When I turned 16, I went with my mother to get my driver’s license. I had already had a year of driving on a learner’s permit, and had taken a driving course through my high school over the summer, so I was ready to start driving on my own.
Growing up in Decatur, the place to go to get your driver’s license was the Georgia State Patrol office on Constitution Avenue, off Moreland Avenue in southeast Atlanta. We got there, I took the written test, then an examiner and I got into my mother’s car and he had me drive around the course they had set up in the lower parking lot in back. I did everything I was supposed to, including parallel parking and backing up, then he had me drive back up to the testing station. As I was pulling into the testing station, another examiner walked across the lane in front of me. I was already slowing down, but he still had to quicken his last step or two to avoid being hit by me as I stopped. Before my examiner signed off on my license, he admonished me that no matter if they are in a crosswalk or not, pedestrians always have the right-of-way over vehicles.
That was the second thought I had the other day, remembering that admonishment. The third thought was that the female driver who had just sped past me had obviously not had the same examiner I had, and the first thought was, “Thank you, Lord, for watching over me.”
It happened a week ago today. I had walked out of the office on my way to the Kiwanis meeting. My car was parked across E. Thompson Street from our building, in the Colony Bank parking lot. I got to the corner and noticed a car headed east on E. Thompson stopped at the light. I looked up to the right and saw the light was red on E. Thompson, and started to walk across. But I looked at the crosswalk signal and it was blank. That made me pause, and I took another look at the stopped car and the red light. Realizing the Walk sign on the crosswalk signal was out, I started across.
I had just taken a step or two when a small car, driven by a woman who appeared to be talking on the cellphone while she was turning, turned left rather quickly from N. Center Street onto E. Thompson Street and zipped right by me. I realized right then and there that the Lord had to be watching over me, because if that crosswalk signal had not been out and I had not paused to take a second look, I would have been right in the path of that turning car. And she was going at such a speed and with part of her attention on her cellphone conversation, that I’m fairly certain there is no way she could have stopped or swerved to miss me.
If I hadn’t paused for that brief second or two, you would not be reading this. I’d either be in URMC with multiple broken bones and other injuries, and in no mood to write, or my ashes would be sitting in an urn somewhere (I plan on being cremated when I die) and you’d be reading my obituary, instead.
I can’t say that I notice everything more now than I did then, but I do pay more attention when I’m crossing a street, just in case the drivers around me aren’t paying attention. And like a good friend of mine said when I told her what happened, I’m more attentive now when I’m driving. And as always, I am thankful the Lord was watching out for me last Tuesday. Sometimes I think the Lord is the only one watching out for me.