Tuesday, November 18, 2008

The Last Goodbye

The fog lay softly like a thick, warm, wool blanket across the expanse before us. “We only have three days,” I reminded myself silently. I could see each and every bone under the skin as I used my knuckles to grip the steering wheel with fervent intensity. At 2:15 a.m., Clyde slept next to me on the passenger seat of our Silver Taurus. His low, gentle breathing gave me permission to breathe as well. “We only have three days. It’s not enough time, but it was all we have.” I thought again. I became determined not to waste a single minute for sleep or to wait for the dense, soupy fog to lift. The day was Friday, March 9th, 2007. My son would marry his darling sweetheart the next day at the St. George Temple. Our plane home would leave the tarmac from Las Vegas on Monday. Time to spend with our kids was precious, and I wasn’t about to allow something like impenetrable fog to stand in my way. We promised to be in Ephraim, Utah, by mid morning; then we, as a family unit, would make the additional drive to Enoch, the home of my soon-to-be daughter-in-law.
So I had to keep driving. There was no choice in my mind about it. The fog hit suddenly without warning. The night was inky black. No moon and few stars to light our path. Just our headlights provided the necessary illumination to show the path before me. Now that we had driven into the fog, the headlights became a hindrance rather than a help. It felt as though I had unknowingly traversed into the deepest, darkest ocean. I imagined my car to be dolphin swimming alone far from the starry lights above. Now the fog had become a net, set to entrap and immobilize me. I would have none of it. “We only have three days!”
Deciding quickly I needed assistance, I uttered a strong and confident prayer, muttering, “Father, I have to focus on the road ahead. I cannot see. Please help me to not kill us so our family can be together for our three short days.” I closed in the Savior’s holy name, sure that an answer would come. Within one minute the first miracle took place. From the right in my peripheral vision, I noticed glimmering lights moving through the thick atmosphere. At first, my mind could not process what was there, having to completely focus on the pavement moving rapidly underneath the headlights. Small, red and orange lights appeared, which were stretched in a linear pattern.
Then, suddenly a large, gray mass entered the road in front of me. It was a semi adorned with track lights all over the trailer it hauled. A way had been provided; lights that I could now move my focus to and follow with assurance. I saw a huge humpback whale that had become entangled in glorious, colorful Christmas tree lights. I knew the dolphin would find its way through the murky, ensnaring blackness.
My breathing eased to a more, steady pattern, my fingers released some of the pressure off the steering wheel, and my shoulders returned to a more comfortable position. Thirty minutes later, the Christmas tree truck, as I had affectionately named it in my imagination, exited the freeway. My initial impulse was to follow behind, but my head shook of its own accord. I would keep moving forward, stopping only for fuel. I repeated that refrain again as I had the many hours prior, “We only have three days.” I stubbornly, yet assuredly knew help would come. I said goodbye to the beautiful, gray whale lit up like Christmas and thanked him for his help. A second later another semi pulled in front of our car. Another Christmas tree truck lit up in the identical pattern as its predecessor would shine in front of me, allowing me to continue my journey westward as safely as possible. This was the second miraculous answer to my earnest prayer and I gave thanks to Father in Heaven again.
After approximately 45 minutes, that Christmas tree truck turned on his right blinker, and I smiled. Could it happen again? Would I be so fortunate? I reflected quickly on my feelings and decided to remain on the road, moving forward. I looked to my right as if I already knew what would be there. I nearly forgot my second thanks and goodbye to the trucker who safely guided me the middle leg of my foggy journey. The third, identical Christmas tree truck entered the roadway and tears sprang to my eyes.
This was an amazing experience, and I was probably the only person on earth to witness what was happening. I could see Father smiling kindly, blinking his large eyes, and perhaps even chuckling a bit at my amazement. Within 20 minutes, the fog began to dissipate becoming less and less dense. Then it was gone. The roadway was black in front of me as the white dashes in the middle of the road reflected my headlights and became my new compass. I passed the trucker slowly, waving my hand and attempting to show my appreciation for his help amid the soupy darkness. He waved and smiled back at me, seeming to show he understood my feelings. I said my last goodbye.
Three earthly saviors had come just at the very moment I needed them most. Father had sent them, and I prayed they each would be blessed. As I had time to reflect on the previous couple of hours, I realized an important lesson for all of us. Heavenly Father may not remove the deep and assailing fogs that block or hinder our progress, but He can provide the light necessary to see our way through as we exercise our faith in Him.

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