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A few years ago I was driving with my daughter to her first year of college. We had bought an old Honda Accord that she was going to use so we drove up together and then I flew home. Her college has a system where students can start their year in August and finish in April or start in January and finish in July. She was on this second track, so we were driving from Texas to Idaho in late December.
A few miles west of Green River, Utah, you get off I-70 and head north on Highway 6 toward Price. Snow had fallen sporadically during the day and left a light coating on the ground. The wind was blowing the fallen snow, which made it hard to see the road and it was getting dark. She was driving at the time, but we decided (or I did, more likely) that I should do the driving since I had spent several years in Michigan and she had never driven in the snow.
Just after exiting I-70, she pulled off the road but too quickly. I don’t think she was able to see where the pavement ended. After a few moments of panic, she finally got the car stopped on the shoulder. I was about to vent my frustration when I turned and saw the look of fear in her eyes. It stopped any rebuke cold and instead I tried to comfort her. At least I think I did. She may have seen my anger and may only remember that instead of anything I said. After we both calmed down, we got out of the car and found a punctured tire and, after removing all of her college gear, a flat spare.
That part of Utah is lonely country and it was already about 10 degrees Fahrenheit with night coming quickly. I was scared we might have to spend a long night waiting to flag down some help. Fortunately, we were close enough to Green River for cell reception and I found a tow-truck and tire shop that hadn’t closed. After a couple of hours delay, we were back on our way with no real harm done.
I took stock of many things to be grateful for while riding in the tow truck. The accident had occurred close enough to town and at a time where we could get help. The extra cost of the tires was unfortunate, but I had the money to pay for them and she would have new tires designed for cold and snow. Most importantly, she had learned a lesson about the dangers of snow and ice with minimal cost and danger. She was really scared and I knew it would make her a better driver when she was on her own. I would have rather kept the cost of the tires, but it was a small price to pay if it meant she would be a safer driver.
This isn’t an isolated incident. I have found that there are always hidden blessings in even the most difficult challenges. I know that this is a minor incident compared to what many people have to face and I’m not trying to minimize anyone’s suffering. I simply want to express gratitude that God is looking out for us even more when the skies are darkest. He shows us that He is there in the silver linings of the clouds.Published in