Oh, deer!

Luke and I were out making deliveries last night. My new book, Waiting with Mary; Advent Reflections for Those Who Hate to Wait is hot off the press and we had a few customers who wanted them for weekend events.

We weaved down a tree-lined suburban road toward the Schoenstatt Retreat Center in Waukesha, when suddenly Luke yelled, “Whoa! Mom! Look out!”

“What’s the matter?” I shot back as I slowed the van.

“Didn’t you see that deer?” Luke was incredulous. “He was right there by the side of the road! And I think there was another one behind it. You’d better go real slow through here.”

“No, I didn’t see a thing,” I admitted, embarrassed.

I looked at the clock. Sure enough. It was coming up on the nine o’clock hour.

A chill shivered down my spine as I remembered the serious car accident we had in November of 2006. We were driving down an Iowa country road, on the way to the home of some very special friends of ours. It was just coming up on the nine o’clock hour and I was thinking about our Schoenstatt Fathers’ nightly nine o’clock custom of sending a blessing to all the Schoenstatt Family and anyone else wishing to receive the blessing. Suddenly, Mark yelled, “Look out!!”. Then, WHAM!! CRUNCH!! We hit the broad side of a deer; a second deer right behind it. The collision knocked out the headlights and send the van careening out of control on an unlit country road with a steep shoulder on each side. It shook us and did some hefty damage to our van. It also did some nasty stuff to my neck and back that lasted a few months afterward. Thanks be to God that the others weren’t hurt.

After the accident, the state trooper showed me with his flashlight that we’d come within a few inches of going off the shoulder. We could have rolled the van and been seriously injured or even killed, he told me. That story rang in our hearts and minds for a long time afterward, as we marveled at God’s strength and goodness. He could have brought us to ruin. Instead, he held us mightily in his loving fatherly hand.

It was the same as last night while Luke and I were driving. Those deer could easily have lept out in front of the van and we could have been in another accident. Instead, God held us mightily in his loving fatherly hand.

On the way back home, I contemplated this and began to chuckle. Only recently, I’d confided in a friend that lately I’ve felt that God’s been unusually (and perturbably) silent to me. The deer incident of last night was a gentle slap on the hand, so to speak, to let me know that he might not be a talkative as I’d like him to be, but he’s still there holding me mightily with his fatherly hand.

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