A Close Encounter—not the good kind. Seriously!!!!

There is an old Yiddish saying, “Mann Tracht, Un Gott Lacht” that means “man plans, and God laughs.”  Like me, you have probably heard this many times over the years.  Another saying that goes along with that line of thinking is the quote from “To a Mouse” by Robert Burns, “the best-laid plans of mice and men often go awry.”  I was reminded of these quips several days ago when a most scary incident happened that could have ended our lives or caused serious bodily harm.  Our youngest son and his lovely girlfriend, visiting us from NY, requested we all spend a day in Sedona.  We asked Jeremy to drive so he and Aylin could enjoy the amazing views on Interstate 17.  This afforded Jerry the opportunity to sit back and work on a computer (big surprise). Yours truly could “back seat drive” (another big surprise!) Let me assure you my back seat driving abilities vanished, and for once in my life I was speechless when we all thought we were doomed!  A truly vicious driver decided he would make it difficult for us to merge onto the interstate. This meanie was clearly making a game of the situation which forced Jeremy to aggressively accelerate since we were running out of lane. Then the unthinkable occurred. The accelerator stuck, and no amount of pumping the brake or holding it down would slow that beast!!! To his credit, our son remained calm under intense pressure as we rapidly approached a large truck we all thought we’d meet up close and personal.  There were no openings in the left lane and no way to pull off the road at that rate of speed without the risk of………..well, you can just imagine.  There was nothing to do but trust in the Lord to save us, and that’s just what He and our guardian angels accomplished! 

Why was I reminded of the sayings at the beginning of this story and why am I sharing it?  The answer: We were determined to never ever buy another vehicle.   We had maintained our SUV since buying it new in 2008, and it was almost everything we ever wanted in an auto.  Also, my 2007 Mustang is serving us well.  Like we shared on a recent blog “When is Enough Enough?”, we were convinced both of those cars were enough, and to trade in either would be a waste of God-given resources.  Thus, my thoughts of “the best laid plans of mice and men” AND “man plans, and God laughs.  In spite of our noble plans, we know God did not laugh.  We firmly believe He never laughs at any tragedy.  We know He grieves.  We know He spared at least four lives, those in our car and possibly occupants of other vehicles we could have hit. 

Our hearts were warmed when our son said he wouldn’t rest easy until we ditched the old SUV and found a safer vehicle.  Because we had a similar incidence with the old beast several years ago that was perhaps just a fluke, Jerry and I both listened to that still small voice that prompted us to car shop.  Maybe because it was Veterans’ weekend, we were able to get a good deal on a beautiful new Hyundai.  We  both would like to boast this will be the last car we will ever purchase, but after the experience of a few days ago, let’s just say, “the Lord willing, this will  be our last auto purchase before going into the senior home, funeral home, or the heavenly home.” 

Sadly, Interstate 17 all across the Phoenix area has a reputation for being one of the most seriously dangerous highways in the state and maybe even in the Nation. To all of you who have lost loved ones in an auto accident, please take comfort in knowing I prayed for you today. We know the pain and heartache just never goes away. We were all shaken by this experience and reminded again how fleeting is life and how precious are the times to spend with those we love. 


  1. Linda Johnson

    Whew………what a story and what an incredible outcome. God indeed blessed all of you so you can share the story.

    I completely understand (and agree) that we should never be a throw away society and make good use of the things we have. You decided to buy a new car which, given the circumstances is wise, but you are still wonderful examples of people who care for the earth and world and do not waste anything. Love you………Linda

  2. Connie Spilhaus

    When I think of how this “close encounter” almost turned out, a terrible sadness settles on me. The thought of Jeremy and Aylin being injured or worse and how devastating it would have been to their children is awful to contemplate. I’ll focus instead on being very happy to know they visited you in Arizona and look hopefully to the prospect of a wonderful future for them together. XO

  3. Roxanne Lillis

    My daughter and son in law got laughed at by God when they decided to go the medical route after having 4 children. He no more than had his surgery and they ended up with child number 5 who falls right between the two older and two younger children in there family through adoption of a family member in need of new parents. Not the harrowing experience you had, but still God’s way of saying he’s in charge.

  4. Peggy Fowler

    Dear Char,
    SO glad the Lord intervened and rescued you all from that scary situation. Praise His Name!
    On a sad (and yet also glad note), the Lord called Terry Price home to Heaven a few weeks ago. Colene is doing well-has has a great testimony through this. I got my info from Cheryl Carlson Turbett. Terry was their pastor. Much love to you.

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