A Robot Heritage

On that morning eight years ago, the humidity hung heavy in the air. Temperatures would inevitably rise throughout the day creating an oven within the lab, but he paid it no heed. The weather being the least of his concerns. It was the faces that filled his eyes and touched his soul all priming with unrealized potential that held his focus. Uncertainty flooded his mind. His job would no doubt be an uphill climb to help the students before him realize and cultivate their capabilities.

It was mid August and there within the folds of time, he saw himself in the same classroom, in the same chairs as a student eager for instruction. The bunch before him, however, held a different set of priorities and the challenges ahead were far more than that for which he’d bargained. Though the year drug on and threatened to do him in time after time, he clung to the dream over thirty years in the making. Even with the stress of nightly classes to pursue his teaching license and a part-time job to supplement the income he’d lost upon accepting this position, he held fast to one truth. This job was his calling. God had orchestrated every piece and sustained him thus far; he wouldn’t just walk away from it nor give up on his students.

Those first two years were the toughest he’d experienced with even more classes in the summers and weeknights and extra work on the side to keep up with household demands. He even contemplated an offer to return to production with a generous swing in salary. But in the end, though the number was enticing, he knew where he needed to be.

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Opened Eyes

Today I almost died.

I realize how dramatic that sounds. As if that statement was only some lame stab at attention. Where once you gasp I whip back the curtain to reveal the opposite side of the story and how really death loomed no closer than any other typical day. But this isn’t one of those occasions. No smoke and mirrors. No magic. It’s what happened. Today, I almost died.

Time. It seemed to suspend while racing ahead all at once. There I was dipping and rising, bending and turning like I do nearly everyday on the roadways around my home. We live in beautiful hill country. It just comes with the territory.

This particular portion of the main road, immediately after a wide span of houses, is flanked on each side with tall trees, overgrown brush and yet another hill. There, tucked behind nature’s expanse opposite the embankment sits a dirt road which intersects the main highway. All but hidden from view. A driver has but seconds to respond should a vehicle emerge but the road is scarcely traveled and even so, it’s rare indeed to see another motorist crossing the highway there.

Today, however, just before my black SUV crested the hill into his line of sight, a semi truck driver pulled up to that blind corner. He must have been lost. That’s all I can figure. He looked my direction, then the other, I’m sure. But while his head was still turned, he pulled his foot from the clutch and eased on the gas to engage the large engine into motion and cross my lane of traffic. He swung back his gaze just in time for our eyes to meet as my vehicle rounded the curve and began the short descent aimed directly at his.

Time. I’ve relived this moment now a hundred times over. It still pauses. Each time it moves forward in slow rhythm, frame by frame just as it did in those seconds.

I saw his tires lurch forward. I saw him spin the large steering wheel to point the outfit my direction before he looked up to see me coming. I heard my own voice shout “No” as if it were someone else’s. I saw papers and shopping bags and books in the front seat begin to fly towards the dash as my brakes tried to halt all forward momentum of my vehicle.

Almost like a dream I could see the details. Like an out-of-body experience even while I watched the scene play out from behind pedals. I saw the middle-aged man’s tousled brown hair in the driver’s seat. Sunlight as it beamed off the large stainless steel tank on the trailer behind the red cabbed truck.

Time.

Then, as if my mind were in a time zone all its own, the clock sped up. I saw my car plow headlong into the side of that steel tank and twist beneath the forces colliding. Metal bending metal. My life caught in a whisper between now and eternity. There, with my foot on the brake and my arm outstretched to keep things righted in the front seat the inevitable laid out in front of me. I knew it was coming. In rapid succession I saw what would happen. Sounds all but dissipated around me.

Yet, then, as if everything slammed back into the present, I watched the outcome transformed. Before my eyes I watched the entire rig jolt in a violent attempt to stop. Somehow it came to rest halfway into my lane even as it still shuddered from the sudden brake. The driver flopped helpless against the momentum nearly hitting his head on the steering wheel. When he gained control, bewilderment was etched into the expression he wore.

I was able to swerve into the opposite lane with no oncoming traffic and miss the rig altogether. And like that, it was as if nothing happened. My kids chattered in the backseat like always. They asked me questions about what the rest of the day held as I drove the last few miles back to the house.

I backed the car in the garage and killed the engine. The door closed and the kids skipped into the house. But I sat. Wide-eyed. Amazed. Because though I’ve had close calls before, I’ve never known with such clarity that God altered time to save my life.

Open eyes. That’s what I’ve been praying for: open eyes. And open eyes is exactly how God answered. He pulled back the curtain of time to show me so clearly this moment I could have, should have, left my family for the other side of eternity but God. Stepped. In.

Memory will allow this scene to fade, melting into the sea of countless other segments that make up my hours and days. I can feel the slow fade beginning already. But what I cannot let go of is this rush of elated peace and joy that gives me a new sense of awe over God’s story. How He saved my life. I cannot allow time to lull me back to sleep and miss the frames that one by one reveal the plot line and the heart of the Storyteller Himself. Today, I caught just a glimpse. Just five seconds of a heightened sixth sense; an awareness of the eternal hand of God active in my physical realm. Today, I saw God. Move.

Oh Lord, that that would stay with me always.
And oh friend, that you would know it too.

The Dawn is Breaking

Nearly two months ago, the night sky had grown dark and the cold air set in as I watched from a hospital window the pre-Christmas bustle. It seemed my world had screeched to a sudden halt as the rest of the town went about business as usual. The clock on the wall seemed to tick away each passing minute more slowly than the last. With despair gripped around my throat like I’d never before known, I played spectator to my husband’s pain; to what seemed in those moments a losing battle.

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Afterward We Will

What I am doing you do not understand now, but afterward you will understand.

John 13:7

It was a time of celebration. The temperatures would have dropped with nightfall that early spring evening. The men gathered in that upper room knew nothing of the commonalities coming to an end; oblivious to the road’s sudden turn ahead. Yet, with full knowledge of their misconceptions, the confusion they would soon feel and the weight He was about to shoulder, Jesus rose from the table and began to wash their feet. From a reclined, comfy seat with a full belly and heavy heart, Jesus went out of His way to teach one more lesson though He knew they wouldn’t comprehend it until later.

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Wanted

I slumped to the kitchen floor. The time had come for the conversation I had dreaded. The moment was right. I could feel it in my bones. I needed to tell him the truth.

I motioned for my not-so-little boy to come near. He slid onto my lap. His frame pressed against my ribs. I couldn’t tell if it were the weight of his growing body or the moment upon us that squeezed the air from my lungs. Either way, the gentle pressure was a reminder of days when with a shallow breath came constant anguish. I sucked in a new, deep breath – proof I was no longer encamped in that sorrow – then prayed wisdom over my tongue and grace for his ears as I dove in.

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Perfect Timing

This past month has been a journey in the Read household. We walked into a battle we had no idea was on the horizon before our feet hit the cold hard floor of reality. It’s an absolute miracle to be sitting here by the fireplace on this normal Wednesday. Life could have been so much different.

And then, as if the events over the past four weeks weren’t enough to keep us on our toes yesterday happened. And now today.

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Ahhh Normal…But Wait!

The alarm clock rang. Okay, it rang a few times before we finally decided to rise from our slumber. But rise we did. The coffee was made, teeth were brushed, breakfast was had and the day begun. Instead of take it all for granted, however, today my man and I breathed in the simplicity of normal.

These past few weeks have been unpredictable to say the least. What was planned to be a time of celebration, family togetherness and pleasure, turned into days riddled with anxiety, intense pain and uncertainty. So today, the renewed winds of normal were sweet to bask within.

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