About four or so years ago I had spent a Saturday with my dad. We did what we normally do, go shopping and then out to lunch. When I dropped him off at home he was being particularly annoying. He told me “the headlights are dirty,” so he pulled out his hanky and started wiping them down for me. He then asked me to put my flashers on so he could check my blinkers, which lead to him wiping down my windshield.
I finally had enough of this and said “Dad I gotta go! Just let me drive off, I will be fine, I’ll call you when I get home, ok!?” He reluctantly kicked my tires and backed away from my Prius so I could pull out from the curb. I should add that this was during winter and a thick blanket of snow covered the country side. As I pulled away he yelled “watch out for drifts on the death road. There could be black ice, ok!” I yelled back “ok I will drive slow,” and waved goodbye as I pulled into the street.
The death road is a very hilly section of HWY 61 that crossed corn fields with little to no snow fences along the roadway. It’s known for drifts and accidents. The road is very busy and due to that it’s well maintained in the winter. On the outskirts of Meisville I cranked up the tunes and settled in for the drive through the country side.
There was little to no wind that day so the road conditions were actually good. I had gone through the first few hilly sections and made my way to the straight which is just a mile or so outside of New Trier. As I crest the hill I could see cars with flashers on in the distance. “Oh great,” I thought. As I got closer the details of the accident came into view and I felt a pit in my stomach.
It had just occurred, police and ambulance/fire weren’t even on the scene yet. In the road laid a jumbled snowmobile and on the side was the trailer it had just fallen of off. The snowmobile was not properly secured on the trailer and it had come loose. It flew into the front of a pickup truck, bounced into the roadway and another car hit it. That second car went into the ditch, while the now smashed up snowmobile sat in the road. A third car hit it head on. The height of the pickup truck saved the driver, if he had been in a car the snowmobile would have landed in the cab. Thankfully there were no major injuries besides smashed up cars and wounded egos.
As I was driving away from the scene it hit me. If my dad had not been particularly annoying that day and made me 10 minutes late, I would have been behind the truck towing the snowmobiles. The snowmobile would have come loose and landed straight in my windshield and I would have been gone. I was overcome with the gravity of the near miss that I pulled into Dan’s parking lot to call my dad. I had to tell him what happened.
And he said “that’s a God Moment. That’s God looking out for you. Had you of left when you wanted to, you’d be dead or laying in an ambulance waiting for Mayo One to land.” He was right, if he had not been particularly annoying that day my story might have been different.
That day was a bit of a wake up call and caused me to reflect. All of us can think of moments where something should have happened to us, but for some reason out of our control we either missed it or walked away unscathed. Maybe your kids misplaced your keys which caused you to leave late and you hit the rush hour grind. At first you were probably frustrated until you turned on the radio only to hear about a 20 car pile up. You feel that little knot in your stomach and realize that your keys went missing for a reason. If you had left on time you would have been in that pile up that is now snarling up the freeways. Fate stepped in and said “not today friend.”
I used to live in uptown Minneapolis which is a huge bike riding PBR drinking hipster community. One particular morning I was in a rush and forgot my laptop so I had to turn back home. I grabbed my laptop, got back in the car and started heading into to work, all be it late. As I turned the corner I saw a bike laying in the road, I thought “that’s not right.” And then it’s rider came into my view. I didn’t hesitate, threw my car in park and went straight for the rider. He had been hit by a car and his leg was a real mess. I didn’t know this man, he was a complete stranger, but in that moment I was all he had. I knew if he saw his leg this situation was going to turn south, so I kept his head still while calling 911. I stayed, I talked to him, and kept him as calm as I possibly could until help arrived. As they were loading him in the ambulance he reached for my hand as he mouthed thank you. As I turned to answer the officers questions I felt that familiar knot in my stomach. The knot that told me he was the reason I forgot my laptop that morning, God knew he needed a helper, so he sent me.
God Moments can be simple too. Maybe you forgot an item and you had to double back in the store only to find a little old man struggling to get an item off the shelf. You are not an asshole so you ask “need some help?” In that moment you change the course of his day, you are a reminder that good people still exist in this world.
Maybe you are in a hurry and racing through target to get home before the snow hits. You grab your soup, milk, and bread and head to the checkout line like you are running a marathon. Only when you get there you find that the lines are backed up. At first you are annoyed, until you see the mama two carts ahead of you struggling to wrangle her kiddo while dealing with a crying baby. You pause as you wait and strike up a conversation with her little one. You offer her a smile and tell her “it’s all right, we were all little once.” In that moment you changed her course, your simple gestures reminded her that kindness still exists.
God Moments can be big or small. God Moments can be extraordinary or simple. God Moments can be life changing or life saving. Those moments serve as reminders that we are not in control of our timeline.