Day Two: A Dozen Reasons
Yesterday, I told you about a six year old girl and a tree. Today I have a story to share about the kindness of strangers, and the protection of the Lord. I hope you are as intrigued in the mystery as I am, even after the years have gone by.
Let’s fast forward a bit, from that first grader of yesterday.
Now, I want you to picture a young girl, twenty years old. She is still blonde and still headstrong. She is also extremely sheltered, and unaware of all of the evil that is in this world. She is full of life and energy, and she still believes in God.
She is also miserable. She feels trapped by circumstances, and she feels guilty for feeling trapped. She is in love, but she is scared of this love, scared of being hurt. So she runs away. She runs from her troubles and misery, she runs from the new love that she is scared to hope in, she runs from her friends, her home, even her city. She is pretty good at running.
This girl was also me. I took off, in the middle of the night, with a backpack full of clothes and toiletries and hopped in my junker car, that tended to overheat. I had a glimmer of a barely thought out plan and a hope for something I couldn’t explain.
I stopped at a gas station, bought a map and marked with a red pen a back road plan to my brand new life. Seriously, I was driving back roads all the way. I was heading off to Florida. I was heading to the beach and to my grandpa, the very man who had always told me I could do whatever I wanted, if I really wanted it. The same man who had also taught me about Jesus. I had believed in my grandfather about doing whatever I wanted, and about Jesus. So I said a prayer, and I headed out of town.
After my snap decision to leave the midwest and embark on my fourteen hour adventure, after deciding that driving the back roads was going to save me two hours (or so I thought), the smart thing for a young lady to have done would have been to tell somebody what I was doing, and where I was going.
I didn’t. Not one soul. Nobody knew I was leaving, nobody knew I was coming. In retrospect, besides mentally scolding myself for how completely ignorant and how unbelievably dangerous taking off like that was, I think now that I simply wasn’t as brave as I thought I was. I think that I didn’t have the courage to tell anyone what I was doing because I didn’t want anybody to discourage me, or dampen my spirits, or tell me that my plan was too spontaneous, or worse even, that my plan was just plain stupid. So I snuck off like a thief in the night, with barely enough money in my pocket for gas, and no money for absolutely anything else. I jumped in my car, I blasted my radio and sang, and I finally felt free. For about five or so hours. Then things went south real fast, and I’m not just talking about the direction I was driving. I felt afraid.
I broke down somewhere in Tennessee, on a dark empty road, in the middle of nowhere. It was still night time, I had no cell phone, and I had no clue how far I was from any type of civilization, or a telephone. Nobody knew where I was, not even me. Nobody knew, except for God, who knew exactly where I was, and still knows even when I don’t, exactly where I am going.
Remember the six year old that was afraid of monsters? Well, at twenty, I was just a bigger version of her. I no longer had pigtails and scabbed knees, but I was still scared of the dark, and what was hiding in it.
I absolutely was not walking in the dark to find a phone. So I prayed instead.
A while later, perhaps an hour, maybe more, the sun was beginning to come up. I had mentally conceded that I was going to have to lace up my walking shoes, and now that it was getting light out, I was prepared to do so. I had my map, and my tennis shoes, and I was going to go find a phone.
As I got out of the car, off in the distance, I could just make out the figures of two men walking my way. I was nervous. There’s just something about being female and stranded in a strange place that brings on this sense of apprehension as you watch two strange men walking your way.
I stood my ground, waited. My back up plan was to run if I had to, and I was pretty darn good at running. I had been doing it all my life.
As I watched, the two men came closer, and details started to emerge. I had this hyper sense of reality, coupled with a strange foggy feeling, and I felt like I could see everything, but hear almost nothing. It was a strange feeling, and didn’t help the nervous sensation in my stomach. I was on high alert. Adrenaline was pumping through my veins, and I’m pretty sure my body was geared up in the fight or flight response.
As they got closer, I saw a man, who I would of described as elderly at the time, but was probably only in his late forties, perhaps early fifties, and a young boy of about fifteen. The older man and this young boy both wore overalls, and the boy had on a baseball cap. The man had silver in his hair, and wore glasses, and the boy was smiling from ear to ear. After just a moment, I realized that the boy had a mental disability of some sort, possibly down syndrome. He was absolutely charming with his amazing smile. In a way that I can’t explain, they were both beautiful. Welcoming. Friendly.
The father asked me what was wrong. Asked me to pop my hood. Asked me for my two bottles of water and a piece of cardboard, which I tore off a box of miscellaneous trinkets I had in my trunk. He tinkered under my hood for a few moments, as the boy talked to me about dogs. After what seemed too quick, too easy, the older gentleman closed my hood and gave my car a fatherly pat.
This man, with his gentle drawl and his smiling son, fixed my car with a piece of cardboard and my drinking water. I was completely floored. How could that even be possible? He explained to me that he had made me a temporary gasket, and I didn’t really understand because I knew next to nothing about cars. I was just amazed and became overly emotional as I thanked him repeatedly. I got tears in my eyes when the car started, I hadn’t yet admitted to myself how scared I had been. I stammered out some more thank you’s and tried to give him my last few dollars, which he declined. Instead, he looked straight at me, almost as if he could look straight through me, as he told me that I was to get on a main road. His voice was extremely knowing and authorative as he told me my car would get me where I was going, but no further. I believed him.
There was something about how he said all of this, that for once in my life, I listened with no arguments. I thanked him, drove off, and watched them dwindle away in my rearview, just wondering.
I’m still wondering to this day. Who were they? Where did they come from? Where did they go? They had been heading the way I had come from, and I was pretty sure there hadn’t been a town for miles.
I got on a main highway, and I got myself to Pensacola. I drove to the beach, I had been there before. I dipped my feet in the ocean, and I felt like I was exactly where I needed to be. I had used almost every dollar I had for gas, and when I tried to start my car to head to my grandparents house that was just a few miles away, my car would not start. It had taken me where I needed to get, and no further. Just as I was told. I wasn’t surprised, after all, that is exactly what the old man had said. I just found a payphone to call my grandpa.
I still think about those two strangers. I wonder if anything would of happened to me if they had not helped me. I have this overwhelming sense of gratitude whenever I think about them, and about that night. A prayer and the kindness of strangers had kept me safe. At the time, I thought God sent them to help me. Now, I still do, because I really do believe in angels.
Follow me on Instagram @humblegirl1111 or on Facebook at Nay Towell
And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
You heard me when I cried, “Listen to my pleading! Hear my cry for help!”
In God, whose word I praise, in the Lord , whose word I praise— in God I trust and am not afraid. What can man do to me?
“I have told you these things, so that in me you may have peace. In this world you will have trouble. But take heart! I have overcome the world.”
The angel of the Lord encamps around those who fear him, and he delivers them.
For he will command his angels concerning you to guard you in all your ways;