Broken Down Car and Humble Help

I passed this spot on the 217 overpass yesterday, and realized this happened exactly two years ago. A gentle reminder and perspective to be grateful and accept help.


August 2015

“That’s smoke coming out of the hood of my car. I’ve gotta get off now!”  I thought to myself as I quickly tried to merge to the right on a 90 degree busy freeway overpass.

The smoke became thicker and darker as a brief opening allowed me to veer to the shoulder and out of danger. Like a volcano ready to spew, we didn’t know if flames were going to follow the smoke. My two older kids hurried to the embankment while I flew (literally it felt like!) to get Gracie out of the car and with her siblings. As we stood distanced from our smoking vehicle, I saw a vehicle stopped going the opposite direction, and a man on his cell phone. I dialed 911, and the dispatcher already knew of the situation, which meant the fire truck was on its way. I sent a somewhat calm text to Matt who was in an important meeting at that exact moment to alert him of the situation.

Fortunately, the dark smoke did not come from or turn into flames inside the vehicle, and within a few long minutes it dissipated. While two of the firemen helped me with the situation, two other firemen entertained and talked with my three children in the embankment.

“How are you?” one fireman asked me.

“Good. I mean, well, yeah, I really am good,” I answered.

The minute my mouth opened I thought about my response. Was I really good?  Or did the answer just come out of my mouth without thinking? The circumstances weren’t necessarily fun: on the side of a road with an almost car fire in the hot sun, a baby, and two kids wondering what was going on. Yet, I truly from the deepest recesses of my heart was good. My car was dead, but at the end of the day it’s just a car.

In that instant, I started to see the blessings in the situation…
*My babies were safe.
*The thick traffic broke for a moment, and I was able to get over in time.
*Help had come in the form of four firemen, one ODOT worker, and one tow truck driver who were all focused on how to help safely get us to where we needed to be.
*As I was talking about walking to a safer location in order for my mother-in-law to pick us up there, the ODOT worker said, “Hmm, funny…I just looked at this location two days ago to see if there was a fence by those office buildings. There’s not, so that’s a safe way to go.” I told him it I didn’t believe in coincidence!
*We ended up getting a ride in the big, red fire truck to Kaylee’s gym a mile away where my amazing mother-in-law was coming to rescue us, and you should have seen the look of adventure in the kids’ faces as they climbed the tall stairs of the fire engine to take their seats.

As I tucked Cameron in bed tonight and said prayers by his bedside, we talked about the importance of how detours in life can either derail us or challenge us to see the good in spite of them. We are humbled with this detour on so many levels for so many reasons.  And tonight we hold each other even closer.  Blessings in disguise.

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