Have you ever taken some common event in your life for granted? I have, and a particular road trip showed me that sometimes we do not reach our destination, and life changes drastically in the process.
This eye-opening experience came for me when some years ago Annie, Buffy, Mother and I were driving at dusk though the Salt River Canyon in Arizona. This is a winding road that meanders between steep mountains on one side and deep rugged canyons on the other. The highway is narrow and keeps careful drivers cautious and the not-so-careful taking chances that could be fatal.
Our trip was ordinary until we rounded one of the sharp corners on the highway. That is when we saw in the distance the blinking lights of ambulances and police cars. Descending cars had been stopped, flares set up on the highway and state troopers had halted traffic at that point from both directions.
We pulled up behind the last car in line. As the line of cars behind us grew, the news passed from car to car that a terrible accident had happened up ahead. One car had tried to pass another on a narrow curve and crashed in to one oncoming car and three others. The estimate was that four had been critically injured and several had died.
Soon we heard the sounds of emergency helicopters and saw them shine their spotlights, searching for a place to put down on that steep hillside. We could hear as they let down and, several minutes later, with the critically wounded loaded, the helicopters lifted straight up into the air carrying the injured back to hospitals in Phoenix. Two ambulances left and came up our way. Then five wreckers loaded the flattened and smashed cars onto their beds.
All this time, the line of cars behind us continued to grow. After two hours, the last of the wounded were loaded and taken to medical centers. Finally the police gave the first in our line of cars to go on down the highway.
That’s when we had our first look at the crash site. As we crept behind the cars in front of us, we passed flattened highway guard rails and viewed car parts, clutter, oil spills, even some personal items along the edge of the highway.
I wondered about those people. Were they families? Were they newlyweds? Were they grandparents on the way to see grandchildren in Phoenix? When each started the trip, little did they know what would happen that day. In an instant, the course of their lives changed drastically.
I know that it is easy to take ordinary days and just common events for granted. I just assume that my life will go on just as I’ve planned.
Yet the reality while ordinary days and weeks go by, our lives and the direction of our lives can change forever in one instant. We have no assurance of tomorrow, the next hour or the next minute. I say with David: “… let me know how fleeting my life is. You have made my days a mere handbreadth; the span of my years is as nothing before you. Everyone is but a breath, even those who seem secure.” (Psalm 39: 4-5).
Our only security from day to day is the assurance that we have in knowing Jesus Christ as savior. We may not know what is ahead on the road of life, but it is enough to know the one that is all knowing.
Judy Brandon is a Clovis resident. Contact her at: