I am blessed to live in what I consider to be one of the most beautiful parts of the world. And, the valley I call home is one of the most amazing of the beautiful. It can also be harsh and unforgiving territory. A raw and wild part of nature surrounds us here. Part of the beauty here is that you appreciate every serene moment knowing that the weather can change in a 5 minute span. This winter has been no exception to that with bitter cold one minute, snowdrifts that stand above knees, rain and sun are just an hour around these parts.
Recently, I was heading home from my daughters ballet lesson. It’s about a 30 minute drive in the winter (read:I drive like I am 90 on potential ice). When we left the house it was sunny and gorgeous. After a couple of hours we were headed home in what was now pitch black darkness. It was icy enough that with every turn the road made my vehicle was sliding just enough that the kids noticed my tension. My oldest asked what was wrong and I answered her that the roads were bad and I needed to concentrate. I heard her instruct her brother and sister to be quiet…and she started to quietly sing songs with them to keep them busy. (This girls maturity often leaves me stunned.)
There is a stretch of road we have to travel often that is notorious for it’s iciness and danger. There are often accidents in that stretch and I hate driving on it in winter. However, in order to get home we have to cross it. locals call it the “S curves” as its a fast stretch of road heading over a river at the base of a hill. The road itself is a large “S” shape: thus the name. This curve is dangerous. It is also BEAUTIFUL. One of the most stunning landscapes in the area. It also is home to a VERY large lit cross atop a hill. It is a local landmark, placed in memory of a son who was killed on that stretch of road. The cross has been there longer than I have.
It my “safety” as I drive around those curves. At the foot of the cross I am almost home. I have often said to my children “watch for the cross” as a way to let them know we are almost at the end of our journey.
This particular night as the darkness and fog surrounded us, I realized before hitting the curves that the highway lights were out. It was starting to blow snow and honestly, the air in the car was a little thin. We were all on edge. and then my oldest stopped singing and I could hear the sniffling that signals her tears ( she silent cries when she is tense). It was then I heard myself say “It will be OK baby, as long as we can see the cross, just focus on the cross. And pray honey, just pray. Jesus is right here .”
Suddenly, my own tears threatened as I was broken with the realization that I need to remember that in my own life.. not just in some scary stretch of road but, in everything I say, do, think. With every fear if I could just hear Jesus saying ” It’s OK, daughter. Keep your eyes on the cross. Focus on me, I am RIGHT HERE. “
Right now, in this moment, weeks later, I am still stunned and the tears are falling on my keyboard. What an amazing gift. His cross. A reminder of safety. A reminder that death is defeated. A reminder to live in the freedom given by this priceless gift.
A reminder that as Long as we can see the cross we are almost home.