Little Welford had driven me from the warmth of the bed covers to start the morning routine. I glance out the curtains to see the ground and car covered in ice, and made a mental note to get out of the house a little earlier to scrape it off.

By the time I’d gotten out of the house, however, the ice had melted on the paths and vehicles, so I wasn’t expecting ice on the road. It happened as we were taking Anna to work. To avoid traffic we take a lesser used route and as I turned the corner and headed down hill towards a busy junction I felt the car begin to take a life of its own. It’s amazing how much went through my mind in those couple of seconds. I pumped the brakes to try and regain control, the car seemed to be accelerating no matter what I did and I was sure we were going to plough through two lanes of traffic. I noticed that the traffic was carrying on blissfully unaware of our plight, no-one slowed down or made room for me. I wished I’d thought about beeping my horn or flashing lights but I didn’t. Then as we came to the junction I remembered my old man’s advice, words to the effect ‘If you’re going to crash aim for something soft’ I yanked the steering wheel to the left heading for the grass verge, and amazingly we came to a stop just at the junction’s mouth.

I was pretty shaken up for the rest of the day. The atmosphere in the car even seemed to affect little Welford. But I wonder if this incident was a good metaphor for our lives? There we are seemingly fine and then out of nowhere we careen out of control. We don’t want to draw attention to ourselves but we want people to notice. The trouble is their lives are so busy that they don’t, and we feel like our impending crash will take out more than just us. We could beep the horn, but we feel people should magically notice.

The truth is maybe people won’t notice. Maybe they need a sign you are struggling. That you want help. We have all been trained to look out for number one, so seeing someone else’s need is a struggle in itself. The good news is there is One who will always see us, who watches over us and longs for us to know him.

Psalm 121 – ‘I lift up my eyes to the mountains –
where does my help come from?
My help comes from the Lord,
the Maker of heaven and earth.
He will not let your foot slip –
he who watches over you will not slumber;
indeed, he who watches over Israel
will neither slumber nor sleep.
The Lord watches over you –
the Lord is your shade at your right hand;
the sun will not harm you by day,
nor the moon by night.
The Lord will keep you from all harm –
he will watch over your life;
the Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and for evermore.

And if the worst comes to the worst and you think you are going to crash? Remember Dad’s advice – Aim for something soft.