Morning Drive: (my near death experience)
It was a typical morning drive. I drove to work that day like every other day. Same silver-blue convertible BMW, same route, same time, give or take a few minutes, same coffee I always take with me – hazelnut late’. My thoughts always seem to swell while I’m driving. It’s my “me time”. It’s my “rock out in the car to really loud music time”, it’s my “have a little talk with God time”. It’s everyone else on the road’s “who the hec is that crazy person talking to? time.”
The last several years have been a big downer for me. Not that anything extremely devastating has happened. But devastating, life altering, life contemplating things have happened in my life. I made a big move to a new place, I launched three CD’s and left a great ministry as a worship leader behind me, thinking that the future was only going to get brighter. But I had a lot of big let-downs, a lot of disappointing outcomes, and some dream shattering blows of reality hit me. I lost people I believed were my friends, I was misled, betrayed, deceived, abandoned and with what should have been a great new beginning for my music with a big sky before me, I was instead left with a pile of ashes that I have been trying to make sense out of every moment I live and breathe. So, yes, I’ve had a lot of talks with God about it while driving down the road. A lot of questions, a lot of tears, a lot of shouting, and a lot of words that my foolish heart has uttered out of not knowing what else to do or where to go from here. I couldn’t understand why God had let me take this path, this road, this “drive” that had taken my dreams, my hopes, and my beliefs hostage and left my autobiography with many casualties to tell about.
So anyway, back to the morning drive. I starting talking away like I always do…you know, to that invisible person in the seat next to me that no one else can see but me. And I’m telling Him, “This just can’t be it for me. This can’t be the end of my life. I have to believe that You are still there looking out for me, laying the groundwork through all this ash I’m wading through, and that you’re not finished with me yet. I have to believe that the gifts you’ve given and the experiences you’ve brought me through were supposed to mean something more than me just singing my songs in my car to You. I need to hear from You God. I really want You to tell me something, really loud. I need a revelation here. I need to know that this is not just all me and my imagination or personal desires, but that all that You’ve done in me and through me was really YOU making it happen, and that this is just some side road you’re taking me on.”
The last few days I had been really digging back into all my songs, listening to old demos I had put together of never heard or released stuff, looking at lyrics, and recalling the times I had written songs about surrendering everything to Him, no matter what happened. And I started to sing one of those songs with tears welling in my eyes as the lyrics rang out in the car “On my knees I will pray for your wisdom and grace, in this new day I am facing yet once more. Rushing wind blow through my soul. Move me on, let your peace flow. Show the way only You know….I can’t go on if it’s without You. You have led me to this place, and You’re all I know. No I can’t go on if it’s without You. I won’t take another step, I won’t breath another breath…until I know it’s You breathing through me…no I will not go on…without You.”
Ok, road was getting blurry. I had to focus. So I turned on my ipod and listened to some more life contemplating music by Annie Lennox’ on her new release. Great idea. Just made me well up even more.
As I kept driving, music blasting in it’s normal speaker blowing volume, I guess I just needed to keep affirming my prayer in that song. I felt something tell me to just turn off the stereo and sing out again. So I sang it out again. “I can’t go on if it’s without You. You have led me to this place, and You’re all I know, I can’t go on if it’s without You…..” I was about to turn the stereo back on again and then I saw it. That red warning light symbol in my message center that was not there moments before in front of me caught my eye. I had no idea what it meant. It was a symbol and I didn’t know what the symbol meant unless I looked in the owner’s manual which was kind of hard to do driving down the freeway at 75 miles an hour in morning rush hour traffic. So I called my husband to see if he knew what it meant. Of course, he really didn’t know but asked me if the car was doing anything weird. Then all of a sudden the steering wheel started to tighten up and I could barely move it. He told me to get off the road immediately. By the time I got to the shoulder of the highway, my steering wheel wouldn’t move at all, the engine was smoking, the brakes seemed to be a little less brakey, and behind the car was a trail of leakage. Wow. That was just crazy! After looking up the symbols that all started appearing in the owner’s manual, they pretty much said “stop driving immediately and get service.” That was an understatement.
After towing the car to the dealership and having it looked at and estimated for repair, the service center told us that the idler pulley went bad and had spontaneously broken off and the sharp piece of metal had bounced around in the engine and cut about 5 different belts and taken out….drum roll please…..alternator belt, power steering belt, coolant reservoir, which caused me to lose the power steering, power breaks and the radiator coolant. Nice. I had pulled off the road just in time. Any longer and I would have been the latest fatal accident report in Orlando. And the reason I didn’t hear the idler bouncing around in the engine to begin with was because of the stereo. I believe God was tugging on me that morning and told me to turn off the stereo to start singing again. (doo doo doo doo – outerspace Twilight Zone music) If I hadn’t, I don’t know if I would have noticed the warning light in time. I would have just been jamming to the loud music as usual, driving down the highway one minute, and into eternity the next.
Then it hit me. That morning I asked God to speak to me, and to show me in a real way His existence in my life and that He was really watching me, hearing my prayers and seeing my tears, and was going to still keep working things out for me in this life and show me the way. And I remembered the words I sang just seconds before the car steering went out along with everything else…”I can’t go on (literally) if it’s without You.” All I know, is that without God, I have no hope. I have no reason to exist. I have no purpose, I can’t go on living without knowing that He is real and working in my life. I can’t believe that everything is meaningless and we are only here to behave like worker bees in the bee factory, producing honey season after season for no reason, rhyme or purpose. I have to believe that God has an individual route for each of us, but especially for me. I have to believe there is a reason I exist other than becoming a human drone without direction.
I believe God protected me on my morning drive that day. I could have ceased to exist but He protected me and let me know in a really loud way that He was there and that things were still proceeding down the road He had set before me. So I broke down. My car broke down, and my life broke down, but I’m still on the road, just disabled at the moment. I don’t know where I’ll be driving to next once my car of life is repaired. But I know who will be sitting in the seat next to me to let me know when the red warning light has come on. In the words of Swirling Eddie’s: “big surprise we’re still alive!”
This event happened November 1, 2007