God, The Police and My Father: A Blizzard Rescue Story

God reminded me tonight that He is always there when you need Him.

Returning home from Mass tonight, I crashed into a large snowdrift headed south on Rt. 59.

I think it’s no coincidence that on the way out, I grabbed a bulletin and saw this Bible verse:

“Wait for the Lord with courage; be stouthearted, and wait for the Lord.” ~ Psalm 27:14

Living by your faith, whatever your denomination, is a lot like driving in a blizzard.

You can barely see in front of you, it’s treacherous at times. You may veer off-course. But you are on full alert– all your senses are attuned to your driving. You have to drive carefully, slowly. And you have to trust God to steer you away from danger, and to rescue you when you need it.

And it works.

Mass was PACKED.  Even in this blizzard. I felt proud to be there. I don’t normally go to St. Mary Immaculate in Plainfield. It’s large and modern, and a bit out of the way. But tonight, it was comforting being one of many. People were standing in the foyer as well. The parish has changed since I was last there.

There’s now a giant crucifix hanging directly above the altar, rather than mounted on the wall. It was riveting.

I thought about how when I doubt humanity, Mass is the one place I can go to be reminded of the good. People will still go to Mass, even in a blizzard. That makes me feel safer in this world.

I was sitting in the middle aisle, and this is a LARGE parish. There are many rows– it can get confusing. When I tried to return to my seat, I noticed that I couldn’t find it! I was standing, look around like I would do if I had forgotten my parking spot. And then I caught the eye of the man who was seated behind me. He smiled and pointed, and I was realized I has standing one aisle too far. 

Thanks to that man, I found my seat. God was paying attention.

Then I set out to get home.  I was going to stop for some food– but that plan changed.

I was approaching the intersection of Rt. 59 and Theodore. Driving in the middle lane I was being careful, but the wild snow drifts caused me to skid. I pumped the brakes but there were cars in front of me– so I swerved right to avoid impact. I was terrified for a minute that I would flip, but luckily there was so much snow, I got stuck on top of it.

God was paying attention.

Immediately, I saw a police officer turn his lights on from the other side of the intersection and head south. I hoped he was coming to help me. The first thing I did was thank God I was okay. Then I called my father, to let him know where I was and what happened.

While I was on the phone, the officer tapped on my window. I told my father I would call him back. The officer asked if I was okay, and if I was going to call someone. I told him that’s the plan. He suggested I try backing out, and I tried. No avail. I then called my dad again, and he said he’d be there. And the local garage I use– they were on the way.  Officer Forniff asked if I wanted to wait in his vehicle, which I appreciated. He stayed until he had to go, but another squad arrived to wait the remainder with me until a tow arrived.

So I found myself sitting in the backseat of Officer Zilka’s squad car! Oddly, this is the second time I’ve been in the back of a squad car- without being arrested. The first time my car had also broken down. The police came and waited with me that time too. That was a few years ago, in Romeoville. Officer Zilka and I mostly sat in silence. She’s serious and quiet. I told her I think it’s awesome she’s a police officer- she said that’s what she’s always wanted to do. It made me feel extra safe to be sitting there with a female officer. She waited until my father showed up, and then even till the tow truck from Mark’s Service Station showed up. She waited until we we assured her we were okay.

For those who don’t trust the police– THIS is why I *do* trust them.

And this is why I love my father so much. He’s usually my first call when something important happens– because he always answers. And I know if that I need help, he’ll be there with no questions asked. He gave me a hug before he left.

Why do I believe in God? Because of my father, John Bohrer. I knew that he would be there– but that he would drive safely and not rush. My father is the kind of man who never pulls a rolling stop, who will never run a yellow light. He follows the rules, even when no one is looking. He believes in doing things safely, the right way. And I love him for that.

This is why I choose to live in Joliet, near my parents. Because life is easier with family nearby.

Tonight, he drove from home in a blizzard just to make sure I was okay. He didn’t need to– I could have handled this on my own. But I’m glad he did, because I could not feel more cherished right now as a daughter. The tow truck was able to drag me out of that drift, and I didn’t have any damage. I was able to drive home safely. My father always knows what to do.

“Go straight home,” my Dad said, and I listened.

And minutes after I got home, he called to make sure I was there.

“I’m home Dad,” I said. “Thank you.”

Thank you, God, for my father.

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