Friday, January 6, 2017

Gushing Gratitude

My favorite blue-eyed Zoobies
Sam and Savannah left on Tuesday morning for BYU. Savannah was accepted to the Nursing Program (WOOHOO Savannah!! Way to realize your dream!!), and a reliable mode of transportation was strongly recommended. So they packed up our cute little 2002 Honda Civic and started the trek west.

Driving 1500 miles across the country in January is always a risk. The weather is so unpredictable. Jeff kept a close eye on the forecast for all the major freeways between here and there and it looked like a Tuesday morning departure with a stay-over near Denver at Uncle Jeremy's house would get them safely to Utah by Wednesday evening.

The funny thing about the weather is that it's so changeable. By the time Sam and Savannah arrived in Colorado, a fast-moving storm from the west made it clear that driving the last leg of their journey the next morning wasn't going to work. Their options were: 1) keep driving through the night and hopefully get to their destination ahead of the storm or 2) stay at Jeremy's until the weather cleared which could take two days or more.

Sam wasn't really in a hurry, but Savannah had several things to take care of before school started and was anxious to just be there already so they decided to drive through the night. I prayed that Heavenly Father would slow the progression of the storm on their behalf and then Jeff and I went to bed feeling calm about their decision.

That calm lasted until midnight when Sam called. With no cell reception, he was using a free phone inside a rest area in Wyoming. It was snowing so hard that he couldn't see the road. They were going to wait it out before continuing on. Within 90 minutes, the snow was tapering off and Savannah was ready to take a turn at the wheel. Sam called us once more to let us know they were heading out.

Because there is no signal through most of Wyoming, my anxiety kicked in and I started playing the "what if" game with myself. "What if they end up in a snowbank and no one knows they are there?" "What if the car rolls and one of them is hurt and the other can't get out or contact anyone?" These are pretty mild examples of the wild scenarios that went through my head.

Eventually I managed to drift off and sleep until a little after 5:00 a.m. When I woke, I immediately grabbed my cell phone hoping for some message letting me know they were okay. (We had instructed them when they started their trip to text or call each time they filled up with gas or switched drivers just so we knew where and how they were.) Nothing. No message and no reply to my texts. The "what if" game started up again - after all, I reasoned, we are not immune to trials - and by the end I was planning their funeral. I was a mess.

At 7:00 a.m. the phone rang. It was Sam. I was overcome with the most intense feeling of relief and gratitude that I immediately started crying. Bawling. Completely unable to talk. All my gratitude just poured out my eyeballs. I couldn't help it. The roads in Wyoming had been pretty bad, like white-knuckle driving most of the way, but it was mild compared to the conditions in the hours and days following. They were still on the road for another hour or so, but at least they had signal and were almost through the worst of it. Fortunately, the storm in Utah had been delayed by several hours. I'm pretty sure that was a result of my pleadings.

Sam and Savannah spent a good chunk of the day at my sister's house eating, showering and sleeping before heading to Provo. By now, they're all settled in and ready to tackle a new semester. We're all feeling pretty blessed! I think they've recovered from their all-night ordeal.

I think I almost have as well. :)


Lori said...

So glad they are safe! There has been a lot of weather for sure lately!

cstowell said...

The whole Stowell family was aware of their driving conditions. We all have been victims of Wyoming/Utah driving conditions. We were so relieved when they got to their destination.