One Minute Left to Live
What if you only had one minute left to live?
This past weekend, my husband and I thought we were in that situation- careening down a white iced mountain road with no breaks. What would you do? Knowing you had no control and less than a minute before your life might be over?
We were headed towards New York City for a weekend getaway after a stressful couple of months. Six hours into our trip, our GPS route turned to red. Highway closed.
A freak snowstorm had caused countless cars to slide into ditches and trucks to lose traction on the steep inclines. The visibility was equitable to a snow-globe in the hands of a toddler. New York state should have shut her down earlier, but like many overly confident SUV drivers we believed our four-wheel drive could push through the mini-moguls. Plus, the peppy computerized British women’s spurred us on by conjuring up an alternate route lickety-split. So, we veered onto a snow-rutted side road in hopes of still reaching our destination.
Problem: GPS Kate failed to take into consideration the topography of the area. And we failed to consider the repercussion of travelling up a snow covered mountain in the midst of a white out.
At the top of what felt like an endless incline, we were directed to turn left. It was only four miles until we'd reach our new “safer” route, so we ventured onward. And downward. Our speed increased. Fast.
“Slow, down hun.” I tore my eyes from the five feet of headlight in front of us to make sure he had heard my advisement.
He did not break his concentration except to nod with an authority that tried to look confident, but was far from it. “I’m trying.” His body jutted forward and backward against a brake pedal that would not respond. Our velocity continued to build.
We careened around a corner and that was when I started to pray. In the dark that edged our headlights, I inhaled sharply. For the next half mile only a two foot high guard rail separated us from the edge of a black cliff.
“Please, God, help us. Please God, help us.” In that one minute, there was nothing else to do but to call out for help. Spiraling red and blue lights became visible at the base of the hill. There was an intersection ahead. And emergency vehicles were already present.
That descent will forever exist in slow motion - fingers clenched around my scarf, a tension so heavy resting just below my throat, and the whispered words of a repeated prayer. One minute. It felt like forever.
The hill flattened out and we skirted the end of the cliff and slid past the police cars. Untouched. In that one minute, our lives could have veered in so many different directions. But in that one minute, all my other cares and worries were gone. In that one minutes, I was reminded of why I pray.
Sometimes...okay, let's be honest. Often, I forget that I'm not ultimately in control. Sure I can make choices, but at any moment, my life on earth could be over.
Pause. Reflect. Remember to breathe. What if this was you? How would you live differently today?
For me, I am going to pray more. Not just for what I need in a moment of pure fear and lack of control. But for that which I am most grateful. For the beauty of creation. For joy and life. But also for the pain that I know will come. I'll pray that it teaches me where I am blind and how I need to grow. And I'll pray that it not come too often. And that we can all grow without it's presence. At least for today.
This post is part of the weekly Five Minute Friday link-up, inspired by the word : One.
(Sorry for the late entry this week...we did make it to NYC and it tends to leave little time for writing ... but still time for prayer.)