In the fullness of life, we all hope to know of God’s glory. When he speaks we yearn to hear. Today as I watched the silent snow falling in flakes as large as feathers, I couldn’t help to wonder of the heavenly glory that awaits us all. The quiet precipitation from the skies above, like letters from angels, put into our midst so that we may read their messages; if only we would take the time to do so. This past week, a momentary lapse in time afforded me the opportunity to do just that.
Hindsight is always twenty-twenty; once we step through those moments in time that were life-changing events, positive or negative, we can then see more clearly what led up to and were subsequent results of those moments. So it was, this past week on my way to work that I now realize there was something greater than I could know weighing on my heart. What I thought was as a sense of depression was probably more of an eminent doom, which again, I could not know at the time.
I often have time to reflect on my life’s journey on my hour long commute to and from work. I sometimes find myself driving through nightfall or the impending dusk. This seemingly eternal darkness can cause even the mildest thoughts of despair to easily become amplified beyond their true nature. Something inside me kept pushing my thoughts toward the “Why” of it all that night, until I was resolute to justify my existence purely for the sake of my children, nothing more. It was then I began to think of ways in which death might greet me.
Sitting at the stop light at the corner of Old Jenks Rd. and Highway 55, I had the sudden image flash into my mind; one of how death could be so sudden, it might seem preposterous. I was the third car in line at the red light, sitting in the left turn lane. Suddenly from above came a brilliant light, then a roaring flame followed by the sound of an explosion as what had been the first car at the light, a small SUV, immediately disappeared from sight as a cloud of smoke and flame erupted. The car directly behind it caught fire as the blast from the meteor’s impact shook all of our cars, igniting the second car. The driver, a man of Asian descent, jumped from his car running away, screaming in a mixed English-Hindi accent, “My God, my car is on fire, somebody help!” Shrapnel from the blast flew into the second car and then into mine. The mirror from the driver’s side of the second car flew into mine, glancing harmlessly off my window, leaving only a slight chip in the glass. The impact from the blast rocked all of our cars. Few pieces of the first car existed beyond the small crater that it had become from the weight of the meteor’s impact.
Stunned yet aware of the magnitude of the moment, I realized there was nothing I could do. “The people or person in the first car should have been me,” was my first thought. Whomever or whoever they were no longer mattered other than those they had left behind could take solace from the fact a death like theirs could have only been heaven sent. The odds of dying from the impact of a meteor are so small; you could certainly consider it a way for God to call you home.
I knew that the first responders would be on the scene soon. The man in the second car who had escaped with only minor injuries now stood off to the side of the road. I could see him standing there talking on his cell phone, illuminated by the glow from his burning car and the street lights that had not been blown out by the blast force of the impact. My car, although shaken, was none the worse for wear. Realizing there wasn’t much I could do at this point, knowing that this place would soon become a media spectacle and anyone remaining might be tied up for hours reliving the horrible experience, I turned my car and began to drive around the disaster scene.
The traffic on Highway 55 was stopped; some people were standing outside of their cars with their cell phones out taking video of the scene while others talked frantically into their devices, all probably sharing the event with others. I easily drove through the light, which was now green, luckily for me. I watched as I pulled away, the smoldering remains of an SUV, a life that was now gone; gone in the blink of an eye. A life that was just living another day, now gone forever; it could have been me, yet it wasn’t; “God doesn’t miss,” I told myself as I continued to drive away, watching from my rearview mirror.
Blue lights began to fill the sky over the horizon, as my car slowly made its way, putting distance between myself and the scene of the disaster that never happened. Nobody would know that I had been there, and then again, it never happened anyhow, so it didn’t matter.
Somehow, my sense of depression felt better.
Later that evening, I recalled the near-miss vision I had with a co-worker. He sat raptly listening to me tell of the scene, with all the detail of a true event. When I was done, it replied that I had quite the imagination.
We left it at that.
A few hours into Friday morning I overheard someone speaking about Russia. We were still tied up with the job we had started earlier in the night and couldn’t break away. It was a few moments later that the co-worker I had told the story to earlier in the night came up to my desk, somewhat shaken, asking me, “Did you just hear the news from Russia?”
“No, what are you talking about,” I asked, watching my computer screen from the corner of my eye; I was hesitant to take my attention away from my task at hand.
He cleared his throat, trying to capture my full attention, which he did, “There was a meteor that hit Russia just a few minutes ago. Nearly 1,000 people have been injured.” He stood there looking at me, as if he had just seen a ghost, or someone that might have known too much before its time. I sat back in my chair and took a deep breath, “my Lord,” was all I could say.
“You just told me your crazy story, and now this,” he replied, as if repeating it might somehow make it disconnect.
“What are the odds of that,” I asked, somewhat rhetorically?
We both stared in awed silence as our minds tried to grasp the reality of what was.
Even tonight as I write this story, to retell the events of Friday morning, I still cannot help to feel that when God speaks, and if we listen, there are endless possibilities. How we react to them is up to us. Sometimes, if we are fortunate enough, we listen and act.
Friday was mostly a blur of activity after that event. I was already short of sleep before Friday, but after hearing of the news from Russia, my mind was on fire. I would not sleep again until late Friday night. There was so much I had to do, to see and to discuss. It was as if a real meteor had struck in my own life and the spirit of the Lord was on fire within me.
I don’t know what will happen, what will change or what might be altered from all the wonderful things I experienced Friday but one thing I know for sure.
It all started with a vision at a stop light…and I listened.