This Christmas Devotional was quite memorable. After church finished, there were a couple setting aparts that I helped with, and then I rushed to pick up Porter, Emily Whitcomb, Cooper and his date Sarah, to head to Uncle Ben’s and Aunt Joy’s. The extended family was gathered there to celebrate Kayla and Ryan’s wedding, and we were blessed to have Mimi and Grampy visiting. Unfortunately, we were there from only 3-4, then I had to run back to Provo with Porter. He met some friends and headed up with them to SLC, and I picked up my date Megan, and a couple other friends. Then the real fun and logistical challenges started. We went and picked up Andrea. Then headed north 20 miles and picked up Nicole. One more mile up the interstate, and after a few false turns, we were going to turn into a Maverick gas station to pick up Tanner L. We realized at the last second we were in the wrong lane, but as no one was around, I quickly moved left into the turning lane. This left me sticking out into the intersection, so I backed up a bit. We waited for our green turn signal there, and waited, and waited until I figured I needed to back up more to hit the sensor for the light to change. There was apparently no one else around, and I didn’t see anyone behind me, so I hit the gas, going in reverse…and slammed into the car that was in fact behind me. The sickening crunch we heard is a sound I’ll never forget. My heart sank and it was a truly horrible feeling for so many reasons.
I figured we would both be turning into the gas station, but the guy behind got out, and seemed to want to talk then. So I got out, and then I saw my van start rolling away. I hadn’t put the car into park!! The other person definitely must have been thinking, “who is this crazy guy?” My friends inside were yelling for me to get back, and I quickly jumped back in, and put it into park, before telling the guy we’d meet at the gas station. There, we looked over the damage, which involved nothing, not even a noticeable scratch on the van’s backside, but some minor cosmetic damage on the other person’s car. He spoke only spanish, and we were able to communicate ok, but he didn’t want my info, said everything was ok, and seemed ready to leave again. I felt really bad and offered him a $50 amazon gift card I had in my wallet, but he didn’t want anything, and we parted ways. Everything, especially the van rolling away seemed to happen in slow motion and now, very thankful nothing extreme resulted, can only look back and chuckle at the spectacle that must have been. I tend to do (or say) something stupid every week on average. This was so bad, I sure hope it covers me for two!
That whole ordeal set us back further, and we made it to the conference center, late but safe, arriving inside at 6:10. We arrived too late to go to our seats front and center, but at least we made it inside and could enjoy the devotional. After, we walked around looking at nativity sets from around the world, and appreciating the amazing lights. Mimi’s sweater vest, going strong since 2012, kept me warm in the cold weather. And we made it back to Provo without incident, thankfully. Our group shared many sighs of relief, and lots of laughs, thoroughly enjoying the evening. Oh what a night!
Saturday was the funeral for my friend’s dad. He had been suffering from cancer and after being in remission for a time, went quickly downhill starting in August. He died Thanksgiving night. The Shumway family all spoke and they showed amazing resilience and faith. Repeatedly, they have lifted up those who have tried to help them, and have been a true example to me.
After eating lunch, I went with Porter to the Provo Temple. It was great to spend that time with him.
Other highlights of the week included going to book club on Wednesday where we started discussing Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil. Friday I made dinner for three and gave two blessings for some ward pals stressed out by big tests coming up. One was taking the LSAT, and I felt his pain, while another was doing her first finals in law school and I didn’t want to know what I have to look forward to!
Elder Rasband in October’s General Conference questioned, “What are the dangers if we cheat a little, slip a little, or do not quite follow through with our commitments?” I know that the stakes are eternally high. There awaits everlasting glory, more wonderful than I think any of us can currently comprehend, if we will follow through on our commitments and obey the commandments. So, here’s the thing, double check your mirrors while driving, but triple check the thoughts you think and the words you say, and especially remember always the covenants and promises you have made, and not only will your actions be good, you will make it through the greatest road trip we’ll ever take, the journey of mortality, and will be able to in a coming day, “approach God’s throne of grace with confidence,” (Hebrews 4:16).