The Devil tried to kill me! No, I�m for real! I�ll explain it to you.
Ok, several things happened in succession:
1. I got a job.
2. I did a good deed.
3. I set something in my life in order.
4. The Devil tried to kill me.

It all culminated in a vehicular catastrophe at around 1 - 2 am on Wednesday morning, November 5, 2003. And it went like this:

On the Friday previous I obtained a job in Michie. (Yes, it actually happened! For now, at least.) THEN, Tiphani and I scooted down the highway to Indiana to visit Liz for a bit, pick up our businesswear, and stop in for a service to obtain spiritual relief and to enjoy the company of other saints like ourselves. It was nice.

But I have to backup to point out a very important, if minuscule, point. My truck, whose christened name I shall not divulge, was, and is in a serious state of neglect. Namely, it needed an oil change, a wash (but who cares about a little dirt?), new tires, and a serious checkup with the car doctor. But my baby is a real trooper and can take a licking, and keep on ticking. Cuz my wallet can�t. *ahem* ( Dad, are you listening? ) I am shameless, and because of that, I have no shame. Back to the story.

Over the weekend, things percolated, and that�s all you need to know. As things were percolating, I was dreaming of the highway in front of me, and miles behind me because I am a free woman, and that�s all you need to know. Now, come Monday, at the appropriate time, I tossed some things in a bag, tossed my bag in the bed of the truck, gave a heads up to Tiphani, and we hit the open road--with joy.

As I headed down 94 at a reasonable rate of speed, I remembered that I was far, far over the oil change limit. Tiphani prayed and we continued on with our life in God�s hands. And we made it safely. But we almost didn�t. Let me explain: Sometime during our trip down the highway, we almost crashed. There, on a 2-lane highway, smack in the middle of the fast lane, sitting barely visible in the gathering dusk, was a little child�s playhouse. It never occurred to me how HUGE those things are. You know the plastic, multicolored ones that they have in daycare centers? Now, understand that the highway is full of 18-wheeler tractor-trailers. Now, here I am, chugging down the highway in the fast lane at a comfortable 75 mph or higher, driving beside a tractor-trailer in the slow lane, and there is a playhouse in the middle of my way. Accident waiting to happen. Thankfully, there was an SUV in front of me that slowed down and hit the shoulder to go around it. I was able to anticipate it, and hit the shoulder too. We lived, rather than died, on a cold Monday night, on 94, in Michie.

I drove a little farther, and it bothered me to think that as the night wore on, some lone car could come speeding over the rise in the dark and not see playhouse and exit life over something so simple. So I pulled off onto the shoulder of the fast lane, and got out of my truck to walk back and move the house. Tiph, while sympathetic to the plight of others, and agreeing that it should be moved, asked, �Isn�t it a little far back to walk?� It was quite a ways back, but why should someone die over my laziness? As I walked back the long stretch of highway to the house, it became fully dark, and I moved to walk in the ditch between the eastbound and westbound sides of the highway, because I was afraid that a car attempting to avoid the house might lose control and come screaming down the shoulder toward me. I�ll admit, I was a little afraid for my life. It seemed like all of a sudden, everyone and their mother was on highway, driving at an insane speed. Someone was going to die if that house wasn�t moved. I finally reached the house and in a lull in traffic, darted out and dragged it to the shoulder, where there was conveniently a cop turn-around. As I turned to walk back to my car, a squad car pulled up behind me, and a very nice young officer got out and thanked me for moving the house. I told him it was no problem and when he asked me if I was going to walk all the way back to my car, I said �Yeah, unless you want to give me a ride down there!� He said sure, so I hopped in back where the criminals sit, and got a ride back to my truck. He let me out, and I hopped into my truck and Tiphani and I continued our journey safely to Indiana.

Now. Several things occurred while Liz, Tiph, and I were hopping around from Indiana to Illinois, and the only one of importance in this monologue is that I got CALLED OUT. Ok, the truth is, I got found out, and called out, in that order.

We got to the city (with a little �c�, not to be confused with Chicago) in Indiana, and I got that much needed oil change, washed the dirt off my good old truck, ran a few miles with Liz, (she made me exercise), enjoyed the services, and then got called out. It may sound trite to you, but if meant a lot to me! Man, I had crossed one of my sisters, whose name I will not divulge, and had seriously disrespected her . You know how you do something, and at the time that you do it, it doesn�t seem all that important or big? Then, as time goes on and things begin to unfold, you begin to see the long-range implications of your actions? That is how this went down. Here is the thing: I knew that I wanted to get the problem straight--but I felt like I was in one of those stories where a person is trying to tell someone something, and every time they go to tell the person, something comes up to stop them from speaking out. Ever read those stories, and feel like screaming at the wrongdoer-- �Just tell them!� Well, I have. And for the first time in my life, I WAS that person. The person who hesitates too long and keeps missing their opportunity to get it right.

But it didn�t end that way, because I had what I call a Freudian slip, and got called out. My subconscious mind told the tale. So I made my apologies, and we all trooped to the services (in Liz�s truck, because I can only fit two), and it was nice. But it was not over by any stretch of the imagination. Thank god for that. It was raining horrendously when we left the church house. Undaunted, Liz climbed behind the wheel, I crawled in the back seat (a treat, when you drive so often), and Tiph bravely took the passenger side. As we screamed down the highway at 90 miles an hour in the pouring rain, I prayed that God forgive me for every time I ever sped in my life. You know how you look back at the young, more fearless version of you with horror, and think to yourself, �What was I thinking? Was I crazy?� It�s always ok when you do it, but when you ride in the passenger side, you always want to get down on the floor and repent in sackcloth and ashes for any time you have ever sped or even thought about speeding, and beg God for your life. So I was in the back seat, not overly terrified, praying that my life was right with God. I was like, �God, I would rather not die tonight, but if all is well with me, then its ok. If not, please let me live to get it right.�

And he did. We got back to Indiana safely, and I got called out. You might say, Marilyn, you already got called out. What now? The surly me definitely agreed with you. Have you ever been in a place where you are like, �Oh God, now we have to talk about it?� This usually means someone is going to get dressed down. So I figured that I would take my licks. You know that resigned feeling you get when you are about to catch a well deserved lip-lashing? I had it. One sister was bemused and the other was patiently waiting to hand down a lip-lashing.

So I took my (verbal) licks, humbled myself and gave a more proper and heart-felt apology. I was forgiven (of course!), we hugged, and all was better. I was no longer that loser, that scoundrel named Marilyn, and I felt better inside. I had my sister back! And it was nice. Things were back in order.

Then Tiph and I got in my truck and got back on the road Michie. In the truck, with the oil change, with the spiffy new wash, with bald tires, the same tires that have taken me over the hill and through the woods, all over NJ, IN, IL, MI and the states in between, and have carried me faultlessly to my destination thus far. Yes, that truck, my baby.

Let it be known that Tiphani was driving! (I was attempting to catch some shut-eye.) The rain was pouring down, obscuring vision, making it so that the road was hardly visible. I could see, but then, that�s me, and Tiphani hates driving in the rain. But she pressed bravely on. About 80-some-odd miles into the trip, we came up on a 18-wheeler driving in the middle lane on a 3-lane expressway. I have no fear of tractor-trailers, or of passing them on a 2-lane highway, during construction, or whenever. Charge it to Pennsylvania driving. Usually, Tiphani doesn�t either. But, as happens in rain, tractor-trailers throw off a large amount of water from their rear wheels, which practically blinds anyone trying to pass. And this dude was in the middle lane, making it treacherous to pass him on either side. Now, mind you, I had been asleep, but came awake to talk to Tiph about passing the truck, and for some odd reason, I wanted to put on my glasses (I had my contacts out) so that I could see when I talked to her. So I told her to get in the slow lane, and attempt to pass him on that side, assuming (stupidly) that there would be less water there. Untrue. Finally, I was like, just slow down and let him go far enough ahead that you can see more clearly---she had either already slowed way down, or he sped up, because the gap between the vehicles widened to the size of a football field.

You probably think we crashed with the tractor-trailer. We didn�t. Tiphani was gripping the wheel with intense concentration at less than 65 miles an hour (speed limit is 70 mph in MI) in the slow lane of the eastbound side, with the tractor-trailer up ahead moving out down the highway. It happened so fast. The truck skidded so quickly, that before I even knew it, we were turning 180 degrees on the eastbound side, flying toward the ditch between the eastbound and westbound parts of the highway. We were literally in our own fastlane faced the opposite direction, such that if there had been traffic, we would have been hit head on, car front to truck front, kaboom. And we were still flying full on sideways toward the ditch. Now, understand, that in my life, I have seen very few ditches that don�t have a dip in them. I cannot imagine many cars coming up out of the ditches in poor weather circumstances without help. And, having been one of those people that read my Car Manual from cover to cover when I bought my truck, I understood that trucks have a high-risk of �rollover� when in a turn. You understand that we were headed toward the ditch at a high-rate of speed, in the dark, in the pouring rain, and the ditch was on my side, and I knew, I just knew we were about to rollover into the ditch. I truly felt like we were flying so fast that we would roll several times.

As I braced myself, a Sailor's Hymn I had read before I left Michie came rising to my mind, and all I could think of was my altered version:

"O Trinity of love and power,
Be my shield in danger's hour,
From rock and tempest, fire and foe,
Protect me wheresoe'er I go:
And ever let there rise to thee
Glad hymns of praise from the heart of me.
(See the real version here)

I will never forget looking out my window, seeing blackness rushing toward me, bracing myself to be rolled.

But we didn�t. My truck flew sideways toward the ditch, sideways THROUGH the ditch, and we flew sideways up, out of the ditch onto the westbound side of the highway, ending up catty-cornered between their fast and center lanes, mostly facing the right direction, with oncoming traffic headed our way. Tiphani sat there dazed, and I told at her to drive toward the shoulder before we got hit. She did, and the traffic passed us without hitting us. Then, while sitting there on the shoulder looking at the dirt, grass, and debris covering my truck, I thought to open the door to check the undercarriage before we drove on. When I opened the passenger door and leaned over to look under the truck, I saw smoke and smelled burning. We got out of that truck so fast, it wasn�t funny. (Not before I got my purse though.) Shortly thereafter, a squad car showed up, and the cop checked it out and told me that it was just the dirt on the engine drying and burning. He made sure we were ok, and drove off to help the next poor traveler (who was also in a ditch). We went and got coffee, told the gas station attendants how God saved our lives, and I took back my keys and safely drove us the 160 additional miles home.

There are several morals to this true story:
1. Doing good deeds is always good--what goes around comes around.
2. I cleared my relationship with my one of my sisters, and by doing so, set my life in order.
3. Then the Devil tried to kill me. (or course he couldn�t, but he wanted to let us know he was mad)
4. Even Northerners love their trucks.
5. Toyotas don�t roll. Buy one today.
6. Yes, Tiphani is a good driver!

Plan of Salvation