An Unexpected Encounter with God!

         Last Sunday I was driving home during a snowstorm. I had an unexpected encounter with God. As I got off the interstate I realized the road was slushy, so I dropped into the lowest gear possible. All was well until...


          "Oh my God!" I cried, as the car started to skid into the oncoming traffic. Turning the wheel as quickly as I could to avoid crossing the divide, I held my breath. The next thing I knew the car was spinning uncontrollably. I didn't know what was going to stop it. The car bounced off the guard rail and finally stopped with a lurch. Taking a moment to breathe and collect myself, looking up I saw two cars appear from over the hill and approaching me at a snail's pace. One man looked at me funny as if to say: "What are you doing facing the wrong way?"


                Gingerly I turned the car around, thinking: "No other car is involved. I don't have to call the police." My head was swimming: "Let me just get home. The car hit the guard rail, but where?" Cautiously I drove the last mile home, not attempting to drive up the sharp incline of parish drive way. Taking my time, I drove into the parking lot, circled the rectory and finally pulled into the garage.


                With a sigh I got out of the car. "Where did I hit the guard rail?" I walked to the front of the car: "Nothing!" As I gazed at the rear end of the car on the driver's side, I held my breath, the car was totally smashed into the frame. My eyes widened as I realized I'd missed the gas tank by inches. "Thank God!" I exhaled. "How close I've come to death!"


                How often our life seems "out of control!" We react to life more than we thoughtfully respond.


                "Who can respond? Who has time?" I can hear you ask. "So many things come at us... so fast! What do we do?"


                We stop. We pause. We breathe. We slow ourselves down. We give ourselves five minutes to pull ourselves together. We stop to give ourselves the gift of time. We stop to aleve the pressure, the stress we put on ourself. We stop so we can be quiet and reclaim our deepest self. We recall the words of St. Paul: "Do you not know that you do not belong to yourself? You have be bought and paid for by the precious blood of Christ." (1 Cor 6: 19)


                We recall: We don't have to do it all. We're not God. God Alone is God and He is taking care of the world. All we need do is put in our piece of the puzzle and trust God to do the rest.


                Easy? No! Not at all! To do this is to walk a dark path, to walk in darkness not knowing where we're going. It's the way of trust. It's the way of the saints. It's Jesus' way: "Into your hands, Father, I entrust my spirit." To do this is to know in the  deepest depths of yourself the Father's care and providence; to know with all your might He's watching out for you; to know most of all: I am loved!


                Stopping to breathe, stopping to reclaim ourselves, stopping to remember we are loved releases fear, releases stress, releases us from our own agenda and makes us open... AVAILABLE to be who it is God is calling us to be and needs us to be right here, right now in the messiness of our life. How did we get here? By stopping! By breathing! By remembering!


                My prayer for you: May you take time to stop and breathe, because you hear His call amid all the confusion and noise:

 "Come to me all you who are burdened and find life tiresome. I will give you rest." Matthew 11: 28.