When I was 16 years old, I was following my dad to drop off a car at the mechanic. Along the way, my tire blew out. I didn’t have a cell phone, I didn’t know how to change a tire, and I didn’t know what to do. So I sat on the side of the road for an hour hoping that dad would eventually figure out where I was and find me. It was slightly traumatizing for me, and one of my biggest fears is breaking down on the freeway.
I have been feeling a bit on the edge of my limits lately. I occasionally have flair ups of intense pain in my neck and jaw, and I’m going on 3 weeks of the worst flair up I’ve ever had. Nothing that I do seems to make a difference, and it’s consumed most of my energy just to make it through the day. The combination of this plus the end of my internship has put me in bit of an emotional whirlwind.
So when my car made a huge THUNK on the freeway this morning, complete with the check engine light and the smell of something burning, I felt like I couldn’t handle it. One of the hardest parts of living far away from family and close friends is that I feel like I don’t have anyone I can call when I’m in trouble. My family and friends I have invested in – we’ve helped each other, and I’ve invested so I feel like it’s ok if I ask for help. I hate inconveniencing people. And in Texas, the closest person I have who I feel like I can call is 4.5 hours away.
However, I have AAA just for such occasions. I happened to break down where two freeways split, so not on the side of the road, but in between 5 lanes of high speed traffic. I was too nervous to even get out of my car. Tears were rolling down my face before I was even connected to the right dispatcher.
Imagine my surprise when a jeep pulled up behind me and out popped a girl from my church. She didn’t know it was me – she had driven past me on her way to church, thought about stopping but said to herself that she didn’t know anything about cars, but the feeling to turn around and go back came harder and stronger, so she did. And she sat with me for 90 minutes in her brand new car with traffic swirling around (12 cars almost hit us, including a semi), waiting for the tow truck to finally show up. And she happens to live and work in the same places I do, so she’s giving me a ride to work tomorrow.
Without her help, I would have been scared and nervous. I would have been on the side of the freeway for 90 minutes in 100 degree weather without air conditioning. I wouldn’t have had a way to make it to church, or a way to work in the morning. In essence, she turned an extremely traumatic experience into a tender reminder that the Lord is aware of me, that He knows what’s going on, and He answers my prayers, even the ones I haven’t offered yet.
I’m so grateful for technology and air conditioning. For mechanics and tow trucks. For a loving Heavenly Father who takes care of me. And for amazing people who listen to random promptings that save the emotional well-being of others.