When my second son was in first grade, he had to cross a busy highway to catch his bus to school. My neighbor and I cooperated on making this safe for our boys by taking turns escorting them. I took them over in the morning, and she brought them back in the afternoon. They lived where she could see from her house when the bus arrived. Because this particular day was cold, I had driven, even though the distance was only a short block.
My neighbor lived above the highway where a twenty foot retaining wall was still under construction between her house and the road. I drove up the access road to her driveway beside her house and left the motor running to keep the car warm for my son while I ran in to get his companion.
Because the child wasn't quite ready, I stood chatting with his mother. She was looking toward the window when she suddenly cried "My God, your car is moving!"
I tore for the door, flung it open and rushed toward the slowly moving car. The parking brake was on but, with the car out of gear so the motor could run, it was not enough to hold the car on the drive. My hand actually brushed the door handle of the car, but as the wheels hit a lower, steeper slope, the car picked up momentum, slid out from under my grasp, and backed rapidly toward the streaming traffic below.
I never felt so helpless in my life. All I could do was to stand, to watch, and to pray. My prayer was violent. "Don't let him die!"
The rear wheels of the car hit the edge of the retaining wall so hard the car bounced and literally flew out toward the highway. Just below was a mound of dirt still remaining from the construction. The rear wheels of the car landed on that mound, and the car created a bridge with its front wheels still on the retaining wall. Then there was my son, white-faced and silent, peering safely through the window.
I sat down right where I was, bawling in complete hysteria while one of the construction workers climbed up to retrieve my son. The traffic flowing below gaped at the incredible bridge the car made. Unless one saw it formed, it looked like a Ripley special.
One loves and cares for one's children, but one seldom recognizes how precious they are to existence until such a crisis occurs. My God was good to me that day. Prayer is an enigma to modern man, including me. An honest faith is logically possible once emotionally achieved, but manipulation of the physical world, which prayer implies, belies our concept of an orderly universe. That mound of dirt was there before I prayed.
Assigning the experience to coincidence is, however, too easy an answer. Any other answer inspires awe. Is my God so great a scientist that He can predict my behavior and so provide for such exigencies? I quell in humble ignorance when I strive to grasp such thoughts. I only know my son survived, frightened but composed enough to go on to school to learn - to grow - to search for truth - even as I.