41: My Interstate Navigator

41: My Interstate Navigator

From Chicken Soup for the Soul: Angels and Miracles

My Interstate Navigator

Not everything we experience can be explained by logic or science.

~Linda Westphal

I was zooming down Interstate 80, heading east in Pennsylvania. The beautiful mountains covered with lush greenery loomed above both sides of the highway. Every few miles a farm appeared nestled among the rolling hills. It was a beautiful day with no weather issues and very little traffic.

But I couldn’t really enjoy it. I was rushing to Lehigh Valley Hospital, where my mom had suffered a setback. She had called me at work just two hours before, crying that she needed me. As her daughter and a nurse, I couldn’t ignore her plea. I left work and drove home to throw some clothes into a suitcase and let my husband know where I was going and why.

In an effort to calm my mother, I had promised her, “I’ll be right there.” What was I thinking? It was a three-hour trip.

Ahead I saw a large tractor-trailer laden with lumber. The load was held in place with multiple straps. As I looked at the trailer, I started to feel uneasy.

A voice said clearly, “Those straps are going to break.”

“What?” I asked incredulously.

The voice elaborated. “The straps are going to break and that lumber is going to spill onto the road.”

“Holy Mother of God!” I thought, panicked at what the voice was telling me. I was a few car lengths behind the truck and we were both moving at about seventy miles per hour.

The voice urged, “Pass him. Get away from him. Do it now!”

I obeyed, but when I pulled into the passing lane, the truck accelerated. This was creepy. I increased my speed enough to overtake the truck and kept an eye on the hazardous load.

Horrified, I watched as the straps holding the stacks of lumber in place started snapping, one by one, and twirling around uselessly in the air. Everything seemed to be happening in slow motion. When the third strap broke, the lumber started to shift.

The voice said authoritatively, “Pedal to the metal; get away from him as fast as you can.”

I didn’t question the voice. I floored it.

As my small sedan pulled away from that big truck, I watched the scene unfold in my rearview and side view mirrors. The stacks of wood rotated sideways and cascaded onto the road. The first pieces missed the back of my car by a few feet. I saw the truck slow down and could see the look of horror on the driver’s face as he realized what was happening. He could clearly see the lumber slide off his truck onto both eastbound lanes of Route 80.

I safely pulled away and my speed returned to normal as I viewed the spectacle in the rearview mirror. I watched as the trucker brought his vehicle to a stop.

I offered up a prayer of thanks for having heard the voice. There was no doubt in my mind that God was my navigator on the interstate that day.

~Nancy Emmick Panko

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