On summer, Sunday afternoons, we always went for a drive after the sun had set; it was finally cool enough to sit in a car with the wind blowing through the open windows. We would check on Dad's warehouse, pick a pop from the soda machine (always Fanta orange for me), or sometimes stop at Baskin Robbins. Pink Bubble gum or Pralines and Cream. Another always.
On one occasion, Dad pulled up to a stoplight, and when it turned green, he hesitated-- I remember the moment so clearly. Without speaking, we were keenly aware of his unusual hesitation.
And then it happened--the reason why he hadn't pushed on the gas pedal. A car came barreling through the opposite red light. Dad was stunned. We all looked to each other, shaken, relieved, but grateful. In that second of recognition, it was frighteningly obvious what would have happened if Dad hadn't hesitated.
That impressionable moment has always made me a green-light-hesitator and when I taught my daughters to drive, it always included many reminders to never proceed through a green light before checking both sides of traffic.
It was just last year, when I finished work, stopped by a sandwich shop for an avocado/veggie on sour dough (the only menu item I ever order), and I was too hungry to wait, so at the red light, I picked up the sandwich and took a bite. When the light turned green, within my mind's eye, I saw my sandwich fly across the car from the impact of another car. So I hesitated, longer than seemed necessary, and the imagined car, now in real life, ran the red light. I was shaken, relieved and grateful.
Today my daughter was driving her family, and she didn't hesitate when the light turned green. She couldn't stop in time when a car tried to sneak in a left hand turn.
Her car totaled, but her family safe, she sent a series of texts while riding in the car of a friend who drove by the accident and gave her family a ride home. The description and shock sent me to my knees in gratitude. When such news hits, it is always accompanied by the imagined possibilities of what could have happened.
The sobering moment made me reach out to other family members to remind them to always check cross traffic before entering an intersection--even when the light is green.
I received an unexpected reply that intensified my gratitude. My daughter wrote, "I actually do the same because of that advice, and one time the light was going to turn green and I heard the Holy Ghost* whisper in your voice saying to look both ways first-- regardless of it being green,-- a few seconds later a truck came speeding through and I would have been t-boned. Thanks Mama--love you."
I love you all too. Enough to remind you again and again to always check before proceeding through a green light.
*When we are baptized, we receive the gift of the Holy Ghost to prompt, inspire and warn. I believe that all mankind may receive promptings and warnings regardless of religious affiliations. I am just thankful for this gift that makes me aware of the potential guidance from a loving God.