On a Learning Curve

Life may not be easy, but it's always an adventure.


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In the presence of angels

Many years ago when G was still in diapers and Ryan was deployed, I went on vacation with my parents. We traveled to Maine to get away from the July heat of the East Coast. We were almost successful, too. It was a delightfully chilly 70 degrees at the top of Mt. Washington on the day that we visited; otherwise, the week was fully of record highs and three-digit temperatures.

By the time we flew back to my parents’ place in Virginia, I was ready for a vacation from our vacation. It had been a long week of sunsets past 9 P.M., and I had four more hours of driving ahead of me–with Baby G and two miniature schnauzers. Except that I barely made it across the North Carolina border. I had a flat tire, limited cell service, and nothing to do but wait hopefully for a promised repair truck.

That’s when I first met a pair of angels. Sure, one of them was shirtless, and they arrived in a Camaro, but they were clearly sent to rescue me from the side of an overpass near Elizabeth City. Within ten minutes, they figured out how to work the German-engineered Volkswagen tire iron and replaced my flat with a spare. To show their appreciation, G wailed and both dogs growled and barked incessantly. With frayed nerves, I turned the car around to buy a new set of tires and start again the next day.

There’s much more to this story that I’m not telling you now. Sure, it’s entertaining and complicated, but the point is that these two strangers stopped to help me on a stretch of 17 South that had little traffic that summer day. No, I’m not exaggerating about the shirtless part or the Camaro.

Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares. Hebrews 13:2

Today I met two more angels. It’s a cold, snowy day, and my angels arrived in a snow plow wearing appropriate layers of clothing. One of them was named Nate.

I met Nate and his father today after our Subaru hit an icy patch, slid onto the shoulder of Ivy Road, and landed a hundred yards later on its side in a ditch. G was with me again, and she tried to dial 911 for me before she climbed out of the backseat. She stayed remarkably calm, too.

Nate appeared after I hung up with 911. Because I couldn’t open my car door, Nate climbed into the backseat to help me out. He and his father convinced me to unbuckle my seat belt, and Nate helped me climb safely out of the back seat to his father, who then pulled me up the snowy hillside.

In total, four of our Crozet neighbors stopped to help us, as did a policewoman, a volunteer fireman, and three teenagers assigned to the local fire and rescue station. I am grateful that we live among so many kind, helpful people.

It’s the season of Advent, and we celebrate the angels who announced the Messiah’s birth two thousand years ago. I believe that angels take many forms; some even wear shirts.

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