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The Car “Wreck”

August 17, 2011
White strip is the tree the car rests upon. (Taken the next morning.)

About a month ago Nicky and I had a little accident. We were driving a load of military surplus mattresses to Camp UTIBACA  in Utah. The bonus was that we would get a short visit with Bear (Ellen) and David who were on staff this summer.

The accident was really pretty anti-climactic. It was already dark and the camp area (and especially the dirt road) was thoroughly wet from a heavy thunderstorm about an hour before we arrived. As we neared the camp property, the road became noticeably slippery with a greasy clay. We slowed down to put the Suburban in 4-wheel-drive,  got too close to the road edge and simply slid off.

Even in the moonlight, we immediately knew was that there was no “road edge,” we were on a steep incline that dropped about 40 feet. The car came to a gentle rest with the front quarter panel against a small aspen tree that was 5 inches in diameter. I watched that tree slowly give way until we came to a full stop. The driver’s side wheels were hanging powerlessly above the road base.

We were able to text someone at camp for a rescue.  We left the car running and did not attempt to leave the vehicle ourselves because we had no way to gauge the precarious position we were in.

While we waited (it always seems like forever), so many thoughts ran through my head. I had been in this situation before…. as a camper at a camp in my junior high years….. a hayride on the first night of camp, a large flatbed truck coming rolling off the mountain road and coming to rest against 7 small trees…. a counselor, Cheryl, had died.

Nicky was driving and I was pretty sure she could get clear of the car, but would the her movement cause the tree to lose more of its fragile grip on the hillside? Would I be able to crawl from the passenger seat, over the console, and out the door? I was temped to send out a mass “I love you” text, but resisted the urge, knowing that I have the ability to be a bit dramatic.

Obviously, help arrived, and we are all safe and sound. The tree held through the night even though the car settled a bit to let the rear wheel rest on the road. The owner of the towing company in Ephraim is an off-road enthusiast up for a challenge. A few hours, four vehicles, two paid men and several volunteers, with chains, winches, and come-alongs, and we were back on the road.

Almost ready to move it.

A hefty towing bill and a small dent are all that remain to remind me. That and a huge spiritual lesson. If anyone tries to tell you that a tree held our Suburban up, don’t believe it for a second. It is the Hand of God that gives, sustains, and protects life. Our physical beings are in his sovereign control. He is King.

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