Sometimes things happen that make you sit back, pause, and assess. I had such a moment Saturday at approximately 5:06.

“Do you want to go to Sybil’s for dinner Saturday?” my husband asked me on Thursday. Sybil’s is a restaurant about 130 miles from our home. We had only been there once, but my meal was so delicious the taste lingered in my mind. There were several things on the menu I was itching to try. Our anniversary was on Monday and I had mentioned I’d like to go there, but they are closed on Monday. “Then we could drive on over to dad’s and spend  Sunday in St. Louis,” he continued to explain as I turned these thoughts over in my mind.

It didn’t take me long to agree to this trip. We’ve been home for about two weeks, so we were ready for a quick overnight trip. We made reservations for 5:30 at Sybil’s. We left home at 3:30. I read, my husband drove, Pandora played. It was a pleasant trip. We exited the highway at about 5:05. “I guess it only takes us an hour and a half instead of two,” I say to my husband. “I hope they don’t mind we are a bit early.” I don’t mind, since my stomach is rumbling as I anticipate the meal to come.

There is a stoplight at the end of the exit. It is red. We sit and wait for the green light because we need to turn left. The light turns. We sit. I open my mouth  to say something to my husband, when a minivan drives through the intersection. I see a man and a small boy in the front seat as they zoom past us. I can’t believe this man ran the red light! If my husband hadn’t paused for that instant we would have been in a serious accident. I am having a hard time catching my breath as I realize how close we came to being crushed by a bigger vehicle (we were in the convertible). Even now as I write about it and visualize the scene, my stomach drops.

I won’t be in such a hurry when I am the first person at a stoplight. I will take the extra second to check oncoming traffic and verify that they did indeed stop. Life can change in an instant.

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28 thoughts on “Stoplights

  1. Wow! Your blogpost totally surprised me. It is fantastic that you wrote about this – truly, life can change in a moment. On a much happier note – how absolutely beautiful that you two drove 130 miles for a special meal!! That is a celebration!!!

  2. So very much to celebrate. Glad you have so many years together and SO glad you weren’t in harm’s way because of that slight hesitation. Your writing made me stop and take a deep breath – and then exhale with an ahhhh.

  3. Elsie, I am glad to hear that both you and your husband are safe. Happy Anniversary! I can’t help but think that “pausing” in life can protect us on the road, but also help our relationships bloom and succeed, just like you and your husband’s. 🙂

    An inspiration to a “beginner” married couple!

  4. Joyce says:

    Oh my, how familiar that scenario sounds.
    Congratulations on your anniversary and being married to someone who will pause for an instant!

  5. My stomach dropped too, you wrote with such detail I could see every moment. I am so thankful and will be mindful as well. I am starting off on a trip this afternoon and hate the thought. Thank you for this. So glad you were okay, I hope the meal was a great distraction from that startling moment.

  6. I was holding my breath until 5:06 arrived. I am so relieved to find that thanks to that extra moment of pause 5:06 came and went tragedy-free. This post gives me goosebumps thinking of the ripples of goodness you’ve started here. How many of us readers will avert the potential disasters in our paths because of your words settling somewhere in the back of our minds as we drive? I wonder about these things.

  7. Unfortunately this happens too often. People just can’t wait that extra minute. My daughter was in a similar situation, except the fellow drove through a stop sigh and my daughter’s boyfriend drove right into them. Luckily they were in a truck but they had weeks of rehab.
    So glad your husband is cautious – it is the only way to be at lights.
    Happy anniversary!

  8. Happy anniversary!! I remember your wedding, but not the year! eating at 5:30!!! that’s for OLD people! glad ‘careful Mike’ waited that extra second.

    • Elsie says:

      Thirty-five years, gosh that sounds like forever, but it doesn’t feel like it.
      I hope Barleys is still good, I think about it every February because that’s when we’d be there.

      • Congratulations! That’s awesome. My parents actually just celebrated their 35th anniversary last night! 🙂
        The DJ said Barley’s has great food, so it must still be good! My husband and I will definitely have to try it out soon!

  9. ooh, you made me shiver! So lucky for that split second of hesitation. I tend to pause at certain lights in my city where I know people have a tendency to run the red light (sadly, there are several where I’ve seen this happen multiple times — everyone in my town is in a hurry and thinks they are more important than rules!) but your story reminds me that I should really be that careful at every light.

    Aside from that, I love the spontaneous way you just decided to go! (I’m really a planner so that would be hard for me to do… but it sounds fun!) Hope you enjoyed your dinner!

    P.S. On the radio this morning on my way to summer school, they were giving away a gift card to Barley’s! So I’ve been thinking about you all day! 🙂

  10. So glad you are okay and I hope your heart rate was able to come down enough to enjoy the meal. How was the food you had been anticipating?
    Those moments in life are so scary and life really can change in an instant. Sometimes (when everyone is fine) they are also a good reminder to appreciate that which we have to the fullest.

  11. What an amazing testimony to all of us drivers! Slow down! You definitely had a lot to celebrate at your anniversary dinner! Be blessed!

  12. It’s amazing there aren’t more accidents because people are distracted by so much more when driving or just not even paying attention! It’s definitely a good idea to be more defensive because you just don’t know what others will do. Who knows why your husband hesitated, but thank God that he did! I’m one to be quick out of the gates or telling my husband to get going – but this was a great reminder to just slow down. No hurries. Thanks and so glad everyone is safe!

  13. Judy C. says:

    I know your feeling, as I have had some close calls here in AR – I have found that it is always safer to hesitate even though those behind are in a hurry. I’m sure God was watching over you and your husband. Hope you had a great dinner after the scare!

  14. My heart is pounding and I could not read that fast enough to see that you and Mike came out unscathed! It is such a good reminder to take that extra second and to be thankful for the God protections I believe we receive everyday. You tell such engaging stories.

  15. Thankful you are safe. Thankful for small pauses. I want to follow the other vehicle and scold the father.
    One day I think we will be sitting in heaven, and the angle in charge of traffic will show the film of that drive, and you will see a huge angel sitting on the hood of your car.

  16. Terje says:

    It’s good that not all things that could happen really happen. I always wonder what goes on in the head of the drivers who ignore lights or speed by when it is not allowed.
    i hope that the time spent with your husband will overweigh the startling experience. Happy anniversary!

  17. How happy we all are that you and your husband that being first out of the gate wasn’t important to you!

    Happy Anniversary—and I hope your dinner was wonderful!

  18. Oh, Elsie, I’m glad too! What a moment to experience. I guess it is those small times when we should be grateful that the right choice was made. I wish you could have just written about the wonderful dinner! And happy anniversary!

  19. I hope you were able to enjoy the meal with your stomach on the floor of the car!
    Life can change in an instant, and its remarkable how many times throughout a single day things could go horribly wrong and don’t. So glad your husband paused.

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