It all started with my husband and I driving to our house in another town that we rent out. We were meeting a prospective renter to show the place. We walked in the house. It was freezing cold. My husband walked up the stairs to the thermostat in the hallway and skidded along the floor. We looked down and the entire floor was a skating rink. We skated along the hallway to the bathroom and the all the air in my lungs vanished.
The entire floor was covered in ice as thick as 3 inches. The tub was filled with ice. The sink and toilet were overflowing with ice. After we caught our breath we looked around the house. The basement bathroom looked much the same but with water instead of ice. It was very surreal.
Suddenly our pre-planned day of renting our vacant home then continuing along our way to a relaxing and refreshing retreat in Banff for the weekend ended.
Instead we got down on our hands and knees in a freezing apartment with a screwdriver from our vehicle. My husband chipped at the ice and I loaded the chunks into a bucket we found then carried them outside.
We assume the pipes froze and burst and then the furnace went out or vice versa. The furnace had a frozen waterfall all down the front of it. The basement walls had frozen water trails. I mean, I love waterfalls but this wasn't nearly as lovely and majestic as the ones I had hoped to see today!
It took a couple hours and a borrowed garden spade to finally free the hallway and bathroom from its frozen clutches. Then we loaded our freezing bodies into our van and hit the road for our original destination.
Later as we were travelling through the mountains towards our retreat location we witnessed another skating of sorts. A vehicle, two cars ahead of us, travelling at a speed of around 110 km along the dark highway started to spin in several 360 degree circles. The air in my lungs held fast as we watched this car dance across two lanes, skimming the edge of the curvy highway. The flash of the headlights across our faces ticked the seconds as we watched stunned. The car spun around and around and around.
Then the car came to a stop resting perpendicular across the major highway. Amazingly nothing happened. The spinning car did not hit any of the traffic around it; no one else spun out of control trying to stop, and the little car remained on the highway the entire time. Then as soon as it began ... it ended. The driver of the car slowly pulled back in line with traffic and continued on down the highway.
It took me several minutes to regain full composure and breathe normally. I remember feeling afraid, shocked and extremely thankful that no one was hurt. I praised God and then I prayed that the driver of that little car would be doing the same thing.
Life can change on a dime. One minute you're trucking along in your life and the next you are spinning out of control on thin ice. Or ice that is 3 inches thick. I realized at that moment that I take so many things for granted. For instance:
- that my furnace will always work when it drops down to -35 in January
- that my car will stay on the road
- that my husband will come home after work
- that my job will be there tomorrow
- that my health will continue
- that my family are all safe - no matter where they are
- that within my own home I am safe
I could go on. But I won't.
How about you? Do you take the small things (or the big things) in your life for granted? What I witnessed today put a few things in perspective for me. The only thing I can know of for sure is Jesus. He is the only constant. Everything else can spin wildly out of control at any unforeseen moment. He is my Rock.
I praised Him today. (Not that that is new.) Instead of fearing and stressing over the mess and cost and inconvenience of the destruction to our rental home I praised Him. My husband and I agreed to be glad it didn't happen while a renter was living there. We were thankful that we have insurance. And that we checked on the house just one week prior. We were grateful that we had decided to squeeze the trip in - even though it meant driving way out of our way. But mostly I praised Him because He was there. And He is here. With me. No matter what.
Now my little ice adventures might not be life changing. In fact, I am grateful they weren't. We are still alive, we are well, we are resting peacefully in a beautiful hotel in Banff. But I learned a simple lesson that God is always with me. I just have to choose to see Him.
I hope the driver of the small car - believer or not - saw and recognized the moment for what it truly was. God save many lives today on that ice. And for that we should all praise Him.