Monday, November 9, 2009

The Rest of the Story

TODAY'S MEMORY JOGGER:  "Tell about a frustrating experience you've had with a car."
A particular memory popped immediately into my head when I read the memory jogger.  Here it is, from the days wayyy before cell phones:

I have no memory, really, of where I'd been that evening in 1973; all I can remember is being very, very lost in the hills of the San Fernando Valley, where my family lived, and it was dark and I was alone, and very scared.  Obviously, my parents had trusted me to drive myself somewhere that evening and I was on my way home but, being still new to driving, I didn't have a good sense of direction; ok, let's put it out there, I didn't even know (in spite of having been taken along on many, many Boy Scout hikes in my younger years) which direction I was heading in; whether it was south, east, north, or what!

It was pitch black.  Somehow, somewhere on the way home from wherever I had been, I'd taken a wrong turn, and was now completely lost.   I had no idea where I was.

And I was really scared.

I was driving the family station wagon.  I was on a winding, country road, no streetlights, no street signs. I had no clue how to get home from where I was.  It was dark; there were no houses around, no lights, nothing, which only increased my fear.  I didn't know if I should turn around and go back the way I'd come (especially knowing I wouldn't remember the turns I'd taken well enough to reverse them), or if I should just forge ahead and hope for the best knowing at the same time that I would also be taking the risk of just getting myself more and more lost.

There was nothing else to do but pray.  So I prayed. I prayed really hard. I prayed, knowing that I truly needed help, and because I was frantic and beginning to panic. I needed to know where I was;  I needed to know how to get home.

I prayed in the way that I'd been taught, first acknowledging the good things in my life, "God, I thank thee for all my blessings, I have so many blessings, but (I was too scared, and too frantic to be more specific before rushing on to what I needed) please notice that I'm LOST, and I don't know where I am, and I'm soooo scared.  Please help me find the way home!"

I kept praying, talking out loud really, to God.  I kept repeating, "I'm lost, please help me find my way home!"

Although it seemed like hours, I know that it was only a few minutes later, that I suddenly came to a major street.  Lights, cars, houses!  Even with no street sign I recognized the street and, although I don't now remember it's name, if I were on it now, today, I know I'd immediately recognize it just as I did that night.

I totally knew my way home from that spot.

Coincidence that I arrived at a familiar street so shortly after my fervent prayer?  Doubtful, because listen to the rest of the story:

For the next two years, until I left home at 18, I tried to find that intersection again.  I drove that major road, its entire stretch, many many times and found not a SINGLE intersection with a road that led up into the hills, and into the pitch black dark that I'd found myself in that night. And on several occasions, when I drove past a particular spot on that road, I received the clear and distinct knowledge that it was the very spot where I'd emerged from my nightmare.

But there was no intersecting road there, no road at all.

It had only existed for that one night; perhaps only for a few minutes.  Just long enough to get me back on track, out of danger, and home.

Experiences like this are why I believe in God, and in prayer.

FOR NEXT WEEK: "Describe the perfect winter day.  Tell about an activity you would do on that day."

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