Friday, March 25, 2016

Jeeps, God and Phife...

Okay... that image right there is one I think will be burned in to my memory for a second... cuz Wednesday was a flat out crazy day and this was a big part of it...

But let me rewind and start from the beginning.

We knew a storm was supposed to be coming through but it didn't seem like it was going to be too bad.

I woke up Wednesday morning - did what I usually do - walk in the office and peek out the front window - saw no snow anywhere on road and the lightest dusting on the grass.

"Cool..." I thought, and I sat down at my computer.

That's when the Interwebs started yelling at me that Phife from a Tribe Called Quest had passed away.

"NO WAY!" is what ran through my head and I immediately thought it was some Internet hoax thing.

A few of my close friends had recently been doing a bunch of work with Phife and I had even had the privilege to do some real minor graphic work for a video he was workng on... so I buzzed Tony to see if this was possibly true (knowing in my head it couldn't be...)

Tony indeed confirmed it. Phife Dawg... dead at 45. He died in his sleep due to complications from some health battles he had been fighting for a while.


That's about all I had for that. I was super bummed. 3 years older than me and gone. His words had built a soundtrack to a huge portion of my life - and this hit me kinda hard.

Staring out the window now - I see the wind is picking up and snow is kinda falling sideways out there. Time for me to get to the office - several of the team had already messaged me and said they were heading home to work - but I kissed the fam, jumped in the Jeep and headed out.

Literally - about 25 minutes after I got to work - we got this email here.

They were closing down the Global Ministry Center due to weather.

Well - poop. If only I had waited a bit longer at home.

But i was there - so I figured "Why not do a little work?"

I said "bye" to the last few folks around me who were heading out and then I hung around for another hour and a half or so... until I looked out the window and saw about 7 inches of snow on the picnic table and it hit me that I better get on the road.

Walking to the car - I almost got blown off the sidewalk - and when I jumped in the Jeep and saw I was completely soaked from that 1 minute walk in the weather - I started thinking things might be a little funky.

10 minutes on the road - and I KNEW that was the case.

So back to that first picture up there... this is an actual photo of the visibility on the way home - and this is BEFORE it got bad!

Easily some of the scariest stuff I have ever driven in... but I was going super slow - like 10 miles per hour and I was feeling good about things.

As I turned on to the last main road before home - I saw a pick up truck FLYING past me and fish tailing around. I slowed back a bit - didn't wanna be near the crazy man if he lost control in visibility that looked like about 10 feet.

Cresting a hill about 3 miles from home - things were going good when all of a sudden:


A SUV appeared right in front of me at a complete stop. I had zero time to react - visibility was no joke like 10 feet. In a matter of seconds I slammed on the brakes - felt like the Jeep sped up - I braced for impact and smashed directly into the SUV in front of me.

It looked like this (pic from next day - couldn't see it at all when I hit it).

Both of my airbags deployed, smashing my windshield.

I was sitting there - kinda assessing myself when...


I was hit from the rear... I jumped out to check on the car in front of me and they were nowhere to be seen. I heard two other crashes but couldn't see anything.

They guy who hit me and his passenger were okay... so - being soaking wet and realizing that since I couldn't see anything - cars coming my way couldn't either - so I got back in the Jeep - soaked from head to toe and shivering cold.

I called Laura and told her what was going on - and being that we know where to go first - she immediately posted to ask for prayer.

My phone started blowing up with people from all over praying, asking how they could help, etc.

And I just gotta pause and say "THANK YOU!" to every person who said a prayer, reached out, offered to come get me, etc. Totally humbled by you guys for real...

I sat in the Jeep with no heat - freezing - for close to an hour and a half I think. EMS folks were checking on us - and then they wrapped our cars in yellow tape and one opened my door and said (through the howling wind):

"Okay - we have an exit plan - we're gonna pull the fire truck up here tight to block the wind - you get what you need and jump int he truck with us... we're getting you guys out of here...""
Wait... huh? This whole thing was turning in to some kind of post-apocalyptic-feeling search and rescue mission...

They did what they said they were going to do - ad so I did what they told me to and jumped in. They busted a u-turn and took everybody they had picked up back the other direction to a nearby Wal-Mart and dropped us off there where we'd be safe.

All roads around us had been closed and now - here I was - stuck at Wal-Mart with an absolutely dead battery on my phone and no way to get home.

After exchanging some info with the other folks in the wreck - I headed back to the electronics section to begrudgingly buy a charger so I could at least find an outlet and charge my phone to start figuring out how to get home.

I must have looked ticked or confused or something - because this young Wal-Mart employee named Joshua came over and said "You finding everything sir?"

I told him I was good - and when he asked how the weather was outside - I couldn't help it. I gave him the 30 second run down of the last few hours for me and showed him my busted up phone from the wreck...

He then told me I didn't have to buy a new charger and led me over to a charging station they had and let me use it. He told me he'd be praying for me - which totally wasn't lost on me but I was so distracted I didn't do anything but thank him...

Once my phone came back on - I called Laura - actually told her about this super kind employee Joshua and we started trying to figure out how I could get home. I didn't want her going out in the crazy weather with the goofballs and plsu all the roads were closed anyway.

I finally told her I'd try to think up something while my clothes were drying and I'd call her back.

Wen I hung up - Joshua was back - offering me coffee?!?!

What on earth? I thought I was in Wal-Mart?? He kept engaging me in conversation and finally he said something to the tune of "I came to Colorado Springs because I heard there were a lot of believers here..."

That stopped me in my tracks - and the next ten minutes were spent talking about God, Jesus, His love for us, His death for us and How it all adds up to His grace redeeming us.

We chatted prosperity gospel (we both despise it) and I invited him to church and finally he looked at me and said "Hey - can we pray?"

Man... you don't have to ask me twice. Especially after the day I was having. So right there in Wal-Mart's Electronic department - with some customers and some of Joshua's co-workers looking on - we busted out a pretty loud and pretty thankful prayer. Nuts...!!

This whole time Joshua and I were talking I had been getting all kinds of texts and messages offering help - i kept turning everybody down cuz - well - I'm fiercely independent and for most of these kind folks - i was WAY out of their way...

And then I had this text exchange:

5 minutes later - with list in hand - I was cruising around Wal-Mart trying to find all the list items.

Adam showed up like a snow angel and battled traffic for what felt like WAY TOO LONG and got me back to my house.

When he was entering my neighborhood - El Paso County Search and Rescue was there unloading a gigantic SnowCat... this day couldn't get any nuttier.

The wind almost got me again as I tried to get in the house... and finally... at 4:30 - i was home.

So much thanks are due to our amazing neighbors, our friends, everybody praying, texting, etc... I am aware the outcome could have been much, much different.

When I came in the house - the goofballs heard my voice and I heard a:
"Daddy's Home!"
and I got bumrushed by them as they scampered upstairs to give me hugs.

Totaled Jeeps didn't matter at that point. Just hugs from my number one crew.

This was absolutely a day I don't think I'll forget for a while...

I'm a thankful dude right now...

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