Mother's Love and "Mighty Miracles"
Standing at the kitchen sink, tomato juice dripping from my hands, I heard the front door slam behind me.
“Is that you, Charlotte?” I asked.
“Yes, but I can’t talk now! Sister Madsen’s outside waiting for me--I’m going babysitting, remember?”
I’d forgotten she had an obligation after school, so I abandoned my hopes to solicit my daughter's help in bottling the tomatoes I had picked from the garden that morning. In a flash, she was out the door, and who knew how long it would be before she was back again? Knowing her younger brother should have been on the bus with her, I expected my twelve-year-old son, Patrick, to walk through the door any minute--maybe he’d be willing to help me with my canning project…
Continuing to slice tomatoes into the stainless steel bowl I had nestled in the sink, my mind raced with all the activities happening that evening. With three sons in the Scouting program, attending the scheduled advancement meeting, that evening, was a big deal. I glanced at the clock as I wondered if I had time to finish my bottling project, prepare and serve supper, and get myself cleaned-up before leaving with the boys.
Then suddenly, out of the blue, I had the strongest impression Patrick had missed the bus. Charlotte was gone, so I couldn’t confirm that he had been with her. The fact that they hadn’t arrived together didn’t validate my concern—Patrick often stopped to watch television for a few minutes at the neighbor boy’s house before continuing down our long country driveway. But the moment the thought came that he was trying to get home, I simply knew I needed to act quickly. Without thinking twice, I dropped my paring knife, wiped my hands, grabbed my keys, and--with bare feet--headed down the driveway in our family car.
Looking back, I have to wonder why it hadn’t occurred to me to stop at the neighbor’s to check that Patrick wasn’t there. But I didn’t need to—I just knew he had missed the bus and was trying to get home.
Uncharacteristically, I gunned the engine of my little sedan and flew down the gravel drive. When I came to the paved road, I turned left toward Patrick and Charlotte’s middle school, three miles distant, accelerating as fast as I dared. Intuitively, I felt time was of the essence. Resisting the urge to exceed the speed limit, I paused for a stop sign and then continued my quest to find my son.
Less than a minute and a half from the time I dropped my paring knife into the sink, I noted an unfamiliar truck coming toward me on the road. The spirit whispered to slow down and as I did, I instinctively leaned forward, peering to see who was in the oncoming vehicle. Behind the wheel was a man I had never seen before and sitting next to him, on the front bench seat, was my son Patrick and his classmate, Steve.
Frantically, I waved, catching the eye of the unknown motorist—a man in his thirties sporting a scruffy beard. Just then, Patrick saw me and waved back. During the time it took to turn my car around, the driver of the truck pulled over and quickly deposited Patrick and his chum out the passenger side of the vehicle. The truck sped away as I pulled up slowly behind the boys who, by this time, were standing alongside the road.
As they opened my car door and jostled for positions in the backseat, Steve said to Patrick, "That was weird! Did you notice, Pat, there wasn't an inside handle on my door? That guy had to reach across our laps to wiggle something inside the door panel to get my door to open..." The hair on the back of my neck stood on end.
“What in the world were you doing in that truck?” I bellowed.
“Well…Steve and I missed the bus…and it’s too hot to walk…so we figured we’d just… thumb a ride...” Patrick cringed as he spoke, knowing he was now in trouble with his mother.
“Don’t you ever do that again, Patrick! Don’t you know how dangerous hitchhiking can be? It’s an extremely unsafe thing to do--especially at your age! What if something happened to you? What if I never saw you again?” My voice cracked as I thought of the risky chance they'd taken.
I dropped Steve at his house and headed home. Alone with my son, I used the occasion to further impress upon him the hazards of hitchhiking, as only a mother can; making sure he understood there would be a penalty if he ever did it again.
It wasn't until later that night, as I watched Patrick participating in his Scout service, that I mentally revisited the hitchhiking incident. That's when the miraculous events of the afternoon’s experience began to dawn on me.
What are the chances that a busy mother, in the throes of managing the challenges of housework and motherhood, could—out of the blue—receive the impression her son needed her? Without pausing, I had acted on a spiritual prompting and—possibly—averted a perilous situation for my son.
It's too frightening for me to claim that I saved Patrick’s life that day, but I do know if I hadn’t discovered his hitchhiking activity he might have continued the habit, eventually encountering a frightening outcome.
Sitting on a folding chair in the chilly cultural hall that night, I felt warmly reassured as I thanked Heavenly Father for His abiding love for His children; and for His gracious mercy in allowing the Holy Ghost to shield my son from danger.