Skinny Lil’ Legs

A glance at the dashboard clock told me it was 5:40 a.m. It was a quiet moment in the cab of the car, even though my daddy, who was riding shotgun, was talking. He had been pondering out-loud non-stop since we left the hospital parking lot. A consuming, thick fog had settled over the roadway since we first started out on this early morning journey.

“I just don’t understand it”, he said. “It seems to happen every couple of years. Hmmmm. Just doesn’t make sense.”

Before he finished that last sentence, I saw them. Four, skinny little legs testing the waters of the asphalt in the distance ahead of us from the right shoulder of the four-lane highway. I stealthily slowed the Subaru so as not to alert my passenger.

“Out of the blue it seems”, he continued. “For no reason, really. I wish they knew why my blood pressure does that. And my head and arm ache so much…..” he trailed on.

I couldn’t be sure if it was a male or female deer thanks to the cloud of fog hiding most of the animal from view, but I began surveying both sides of the road now, searching for additional legs. There were none. I slowed the car even more, as the legs proceeded to cross before me. As they reached the median, I relaxed the slightest bit. And that’s when it happened.

Unaware that there was any other vehicle traveling in our direction, a midsized SUV came speeding passed my 25 mph crawl, and then I knew.

It was a male. A young buck. Maybe 6 points or so. The headlights from the passing auto reflected off his dew-covered rack.

In an instant, he turned to face the direction from which he came, and he darted out in front of that SUV. We both slammed on brakes, albeit my stop was less severe than that of the faster companion driver in the left lane who made contact with the animal.

A piece of antler flew over my car. Half of a silver bumper catapulted into the air and landed beside us. And those legs. Those delicate, skinny lil’ legs. The buck was tossed in the air, and the legs were scrambling to right his summersaulting torso. Buck landed directly in front of our car. On his side. Flailing about, still trying to right his body. What seemed like 15 minutes, I’m sure was over in a handful of seconds. The two front legs tried desperately to pull him to the safety of the grass just beyond a roadside mailbox.

“Oh, daddy, he’s suffering.” The first words I had said since leaving the hospital parking lot moments before.

“No, no, he’s going to be alright”, reassured my anchor.

And in an instant, Buck got his back legs to agree with his front two and he raised up and walked out of the spotlight before us.

I pulled over to the right side. The SUV pulled over the left. I rolled down my window to ask if the driver was okay, when an unknowing work van barreled between our vehicles, crushing the already broken pieces of deer and SUV. The driver was alone and already calling for help on her cell phone. “Thank goodness!”, I sighed.

Just hours earlier, as I sped out of my driveway to hopefully beat, or at least meet, the ambulance in my daddy’s driveway, I prayed: “Lord, Your will, not my own, Lord. Your will, not my own. Even though I’m going to tell you, Father, that I want my daddy to stay here for years to come, if that’s not part of Your will, please help me accept that and be ready.”

Daddy was having chest pains. His blood pressure was high. Daddy is almost 82.

“Father, please keep our travel safe and help it be swift. Please keep deer out of our path tonight. Amen.”

The ambulance trip was fast. The rescue workers were really good to daddy. The hospital staff was the best. I’ve come to expect really great care from everyone in this particular medical center. One nitroglycerin and positive lab results a few hours later, and I was driving my daddy back home.

When we pulled out of that hospital parking lot, all thoughts of the prayers I’d laid out before the Lord earlier were gone. I was, instead, tired and focussing more on getting daddy home so that I could get a couple of hours of sleep before heading to work.

Valley versus Mountain.

I was valley-dwelling, in the unknown, when I called out to Jesus and asked for help.

I was mountain-dwelling, in anticipation, when I didn’t call out to Jesus to say thank you right away.

Praise the Lord, He doesn’t keep score the way I do over what I see as my own strengths and weaknesses, as pertains to my relationship with Him.

God knew those skinny lil’ legs would catch my attention.
God knew I would slow down and remember asking Him to protect us in our travels.
God knew tangible evidence of His protection would go miles with me.

And just like that, from my point of view, God showered me lavishly in showing his protection.

I became aware of the skinny lil’ legs.
Thank you, Lord.
I slowed and was cautious.
Thank you, Lord.
The deer didn’t hit our car.
Thank you, Lord.
Nor did the flying antler.
Thank you, Lord.
Not even the airborne bumper.
Thank you, Lord.
The SUV driver was not injured.
Thank you, Lord.
And Buck walked away.
Thank you, Lord.

I couldn’t help but think of how much our Father loves us.
How He loves me.
My dad.
The SUV driver.
He sent His only Son –
a Sacrifice for us.
For me.
My dad.
The SUV driver.

God reminded me in an instant of my prayers.
And I saw them answered.

As I think about that deer, Buck, I also was thankful that I didn’t have to watch him suffer and die. It was a hard hit. I can’t imagine he survived it. But I didn’t have to see him struggle. It was heartbreaking to see such a beautiful creature flailing about like that, right in front of me, knowing I couldn’t help it. And this train of thought lead me to think of Jesus hanging on the cross. All the beating and flogging leading up to the cross. The crowd of people witness to His suffering. His willingness to take on that suffering because of us.
Because of me.
Because of my dad.
Because of the SUV driver.

And my daddy?
I didn’t miss that, God.
Thank you for giving us more time together.
Thank you, Lord! Your will be done.

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