Katy talked about, in her prior entry, our travel season. We are back in Holland now, enjoying our time at home before we begin our next travel adventure. I want to do a little back-tracking to tell you about a gift that was given to us in the middle of a scary moment, a gift of providence.
One of our trips a few weeks ago involved a week of speaking in NW Iowa, Minnesota, and South Dakota. Our concern was to get there without harassing Leila’s sleep patterns too much. We got a great suggestion from our sister-in-law Heather. She wondered why we just did not drive through the night. Brilliant! So we prepared accordingly. We loaded up our little car on Friday evening, changed Leila into her PJs, put her in her car seat, and set the course on our Garmin for Orange City, IA (15 hours away). Leila fell asleep before we left Holland, MI and woke up in Orange City, Iowa. It was genius. Of course, Katy and I had to take turns napping during the day because we did not sleep a wink as we drove through the night! It still was worth it. We made good time, and Leila was in a good mood.
After about 10 days of speaking engagements and various meetings, we found ourselves in the little town of Platte, South Dakota. After the morning service, one of the elders, BJ invited us to join his wife and him for lunch at a local diner. Katy and I almost NEVER refuse eating at local diners; we certainly weren’t going to skip out here. After lunch, our friend while saying good-bye told us that if we ever needed anything, especially a new set of wheels (he owns a car-dealership), to let them know because they would be happy to help us out. Katy and I enjoyed our lunch and began our drive out to our next and last speaking destination in South Dakota. As we drove, we talked about how kind the offer was and if we did need a new car. After some deliberation, we both agreed that while a bigger car might be nice, we just couldn’t afford it.
After our last day in Orange City, we packed up our car and began our trek to Holland. The drive was hard but definitely worth it because of the peaceful, drowsy baby in the car seat. Katy drove first. A little before the halfway point, we switched up, and I drove the rest of the way. The drive was very non-eventful, at least it was ALMOST non-eventful. After about 12 hours of driving, our GPS showed us 4 miles from home.
That’s when it happened. I shone the brights on just in time to see a glimmer reflecting back to me. Katy and I were both awake and knew instantly what that was… a deer. The deer tried to avoid us but there is very little one can do when traveling over 70mph. The whole incident took maybe three seconds to unfold. Katy and I remember every millisecond quite vividly. Before we knew it, the deer plowed into the car. It crushed our hood and skipped across shattering the wind-shield and caving it in. Fortunately for us, the windshield held…just. The hood popped up, the air bags deployed, and our horn got stuck (resulting in the disorienting blare that we heard when we finally came to a stop). Everything was dark but Katy had the presence of mind to realize that we were in the middle of the highway. Our car had just enough life to pull us to the side of the road. We dialed 911 and waited for our tow truck.
It goes without saying that this incident left us shaken quite a bit. The initial thoughts that ran through my head as I tried to sleep later on was the many ways I could have avoided the deer. Soon, those thoughts were replaced by thoughts that were far grimmer, thoughts about how much worse this could have easily been. God protected us all. We escaped without a scratch on our bodies.
Soon, we were forced to face the reality of life without a car. Again, we were blessed by the generosity of friends who loaned us their car while we figured out what was next. The first call I made with regard to a new car was, of course, to BJ in Platte, South Dakota. BJ was kind and gracious and through his help, we found a new car, a car that we still find hard to believe is ours. It is a car that looks sharp, is bigger, has fewer miles, and drives so much better than our old one ever did. God is indeed good.
We are grateful for the safety that was afforded us. We are grateful for the people who walked beside us as we dealt with the aftermath. We are spoiled by God’s goodness.