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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Break (02/06/06)

TITLE: Reaching For Heaven
By Valora Otis


This trip was my escape! I was shrugging off life’s daily monotony by moving forward. I was finally finding time to think, to breath and to have fun! But most importantly, time to pray about what it was in life that gave me joy!

My friend had provided the long awaited escape. She invited me to travel with her to the University her daughter was attending that fall. It brought back memories of when I had gone off to college myself, some 20 years ago.

“Had it really been that long?” I thought to myself.

It was six hours into the trip as we crossed Iowa and it was my turn to drive. I didn’t feel the least bit concerned about driving in the rain. I had grown up on an Island where it drizzled every day. It was harder than usual to see the road, due to the blind rolling hills. People were going too fast for the conditions.

Claudia and April were napping, trusting me with their safety. I remember the song that was playing,“Strength Beyond My Own, ”filling me with purpose, as I drove mile after mile. It spoke of filling yourself with strength to serve. The Spirit filled me with the need to reach for Heaven in my daily life. It was amazing! It sang to me of understanding and being able “to see beyond this world, the peace to reach for heaven,” and that “it reaches in return.”

I was watching as the next hill loomed before us, while contemplating Heaven and wondering what was on the other side. As I reached the top of the hill, what I saw immediately ahead was something out of a horror movie! A pileup that had no end! I was going 65 miles per hour and had to stop on a dime.

Time stood still as I looked over at my sleeping friend, then at the road. By the grace of a loving Heavenly Father, I stopped the van before I rammed headlong into a yellow V.W. It was then that I started praying out loud, my prayers startling the ladies, waking them abruptly from their dreams into a living nightmare! They jerked awake with reactions of horror to what lay before us.

“You’re going to crash! Oh help!” Claudia shouted!

Or was it my voice that I was hearing?

”Mom!” April screamed, with fear reverberating through her voice. The gruesome spectacle of broken bodies mingled with wreckage, had suddenly appeared.

At that moment, I looked in my right side mirror, as a Black Astro-Van went flying into the ditch, barely avoiding us! My attention was immediately drawn to my rear view mirror. It was then that I saw, with horror, a red 18- wheeler careening toward us.

I prayed to our Father above, that our lives would be spared. In that moment, I missed every wonder my children had shown me, every sweet word my husband had spoken. I realized how blessed I had been.

That’s when our miracle began. I felt a presence surrounding me. Guardian Angels? I prayed that it was!

My head snapped to the left when I heard a deafening metallic noise grinding behind us. The trucker had chosen to spare our lives by ditching his rig in the median.

The truck rolled to the driver’s side as metal and fiberglass shattered while being ploughed through the wet earth. Geysers of dirt flew into the air, spraying the road around us. Time slowed as he lost control, his rig flipping over, tumbling again and again, it had missed us by inches!

I felt Gods love encompass my spirit, in the quiet that followed the Iowa Interstate crash. I was holding my breath as I realized, miraculously, I was alive and tears of terror and elation began to flow, while I drew the first breath that began my new life.

I found my joy as a result of the pileup, the true knowledge of Gods love for me, and the love of my eternal family. The trucker had found “the peace to reach for Heaven” laying down his life in a final act of sacrifice for his fellow travelers.

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Member Comments
Member Date
Gini Branch02/14/06
Felt the moment. Monotony--why do we allow ourselves to get there?