Angels Riding Shotgun  

rm_JocelynRenee 56T
51 posts
12/18/2005 10:02 am

Last Read:
3/5/2006 9:27 pm

Angels Riding Shotgun

My in-laws mean the world to me. I am so richly blessed to have not one, but two perfect example of grace, humility, encouragement, and love in my life. Two weeks ago they were involved in a horrific car accident. True to form, they turned what might have been a tragedy into a story of faithfulness rewarded. To make it easy on myself, I'm gonna call my father-in-law "Jay" and his wife "Dee".

It all started with an award Jay was to receive from one of his alma matters in upstate New York. As is their habit, before heading to New York, they stop in Pennsylvania to visit with friends for a few days. During dinner on the eve of their departure for New York, their friends told them a story of a wealthy couple they knew. Early in their marriage, when they were financially set for life, this husband and wife were walking into a restaurant when the husband stopped to pick up a penny he noticed on the ground. He closed his eyes for a few seconds and carefully placed the penny in his pocket. His wife, wondered aloud about the odd scene and he explained that whenever he finds a penny on the ground he takes note of the phrase "In God we Trust" and says a brief prayer of thanks for all the blessings he has received.

The next morning, as my in-laws walked to their car to head to New York, Dee found a penny on the ground and repeated the brief ritual she had learned about the previous evening.

Whenever they take long trips, it is customary for Dee to stay awake to keep her husband company. This day she wasn't feeling well and, at his insistence, laid her seatback down all the way for a brief nap. An hour into the trip, Jay was passing a line of tractor trailers on the interstate. A driver trailing the trucks misjudged the passing speed of my in-laws and pulled out, hitting their car solidly in the rear and sending them into a spin. Jay was able to keep his car from spinning under the trailer, but was not able to keep it on the road, so off into the median they went.

Right about this time, Dee awoke to see clouds spinning around and, for a moment, thought she was having a dream. She asked her husband what was going on and he replied, "We're having a bit of trouble. Just relax though, it's gonna be fine."

A split second later he noticed they were quickly approaching a bank in the median. That's when he said, "Oh crap" and the car was airborne. The flipped over once, landing on the car roof, only to be propelled into the air again for another flip, and finally coming to rest upside down.

Dee was hanging from her seatbelt; the roof was only three inches from her face. Had she been sitting up, she would have been crushed. Somehow Jay had flipped upside down and his head was wedged between the seat and the steering wheel. Injuries? Jay had a cut on his finger from the windshield and Dee had a bump on her head from a flying roll of quarters they had brought along for the tolls.

The front doors would not open, but they were able to crawl out the back window and get themselves out of the car. As he stood there surveying the damage, the couple who had hit them came running towards the car. Jay's first response was to give them a big hug and ask if they were OK.

After a quick check-up at the hospital, they spent a day with their Pennsylvania friends before one of their sons brought them back home safe and sound. The next day they received a phone call from the couple who had hit them. It seems they were having difficulty mentally recovering from the accident. An hour later, not only had Jay eased their minds, they had arranged a visit after the new year, Jay had given the young man some advice about getting started in his new career, and the young man had asked if it would be OK if he called Jay from time to time for advice.

I have watched them do this same sort of thing countless times in the, all to brief, 14 years I have been privileged to know them. It seems that everyone they come in contact with is immediately struck with a desire to continue to have them in their lives. Today I stand humbled by their example of what it means to be human; to be a shining light for others. I see the unmistakable hand of God in their lives and I am grateful that I don't have to let them go quite yet. I have a feeling I'm not done learning from them.


MamChelle 49F
1443 posts
12/18/2005 10:48 am

That is beautiful Jocelnyn. I wished all in laws had such greatness, it could save many marriages. Some people just bless every life they touch, it warms me that you care so deeply for your inlaws. This worl could use more people like that.

rm_jackie40503 71T
1323 posts
12/18/2005 12:34 pm

Jocelyn - I know exactly what you mean, my father-in-law was the same way during the time he was with us. And yes by all means continue to learn from them, as no matter how long it is, its never long enough.


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