Everything can change. I was reminded of this last Sunday, when my husband called to tell me a tree had split in half and landed on the roof of his truck while he was driving down the street. It was such a freak thing to happen. I almost didn’t believe it, until I saw the tree, and his truck, for myself. He suffered a concussion and sprained neck from the impact, but it could have been much worse. Thank God he’s a man who likes to drive a sturdy pick-up truck. If he had a compact car, he might be dead.
What are the odds of a tree falling on your vehicle while you’re driving down the street? Maybe the same as winning the lottery? I couldn’t help but wonder about this, given the fact that on that same morning in church, I donated the dollar bill I’d been saving to buy a lottery ticket to the nuns who were visiting our parish. The bill had been stuffed in my purse for weeks. I was waiting for that perfect, intuitive moment to speak to me, “Today is the day to purchase the winning lottery ticket at this obscure store you never frequent.”
After listening to the nun’s plea, I decided the hell with it, like I’m really going to win the lottery with this dollar bill or, like, ever. The money would be better spent on the nuns’ cause. (Lest you think I’m a cheapskate, I’d already made a donation during mass when the basket came through; the dollar was the only cash I had left.)
Then later that day, a tree lands on my husband’s truck. That day, my husband says to me, half-joking, “You almost just came into half a million dollars.” He was referring to the $500,000 life insurance policy we have on him. Not that I wouldn’t love half a million dollars, mind you, but not at the expense of his life. I told him this, and hoped he believed me.
What would our lives be without this husband and father? This man who drives me absolutely batty with his insane, surprise purchases, who hops from job to job, whose antics cause me to stay up nights worrying? I’ll tell you what it would be – miserable. This is what I thought as I drove to meet him an hour away at the hospital. My boys would be fatherless, I would be husbandless, and our worlds would totally, absolutely suck. Because in spite of the stress he causes, he counteracts it with so much good.
As my wise grandmother used to say when anyone in the family was complaining of marital woes and contemplating divorce (and, who knows, maybe fantasizing about their spouse passing away in a freak accident and collecting the insurance money): you are merely trading one set of problems for another.
This is what I was reminded of thanks to this freak act of nature. Or maybe it was really a wake up call from God.