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Eye to Eye

Posted Friday, March 2, 2012, at 10:55 PM

By Rayla Stewart Hogue

Special to the Daily Statesman

He had one last stop before his day was over. It had been a long day with lots of people to check on. Some had been nice--some rude. He was truly tired and ready to head home.

This final home was far out in the country. According to the map it was literally the end of the road. Since it was hot outside, he cranked up the air conditioning in the van. Putting in his favorite CD, he relaxed as he looked at the countryside streaming past his widows.

Really, this wasn't so bad. He was being paid well. He was in a comfortable vehicle. He didn't have to be out in the oppressive summer heat. Most of the people he checked on were interesting and he often heard some interesting stories along the way. The road in front of him was a long strip of blacktop with a few dips and hills in the distance. Life was good.

Up ahead he had one last hill to climb before he should be coming near his destination--if he figured the mileage correctly. One of his favorite songs came on and he used his steering wheel to play air drums as he sped up the hill, about to crest the top of the hill. He glanced around at the fields around him and then back at the road . . . W H A T? . . . BRAKE, BRAKE, BRAKE . . . DUCK!

He had completed his job for the day. He had been flying for several hours--checking lines--spotting for the crew on the ground. He was done--other than returning to the hanger. Being a pilot was a pretty good life. He especially loved this small helicopter. It was just large enough for him and one passenger. It was quick and agile. He could maneuver it almost anywhere.

Since he was done for the day, he decided to have a little fun and put her through her paces. He was way out in the country. There was only one road near that ended at the two houses ahead. It shone like a black ribbon ahead of him with hills and dips. It would be a good opportunity to practice flying just off the ground. He could follow it as a flight path while seeming to skim the roadway.

This was such a great feeling . . . skimming the earth. A couple of guys were working in the field paused to wave at him as he shadowed the road bed. His forward momentum was exhilarating. He followed the road as he speed up hill--barely visible following this track. Coming up over the crest of the hill he was so close to the earth he could almost feel it under his skids. WHAT? PULL UP, PULL UP, PULL UP!

Directly in front of him came a van barreling over the crest of the road. He was eye to eye with the drive whose eyes where huge--widening in surprise and shock--as were his. He pulled a hard as he could on the stick trying to gain altitude in the seconds before impact, breathed a prayer, and relied on instinct and training.

The van's driver couldn't believe his eyes. Here in his air space was a helicopter hurling along the roadway coming straight at him. He was virtually eye to eye as he could see the pilot yanking the controls to gain altitude. They were so close he knew they were going to hit, but he stepped on the brake as hard as he could . . . black smoke boiling from the tires as he closed his eyes, breathed a prayer . . . and ducked.

Both men held their breath, preparing themselves for the impact they felt was coming. Through the tiny slits of their eyes they each watched the other, watching themselves. It would be over in just seconds . . . the impact should be . . . They cleared. They cleared. THEY CLEARED!!!!

There are so many times in our lives that we are just rolling along, enjoying where life is leading. We "practice" our skills. We take in the beauty around us. We decide we are doing "pretty good" all in all and think we can handle this life . . . until the unexpected pops into our path. Then we realize scream for you.

God, when life throws its best curve ball at us, help us to center ourselves upon you. Help us to realize that seeing eye to eye is not always what we think it should be. Teach us to rely upon you rather than ourselves. We know that while we think we see the road ahead clearly that you truly do. So be it. Amen.

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From My Heart to Yours
Rayla Stewart Hogue
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Rayla Stewart Hogue is a native of Dexter. She is a wife, mother, and minister of the UCC (United Church of Christ). She seeks to recognize and embrace the unending hues of God's ethne and religion, and commits herself to living and expressing this inclusive diversity through Sacrament and the spoken, written, and sung Word of God.
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