Light Notes

A Thanksgiving for Jesus taking the wheel

Sometimes it takes a wake-up call to realize how much we have to be thankful for during the Thanksgiving holiday.

This year, it’s more than a succulent turkey.

When the phone rang Monday morning, my daughter Traci’s words took my breath away.

“Mom, Ashley has been in a car accident. I’m on the way to the hospital.”

What had seemed like a perfectly ordinary morning twisted into worry and fear. Suddenly, the importance of front-page news took a backseat to the story unfolding in our teen granddaughter’s life.

The carload of kids had been on their way to school when the SUV hit the slick black ice.

The driver turned the wheel. There were screams. Then silence as the vehicle swerved into a slow motion roll.

The scene appeared deadly.

The roof of the car was crushed. Glass littered the roadway, the asphalt scarred where metal had torn into the pavement. Yet, four young high school students walked away.

Only Ashley who had been riding in the passenger seat was hurt, her collarbone broken.

Later, her mom’s tear-choked words wrenched my heart, “Ashley buckled her seatbelt no more than a minute or so before the crash."

My mind spun with questions.

Why did she remember? Her mother’s nagging voice in her ear? Or a gentle nudge from her guardian angel? Whatever the reason, her decision changed this story -- and our hearts.

When we all link hands around the Thanksgiving table, we’ll look back over this past year -- and especially this week -- and count our blessings.

Ashley will be the first on our list.

And as the prayers lift heavenward from old and young alike, I’ll join in with my deepest thanks, too.

I also plan to add a request for the days ahead: “Jesus take the wheel.”