May 09, 2011

Coffee Break - Shirley S. Tye

Sometimes intoxicated drivers make it from point A to B without any mishaps. Although in their drunken state they frighten many, as one did several years ago while following me.

At a stop sign I glanced into the rear-view mirror and saw an older man, whom I recognized, behind the wheel of a car. There was no doubt about his state of mind; it was definitely floating in a sea of liquor. I sensed danger. Quickly I left the stop and steered my old car onto the highway. I hoped a vehicle would appear around the rock cut and separate me from the drunk driver. But as I left so did he. Apparently inebriated drivers don't need to look both ways before entering a highway. I increased speed trying to keep a safe distance from him. But his blood shot eyes were fixed on my rear bumper. As I concentrated on the windy highway with rock cuts and forest on both sides, I wondered what was keeping the police from their usual highway patrol. It would have given me relief to see one but we were the only ones on the road at the time. I remember thinking that perhaps they were on a coffee break at the junction.

My heart pounded. I pushed the gas pedal down a little more. The drunken fool followed like a shadow. Twice he sprayed stones and dust into the air as he weaved off the pavement onto the soft shoulder. As my old car picked up speed down the hill, I wondered if the shocks and tires would survive the rough ride over the railroad tracks at the bottom of the hill. I thought if I'd brake, the fool might brake suddenly, lose control of his vehicle and wrap himself around the railroad signal post. I couldn't live with that. I prayed we'd both make it safely over the tracks and around the bend. God was listening. My old car shook like a wet dog as it bounced hard over the tracks and leaned into the curve. The drunk followed. When he cleared the tracks, I heard the squeal of tires as he tramped on the brakes. In my rear-view mirror I saw his car fish-tail onto a dirt side road and then disappear in a cloud of dust. He was obviously in a hurry to help his friends polish off their booze.

With trembling hands I clutched the steering wheel and offered thanks to the Lord. As I passed the junction cafe, I saw a police officer climb into his cruiser. I know they need their breaks but I'm glad God doesn't.


  1. Imagine what will happen if God decides to take a break? We'll be broke and be broken beyond recognition.

  2. I wasn't sure if this was a story or an experience. Either way, the meaning is the same, that our lives are in God's hands.

    I'm wondering how the story would have ended if your follower hadn't darted up a side road? I think I would have pulled over, or even darted up a side road of my own to let him pass.

    What would you have done--besides pray?


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