Updated: Aug 6
On April 18, 2016, my life flashed before my eyes. A very scary situation took place on Interstate 4 in Orlando, Florida. I was driving and my husband and I were on our way to the airport to return home after attending a family function. Normally, he would be driving, but because he had an elbow injury I drove as the injury would have made it difficult for him to steer. Now I understand why I was driving.
It was a nice sunny day in Orlando. The traffic was moving good. We weren’t stressed to get to the airport because we were early. As I was driving, out of nowhere (literally out of nowhere), a speed limit sign flew out from a dump truck hauling trash that was in front of our car. By the way, I was not on the dump truck’s bumper. I was a good distance behind. Funny, there were no cars in front of me.
When the sign flew out of the dump truck, it was headed straight for us. We were traveling in the middle lane of the highway driving at a decent speed. At that moment, I realized several things could have happened. The sign could have dropped off into the roadway causing my car to run over it. The sign could have hit the car underneath it causing major damage to the undercarriage. Or worse…the sign could have hit the windshield causing us to careen off the road to face the inevitable. Even worse…I could have swerved into other cars causing a major accident on that highway.
As I swerved from side to side, the sign followed our car as if it was intentionally trying to hit us. In spite of the situation, I didn’t panic. I drove the car as normal as possible under those difficult circumstances. Well, the sign did hit the car with a loud thud. Strangely enough, the sign hit the front grill of the car sitting flat against it! Now, the important thing for me to remember was to keep the same speed and move to the next lane without running into any cars as my husband reminded me. The adrenaline was pumping as I maintained my composure. My husband warned me to get over as quickly as possible just in case the sign decided to flip upward and come into the windshield. Eek!
I looked in the rear view mirror and the side view mirror on the passenger side and began to get over. Slowly and methodically I moved to the right lane and then to the shoulder. As I came to a stop, the sign made a loud boom onto the ground. I put the car in park and sat there for a few minutes – in shock. My husband got out of the car and looked at the car and said, “There are a few scratches. I don’t see any dents.” Thank God!!!! I got out of the car to take a look. The sign was massive in size and had a large screw and bolt still attached to it. I looked at that sign and wondered what could have happened to us if we didn’t have God and guardian angels protecting us. We left the sign on the side of the road and began to make our way to the car rental agency.
At the university where I am employed, I work with family members who have loved ones with developmental disabilities. About five years ago, one of the family members shared something with me that was very profound. She said F.E.A.R. means False Evidence Appearing Real. I never heard that phrase before, but as I thought about it, it made perfect sense to me. When you’re afraid, you are making a choice to give that emotion life. However, I do understand “fight or flight” and know that the human instinct causes us to recognize fearful situations. What matters most is our reaction to those situations.
Determine whether or not the situation deserves as much energy as you may give it. You have to think to yourself, “Is this situation worth the energy I’m giving it?” Sure, you can acknowledge that the “fearful” situation does exist, but move past it as quickly as possible and remember what God said. He said to never fear and to cast our cares and burdens on him. I try to remember that whenever I’m placed in trying situations that could cause me to be afraid or stressed.
In an instant, your life can be taken from you. This experience proved that to me without a doubt. If ever there was a moment for me to be thankful and grateful for my life – that was the moment. I was not afraid during that moment. I just felt the need to survive and to make sure that no one else around me would be injured or killed. Whenever I travel, I always, always, always pray to God for traveling mercies. I am truly grateful that God spared our lives. God is always with us. God never fails!
Live, laugh, love, and pray.
God Bless You with Good Health and Wellness,
Antoinette Shar’ron Johnson
“Empowering, inspiring, motivating, and uplifting your mind, body, and soul!”