Saturday began as a perfect day…the balmy weather almost whispering, it’s spring! Blue skies framed the background of the bright lemon sun, toasty-warm. I shed my winter coat in exchange for the day’s warmth, so liberating after days upon days of knife-cutting cold.
Uptown, Dallas. City sidewalks teeming with sweater-clad people of every age. Moms and dads directing little girls bouncing in pink tutus and jeweled tee-shirts, their long, dancing curls glittering white in the sunlight. Couples holding hands, their strides exactly matching. Older couples with younger family, sons and daughters and grandchildren. One storefront flowed into the next, parked cars slept snugly in a row, manicured winter flower beds hugged majestic trees, bare in this winter season.
Having a late lunch in a restaurant, still full in spite of the late hour. Everyone is out to celebrate this glorious day, to revel in the wonder of a small slice of spring dealt in the middle of winter. No, it wouldn’t last long. We pretended we didn’t know or that we had forgotten. Every precious minute counted. Like Cinderella, we knew this party would end as soon as the sun set.
Walking back to the car, we stopped to take some pictures in front of a bare tree with a landscaped flowerbed. My elderly mother, almost 93, walked with my daughter and me down the sidewalk. For some reason, she walked ahead, faster. I heard the Holy Spirit whisper softly to me. Watch her…take her arm. But I was distracted, conversing with my daughter, looking in the shop windows as we lounged down the sidewalk. Looking down, I observed the pavement, cracked and uneven.
“Mother, come back and walk with us.” I called ahead, counting on her to do just that. But her determination to “do it her way” prevailed.
Distracted. Go get her. Make her stop. Laughing and enjoying the conversation, almost finished. My eyes turned completely the opposite way, focused on my daughter’s face. Her eyes popped as she screamed, “Nana! Nana!”
She ran to the curb. I turned around and followed, seeing what I could never have imagined. My mother was lying on the side of the pavement, next to a car. Her shoe held wedged in a crack on that rounded curb, a curb she had not seen as she took a shortcut around a tree.
In a crisis, God always supplies help, and today it was in the form of a strong father and his teenaged son. They helped her up and into the car. Terrified that she had broken something, we rushed her to the hospital. At her age, the ease of breaking a hip, a wrist, or having a head injury is all too common. But nothing was broken—just a gently-sprained ankle. A true miracle!
Later, she revealed to us that the Holy Spirit had also spoken a warning to her. Before making the split-second decision to walk around that tree, He had whispered to her, Go straight. Don’t walk here. But the way around the tree would save a few steps, so she ignored the warning and continued, not looking down to see the jagged curb. Too late.
How often have we heard that soft whisper of warning? Do we recognize that the Holy Spirit, who lives inside us, is guiding and protecting us from harm?
I regret not responding. Next time, Lord, I will promise to listen and obey. Immediately.