My daughter called me a couple nights ago after she left one of her night classes at the community college. She was at a standstill in traffic and wanted to know if I'd heard anything on the news about it. I hadn't.
She called later to tell me that a helicopter had just landed on the freeway, and my heart sank for what that said about the victims of the accident. I still didn't know anything, though. And then she said they were making the cars leave the freeway by way of the on-ramp. When she got to my house, she looked on the local news websites, but didn't see anything about what had happened.
The next morning I heard about it on the radio news. A pickup hit a van on the westbound side of the freeway around 9:30 pm, causing the van to flip. A woman and a child were thrown from the van. The woman landed on the road on the eastbound side, where she was hit by a car and killed. The child was hospitalized with very serious injuries, and another child was also hospitalized, though with less serious injuries. They didn't say if the woman was related to the children, but it sounds likely.
It's Thanksgiving now, and as I go through my preparations, my thoughts keep going back to this family that must be reeling from the loss of a mother while they stand watch over children in the hospital, helpless to do anything for them beyond praying for healing. How fleeting life is.
It sets my Thanksgiving celebration in perspective.
I've got a twelve-pound turkey, and my kids are coming over. My daughter told me she wants to prepare dinner, to give me a break this year. I told her that I like cooking some of the dinner, but at the same time, I had already thought that she needed some practice cooking a turkey for someday when she gets married. So I'll let her do the work this year, and I'll supervise.
My son is willing to help where he's needed. Last night, after my church's Thanksgiving Eve service, the three of us made pumpkin pie. It's hard to divvy up the pie-making tasks, but I had my son mix the dry ingredients (the sugar was lumpy after being left to its own devices for so long, so it needed some good pounding) and my daughter mix the wet ones. I made the crusts, and my daughter rolled out the second one while my son and I ran to the grocery store for a can opener for the pumpkin (I had taken mine to Texas for the trip, but we threw it out because it was getting too creepy to use anymore).
The pies are in the fridge, and I'm waiting for the kids to arrive, and I can't begin to say how thankful I am for every moment I get to spend with them.
And I'm so incredibly thankful that I decided to take the trip with my mom, for the time we've spent seeing places together and just hanging out (plus the entertainment value that Scooter offers). I'm thankful for the people we've been able to visit on the way--meeting blogger buddies, seeing old friends, and visiting family. And I'm thankful for the chance it gave me to clear my head and decide on a plan for the future.
At the Thanksgiving Eve service, they didn't have live musicians but used videos for the songs we sang. Those videos showed scenes of the country, and I found myself reliving parts of our trip. Super-speed shots of driving down the highway through the desert (we did that, only within the speed limit), clips of Niagara Falls, clouds on skyscrapers, lush green countryside from the air. I'm thankful that so many of those scenes felt personal.
But most of all, I'm thankful for the love and grace of Jesus, my Lord and my God. Without Him, I don't know where I'd be.