A Flower in the Desert
I gripped the steering wheel and tried to focus on the taillights ahead of me. It was dark and starting to snow. The falling flakes began to hypnotize me and my thoughts drifted to the visit I had just made to my family for New Years. I had moved away from home right after college the previous year, and my job's demanding hours prevented me from visiting home but once every few months. This visit had been especially difficult. I was so confused on what I was supposed to be doing with my life, and I considered myself “stuck”. I felt alone in my struggle, and feared there was no one who could rescue me. I missed home dearly, but there didn't seem to be anything promising for a career there. My friends had almost entirely evaporated, and that was difficult to bear. I had moved closer to my then boyfriend, which disappointed my father the most. I remembered the phone call when I confessed to him that I had lied about visiting friends, and that I had actually been planning on moving closer to my boyfriend. I had cried that entire night feeling like I had let down the one person I could always look to for anything, my dad. Shortly after I had moved near my then boyfriend, he left me. There I was: alone, friendless, depressed, and homesick. Visiting home was a vacation from my loneliness. Leaving that vacation was the hardest part.
The snow began to create a thick slush on the highway and I could feel my wheels being tugged in different directions. Instead of going 70, I was now barely going 30, and I quickly huddled behind a large SUV, following their tracks like a quivering and defenseless forest animal. I dreaded the panic attacked that would ensue. It was late and with no glimpse of any celestial light or plows, I prepared for a long journey ahead.
“Lord,” I prayed desperately, “you have to get me through this.”
Just then the car ahead of me, my only guide through the storm, pulled off to an exit and left me to fend for myself on the treacherous highway.
I did my best to stay the course, but any tracks I could follow were quickly filled in with the heavy snow. Even with my glasses on, I could barely see a foot in front of me. I was three hours away from home and two hours away from where I lived. I was stuck in the middle. Suddenly my car caught a patch of wet snow and began sliding despite my attempts at the breaks. I came to rest on the side of the road, halfway turned around and clueless of how to continue. I thought about calling my dad, but there was little he could do, and I would hate to make him worry more than he already did. In any case my phone battery was nearly drained, and I continued to think, could this get any worse ?
I waited there for what seemed like an hour, but 15 or so minutes later a truck pulled up slowly next to me and stopped, a large gentleman opened the driver's door and stepped onto the highway. My heart began to race. I instinctively pressed the lock button on my door and watched as he neared my window.
He peered in and said a few words I couldn't understand, so I cracked my window open.
“Are you alright?” He stepped closer and looked inside. I think he must have seen the fear on my face because right then a look of pity appeared in his eyes.
“I'm ok,” I lied, “I just can't see enough in front of me to make it very far.”
“Where are you headed?” He looked around at the nearly empty three lane highway.
“You know,” he paused and rested his arm on the top of my car, “I have three daughters, one is about your age. I can't count with all of my fingers and toes the times they have had to call me to come get them off of the side of the road.”
That eased my worry a little bit, “I'd call my dad, but I'm a long ways from home.”
“I see,” he looked down for a minute, “can you get out of this slush?”
“Yes,” I had just put on snow tires a week before.
“Why don't you follow my taillights until you get off on your exit.”
“It's not for another two hours, I was just going to wait for the plows I guess.”
“It's only going to get worse out here, “he kicked some of the snow from around my tire, “and if you were my daughter I'd want to know that you got home in one piece.”
“Thank you,” I said as he headed back to his truck.
The next couple few hours I hugged close to his taillights and stayed in his tracks all of the way to my exit. It took a little over three hours. As I neared my exit I took a closer look at his license plate. Around it was a dealer's name, Kierny's. I knew it well, and it had been about two hours back in a town where a few of my cousins lived. I wondered if the man lived there, because if he had, he had a long way back.
After I pulled off onto the exit and into a gas station, I could see a few plows drive by. The man had turned around and pulled up next to me.
He rolled down his window, “can you make it from here?”
“Yes,” I leaned over the passenger's seat and looked up at him, “thank you so much.”
“Just one dad doing another dad a favor,” he shot me a smile and waved as he headed back on the highway, the opposite way we had come.
I called my dad as soon as I got home and told him the whole story, “you had two fathers looking after you, then; your heavenly father and your roadside father.” He paused and then added, “But I still would've come and drove you home if you needed me.”
To the earthly fathers who love their daughters and the Heavenly Father who answers their prayers. Happy Father's Day!