Lapping sounds penetrated my sleep and stirred me from my dreams.
I waited for my eyes to adjust to the half-light. Drops pattered on the outer shell of the tent.
I groaned. Camping and rain definitely did not produce harmony, especially when three adults, two children, and a dog shared the same tent, no matter how ample the interior.
But what was making those noises?
Rolling on my side I felt for my husband, but he wasn't there.
"Lance," I whispered. "Where are you?"
Something flopped down heavily on the opposite side of the tent.
"Mickey!" protested Paulina, our preteen daughter. "Not on me!"
Our black lab whimpered, pushed from the top of her sleeping bag.
"You're finally awake." Lance's voice came from the general area of the protests.
"What were those noises?" I asked.
"Mickey was drinking water from the corner of the tent."
I pushed myself to a sitting position. "Where did the water come from?"
"Didn't you hear the rainstorm last night?"
Lance responded in an exasperated tone. "Of course you didn't. While you were sleeping peacefully, my side of the air mattress and sleeping bag was getting soaked."
"But I thought you had waterproofed the tent seams."
"Most of them. I guess I know which ones leak now. Besides, you pushed me up against the side of the tent last night and the rain soaked through!"
"I'm sorry," I sympathized. "But why are you over there?"
"It was the only dry space I could find!"
Mickey got to his feet and gave himself a mighty shake to renewed protests.
"Better get up," Lance said. "We have a lot of cleaning to do."
We sopped up water and bundled wet things into our van amidst grumbling.
Our plans for the day had not included a Laundromat visit. Why had God put our vacation on hold?
None of us were 'happy campers.'
After a miserable breakfast, we got in the van and on the road. The only thing worse than being cramped in a soggy tent was to be tightly confined in a smaller space with all of us and our sodden bedding and clothes. None of us spoke for several miles.
Suddenly Leandra, our oldest, exclaimed, "Look there!" and pointed.
Two women knelt on the gravel beside a third person lying halfway in the ditch. A young man stood close by and a pickup truck lay on its side a short distance away.
Parking our van beyond the accident scene, Lance bolted from the door.
"Leandra, stay with the girls," I commanded as I left the van. "And pray."
When I arrived at the small group of huddled figures, my husband was easing a pillow under the injured girl's head.
She's so young, I thought to myself, younger than Leandra!
"She's eleven weeks pregnant," one of the women said, "With a head wound and a pretty bad gash on her arm."
The two women identified themselves as home health nurses on their way to their next assignment. One held a towel around the injured arm and raised it. The other held a towel to the girl's head.
"I'm sleepy," the girl muttered.
"Don't go to sleep!" one woman warned.
"What's your name?" the other asked.
I brushed at a mosquito that had landed on Beth's arm. Feeling my fingertips on her skin, she looked up at me.
"Just a mosquito, Beth," I soothed. "Help is on its way."
The young man who was hovering around us dropped to his knees beside her and held her hand.
I sensed an urgency to pray for these young people, now, before the moment passed.
I hesitated. "Beth, can I pray for you?"
"I don't know. I guess so," she whispered.
I prayed for her, for Michael, for their unborn child. When I finished one of the women agreed, "Thank you, Jesus. Amen."
The ambulance had arrived and the scene became a bustle of activity.
Before leaving I paused.
"Beth?" She looked at me. "I just want you to know that I'm going to keep on praying for you, your baby, and your husband."
As Lance and I got into our van, one of our daughters asked, "Is she dead?"
I thought, without a Savior Beth and Michael were dead. God had the entire morning planned so that we would be there at the right time.
"Kids," I answered, "Let's pray."
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