I was driving down the Grapevine between Los Angeles and San Jose. It was late, dark out, and I was alone. We didn’t have cell phones at that time. With little traffic on the highway, I was making good time. Without warning, a car on the side of the road burst into flames. Not just the engine–the whole car!
Stunned, I didn’t know what to do–and by now I had passed the car, which was still burning. Were there people inside? Could I do anything to help in the middle of a fireball?
There was nowhere nearby to stop and call for help. I prayed and kept driving. That was about thirty-five years ago, and while it hasn’t consciously been on my mind since, the scene and the horror I felt have stayed in my book of memories.
So the last four weeks I’ve taken a Community Emergency Response Team training course–“CERT”. Two hours on zoom, Tuesday and Thursday nights for three weeks, then an all-day hands-on training Saturday. I have learned so much about very basic triage, getting under rubble to release trapped people, and checking vital signs before the professionals arrive. Don and I volunteered to be part of The Villages Emergency Preparedness Committee, which led to this further training for me. While my knowledge base is still small, I know a bit more about what to do as “first steps,” in the event of a major earthquake or fire. CERT is nationwide, and the link to the San Jose program is https://www.sanjoseca.gov/your-government/departments/emergency-management/be-trained/community-emergency-response-team-training. The training was well worth the time invested, both for responding personally (i.e. family and home) and within a local community.
We had several work stations yesterday–triage, building checks, fire safety, immobilizing broken limbs, and removing debris to do light rescue. At the fire station we learned to aim the fire extinguisher at the base of the fire. I’ve never actually used an extinguisher and it felt good to feel the pressure and feel confident using one. After we practiced putting out our “garbage can fire”, I said I’d always wondered what happened with that car fire I saw years ago. The instructor said there was nothing I could have done as a person alone, except become a victim myself.
I thanked him, and a young woman near me put her hand on my shoulder and said, “You’re free.”
I teared up at her sweet gesture, and thought, isn’t that just what Jesus does for us? When we confess the ways we’ve pushed him away, the times we’ve walked away from him, and ask his forgiveness, he is right there to say, “You’re free. Your sins are gone. The past is wiped clean.”
But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do.James 1:25
What a gift! “You’re free!” I’m thankful for the young woman who expressed that to me, and reminded me of even greater freedom in Christ Jesus.
Now the Lord is the Spirit, and where the Spirit of the Lord is, there is freedom.II Cor 3:17
I pray you and I will live in freedom this week!