Wednesday Sampler: It’s All Good News by Lorri Allen
September 30, 2015
In our mission to connect readers, writers, and books, Caleb and Linda Pirtle has launched a new series featuring writing samples from some of the best authors in the marketplace today. Wednesday’s Sampler is an excerpt from It’s All Good News by Lorri Allen. The book features inspirational and uplifting essays, as well as character sketches from people making a difference in the world around them.
As one reviewer said: Lorri Allen writes with an honest and vulnerable style that calls you to be honest with God in a fresh way. The book is organized into the four seasons (Winter, Spring, Summer and Fall) and captures the God moments in everyday life in a thought-provoking way that will stir your heart.
Tired of news and headlines screaming doom and gloom? How about encouraging words for a change? It’s All Good News will warm your heart and brighten your day with 52 easy-to-understand personal illustrations and anecdotes by radio personality and journalist Lorri Allen. In addition to essays, Good News Nuggets showcase people making a difference–real live heroes who should be on Prime Time
The Pear Tree
For I am convinced that neither death, nor life, nor angels, nor principalities, nor things present, nor things to come, nor powers, nor height, nor depth, nor any other created thing, shall be able to separate us from the love of God, which is in Christ Jesus our Lord. (Rom. 8:38-39 nasb)
The pear trees are beautiful in the spring. They stand tall and majestic with slender trunks, but they sport big, full, round branches filled with white blossoms. I love pear trees… not only because they’re so pretty, but because I owe my life to one.
Yes, a pear tree saved my life—literally.
I was a senior in high school, and this particular day, I had a trigonometry test first period. It had been a tough school year for me. I had taken on too many activities and too many tough courses. For the first time, I felt the too-constant companion of stress. I had a college boyfriend who was pressuring me to… well, to do the things that 20-year-old men pressure 18-year-old girls to do. Plus, I couldn’t decide which college to attend. To top it off, I just wasn’t achieving success in drama, speech and debate like I had in other years. To add to the pressure, my coach and teammates kept reminding me that this was the year, of all years, to excel. At times, I felt like giving up.
My parents were always up and out early, so it was my job to put the dogs in the back yard and shut the gates securely on my way to school.
At the beginning of the school year, my parents bought me a car. It was an older, white Lincoln Continental Mark IV. It featured a giant long hood, red leather interior and a back seat that could hold ten of my friends in it, it was so huge. It got eight miles to the gallon. My parents were smart. They figured a big car would be safe if I got into a wreck. They paid for the car and the insurance, but I had to pay for the gas. At eight miles per gallon, I didn’t go far.
Typically, I would back the Lincoln into an arc, pull the nose forward and head out the driveway, just past the gates… leave the car running… shut the gates and be on my way.
This particular day, I distinctly remember throwing the transmission into park, leaving the big car door open and walking around to the rear of the car quickly. I wanted to get to class early to prepare for the trig test.
After I patted the dogs and shut the gate, I noticed something odd.
The car seemed to be rolling toward me. “Hmm… if it’s just rolling toward me, I’ll just reach out and stop it,” I thought. But in a flash of a second, I realized it wasn’t rolling, it was reversing.
I was between the wooden gates and the huge vehicle. Did I have time to reach around and unlatch the gates?
Would the car back up over me and kill me?
Would the car back up, crash through the fence that separated our backyard from a busy street and cause a wreck during rush hour?
I could see a school bus full of little kids overturning.
I had to do something.
It’s funny how your mind works in crisis. And how in memory, you see everything in slow motion.
I can’t tell you if I opened that gate or if an angel lifted me up… but in my mind, I see the wooden gates going up… and out, against the blue, blue sky… and I hear the open door of the Lincoln catching on the gate post.
Then, I started screaming at the top of my lungs, “Help! Help! Help!”
The only action I could think of was to get in the car and turn the ignition off.
As I raced to get in front of the car, still screaming, I reached for the keys and turned, but my arm got caught in the steering wheel, and the moving car knocked me backward. Desperately, I tried to turn the wheel… so the vehicle wouldn’t go out on the busy street.
Yanking the steering wheel worked. The car turned slightly, but not before I lost my balance and fell to the ground. As the Lincoln moved over me, I prayed: “God, I want to live! I want to live! Please let me live!”
I could smell the exhaust. I felt the rubber of the tire near my leg as I hit concrete.
And at that exact moment, the car stopped.
Climbing out from under the car, I reached up to the keys and this time, I successfully turned the engine off.
Cautiously, I went behind the car to see what happened. The pear tree, the slender pear tree, stopped the car. It was one of three trees in the backyard that Dad had once salvaged from a dumpster. He gave it a second chance, and it gave me one.
At this point, the next door neighbors came running. They’d heard me scream, but they were getting dressed. Pam opened her coat a bit to show me her nightgown. As her husband Mike looked under the car, he finally turned back to ask, “Is your mother under there?”
When I shook my head, he asked, “Well, then why were you screaming so loudly?”
Though I still trembled, I needed to get to school and take the trig test. Pam offered me a ride. In her nightgown.
A few years later, I heard that certain Lincoln and Ford models of that era had a tendency to slip out of park into reverse. There was a class action suit, but I didn’t care about it. I was healthy and busy starting a new career.
Although I am tempted to cringe when I see one of those old Lincoln Continentals, I don’t. Through that car, God reminded me that my life is precious, and no matter what is going on, it’s worth living.
I still smile when I see a pear tree. And the trig test? God’s angels were truly with me that day, because I got an A.