’s only been snowing for a few moments and my windshield wiper blades are already getting sticky. And because tracks are already forming on the highway’s surface in the wet, slushy accumulation. We’ve already dropped to 55 miles per hour in a 70 miles per hour zone.
I risk a quick glance at the clock, then eyes back on the road. “Maybe we should stop for dinner,” I say. “Let the traffic clear out and the roads freeze.” I’d much rather drive on frozen, snow-covered roads than slushy, slippery roads.
My other half is silent for a moment and I suspect he makes an inaudible shrug. “Might as well,” he agrees. “I don’t know what the weather is supposed to do or how long this is supposed to keep up.” He pauses and I know what he’s hoping. The same thing we’re both hoping. “Maybe it will be better by the time we’re done eating.”
The snow fall is getting heavier and the wipers are having trouble keeping up. I put on my turn signal for the next exit and take my foot off the accelerator. We coast down the exit ramp and I shift into third gear to reduce the engine and wheel speed. Through the field of snowflakes, I can see the bright red brake lights of car ahead and I tap the brakes. The car skids and I release and press the brake again.
The brake lights ahead are getting closer at an alarming speed. “Oh no oh no oh no…” my other half is murmuring as our car skids forward, the antilock brakes pumping ineffectively under my foot. For a brief moment I try to grab at the shift to drop into second gear, but I don’t have enough time. “Oh no oh no oh no…”
“There’s nothing I can do!” I growl back, pulling on the wheel and desperately hoping I can avoid rear-ending the other car. We drift to the left, skid past the car ahead, and then suddenly we’re off the road and sliding down the embankment. The wheels seem to instantly find traction in the snowy grass and we jerk to a stop. Sideways on the steep embankment, so close to pavement and yet so far away.
We try backing up along the embankment to get back onto the pavement, but that fails. We try pulling forward to pick up a little speed to roll back up the embankment. That fails. Meanwhile, ruts are forming in the snowy grass and the snow is falling even faster. If we don’t get back onto the pavement soon, the car will have to be dug out.
We change drivers and my other half gives the wheel a try. Rocking back and forth, edging the wheel from side to side. Nothing works. We can now barely move two feet. And it’s obvious we’re not getting out without help. “Should we call a tow service?” I ask. Because I’m not sure what one does in situations like this. Besides wait for the cops to show up, write a ticket and shake their heads at the predicament you’re in.
Cop cars with flashing lights pass down the exit ramp above us, but they don’t stop. There are probably more pressing matters in this whiteout than a single car stuck off the side of the highway. My other half is still spinning the wheel, shifting in and out of reverse and valiantly trying to find some kind of miracle in the muddy ground.
We’re not getting out of this without help. And with a whiteout like this, help isn’t likely on the way anytime soon.
That’s when I notice the lights of a fire engine on the exit cross-street above us. I don’t know how long the truck has been there with the lights flashing, but I see the shape of several guys walking down the embankment towards our car. “Um,” I murmur because my other half is still busily shifting from reverse to drive. “I think these guys might want to talk to you.”
He spots them and stops pressing the accelerator. Glumly, he shifts into park and rolls down the window. We both wait tensely, expecting some kind of reprimand or who knows what.
“What going on, guy?” the first fireman asks when he reaches the driver window.
“Well, we kinda slid off the side of the road and were trying to get the car out,” my other half says cautiously.
Another three firemen are now standing around the car and the first one gestures up at the sky. “We can try to push you out if you want. I don’t know if it’ll work with all this coming down, but it’s either that or wait for a wrecker.”
For a moment, we’re both speechless. Because it’s the kindest, most unexpected thing that could have happened. And the possibility of getting out is now suddenly a REAL possibility. Rather than just spinning tires and flying mud. “Ah, sure,” my other half says. “If you guys don’t mind that would be so much help.”
“I don’t know if it’ll work,” the fireman says. He gestures to the other guys who move into place behind the back of the car. “But if we get you going, just don’t stop. Whatever you do, keep going and don’t stop.”
“I will,” my other half promises, nodding emphatically. A moment later we get the thumbs up, the accelerator goes down and suddenly the car is moving. And not just moving, but climbing the embankment. I glance behind us and see the four shadowy figures at the back, still pushing. And then the front tires grab pavement, the car fishtails slightly and we’re free. Moving away on our own. The shadowy good-samaritans watch us as we clear the intersection and then they disappear into the whiteout.
Unexpected kindness at the most expected time. And from people we didn’t know, never had the chance to thank and will probably never see again. I don’t know if they were volunteer firemen or paid, but that night, they voluntarily pushed us out despite the spraying mud and falling snow. And now whenever I feel discouraged by all the violent and hateful things I see or hear about, I can remember that moment and feel grateful. And feel hope.
Have you ever received an unexpected act of kindness from someone? And have you ever lost control of your vehicle in the snow?