Monday nights I drive to our local college for Sign Language Classes. I've been really enjoying the drive these last few weeks as I get to actually leave during the remaining day light, instead of the pitch blackness of deep winter.
Last night I left a few minutes earlier than usual. And I do mean minutes. Maybe even 45 seconds. But it made all the difference.
We live on a dead end street with 2 stop signs before you reach the main highway that goes through our small town. As I approached the first stop sign I saw a van driving towards me from the 2nd stop sign at a high rate of speed. So fast in fact, that when he reached the top of the hill at that 1st stop sign (right where I was coming to a nice full stop) he actually caught air. That's right: this GMC Safari actually had all four wheels off the ground. I watched in amazement through my rear view mirror as the vehicle landed, skidded and swerved, and, with some difficultly, came to a stop. They then turned around and drove back out to the highway where I saw them race though town, passing me in the process. As I followed them (at a distance now, because of their speed) I saw them enter the parking lot of our local Tim Hortons. I stopped at the Petro Can across the street and called 911 on the pay phone to report the reckless driving I witnessed. Whether or not the police were able to follow through on the call, I don't know. The van left TIm's before the Police arrived. And as I expected, they drove exceedingly fast towards the city down the highway, and disappeared into the darkening night.
What struck me is two things: 1st, how angry I was and indignant at the audacity of these young men, going for a joy ride in such a reckless way. 2nd, how thankful I am that I left just those few seconds earlier. Had I not, I would have been in the middle of the road as they were trying to gain control of their vehicle after their short flight. It would not have gone well for me, I'm sure. This led to a thought of "What if the neighbors were out on the road on their snowmobiles, like they sometimes do in the evening? What if the neighbor was walking her dog? What if my children were on the edge of the road playing in the piles of snow left by the snow plow?...."
And then I was even more angry. People often say "It only affects me, so who cares" about all kinds of behaviour: smoking, reckless driving, even homosexual relationships. Society is such a self-centered, individualist mess that there is no sensitivity or considerations of others. In a world where tolerance and acceptance are preached (meaning 'anything goes') all I see is an increasing lack of concern for how one's actions affect others. This boys thought they were having fun; they could have killed someone. Maybe they did. Maybe I'll find out that later that evening they were involved in a serious car accident. Who knows.
What I do know, is that I'm thankful for the Lord's timing and protection for me and my family last night. "The Lord will guard your going out and your coming in from this time forth and forever more." Psalm 121:8