A Day Away

She volunteered to be with our daughter for an afternoon and overnight. My wife and I were finally getting a mini-vacation from caring for our daughter in one side of a small duplex on the edge of a very small town. Respite was desperately needed as I was working long hours in a new place, my wife was with our daughter 24/7 and we really didn’t know anybody yet.

Just in case something went wrong, bigger than the normal things that go wrong, we found a nice room with a hot tub, ordered a pizza, snacked on people treats, held each other, soaked, talked and found deep sleep.

My phone started ringing at 3:30AM. I couldn’t grasp what it was for a few rings, being in the deepest sleep in a long time. I realized upon answering that something was wrong bigger than the normal wrongs by the sound of her voice. I pieced together that she had stepped outside with the little dog in her PJ’s (shorts and tank top) and bare feet and the door had locked behind her. She knocked on our daughters window to let her know the predicament, but that confused our daughter. It would have been okay in the summer but it was January in northern Wisconsin, the snow had been shoveled but it was all snow and ice and a below zero (Fahrenheit) night.

She assessed the situation quickly. Conclusion: “Not Good.”

A car slowly drove by the driveway on the icy street and turned the corner. She scooped up the little dog on the run, using her previous track skills she sprinted after the car but didn’t catch it before it sped away on the main highway (yes, still in bare feet, tank top and sleep shorts). She was now lost and freezing. Looking around, she spotted a nursing home entrance. Could she be saved? There were lights and people inside. She could be saved! After beating on the locked doors for awhile someone let her in. Saved!

While thawing toes, feet, and really all of her, the story came out. She can be an entertaining story teller and this time she had a lot of material and adrenaline to work with.

She did not have her phone, so, it took awhile to track down our phone number registered in the office of the duplex we were renting which oddly was attached to the nursing home office (or she might have had to sleep there). We were only a half hour away so I drove to the nursing home, picked her up and let her into our home to care for our daughter until we got back.

Thankfully she had several things on loan (head to toes) from the nursing staff. We also traded the “I’m so sorry” lines as she really really felt bad. She only really felt bad when I told her I had forgot to tell her where the spare key was hidden outside. When she knocked on our daughters window she was close. When she tried the back door (wading through two feet of snow), all she needed to do was look up and the key was taped to the top of the frame. Now she was down to feeling bad. I should have told her where the key was in the first place…sigh. Now it’s my fault.

I drove back to our hotel, my wife was up and packed and we went home with yet another story and more than a dozen life applications.

If you have read this far, you probably have some good ideas on life and spiritual life applications on your own. Read the story to a small group of people and they will find a dozen key principles to remember and live by. Read it to Adam and Eve and they will tell you how one wrong bite changed the trajectory of life and relationships with God and on planet earth for all time.

How many doors have clicked shut behind you with no way to return? Have you told your family, friends and neighbors where the key is to Knowing God’s plan for restoring our relationship with him? Have you ever experienced “being saved?” and can tell the story of life’s icy road and not catching what you thought would help?

There was a light, she saw it, went there and knocked.

Let me show you two pictures of the same thing. One is a view while in the storm while the other is the view with clear weather, after the storm with the sun coming up. Only one picture is crystal clear.

It’s impossible to see things like truth, right and wrong, others motives, and certainly not life’s best pathway in the storms of life. How can we possibly be prepared to storms that take us by surprise? The truth is we find ourselves in our bare feet and sleepwear in the cold of relationships, jobs, illness and loss.

This story happened nine years ago but my pictures were taken this last weekend. I was reminded of this as I read these verses today from psalms.

This is the key!

Psalm 91:1 (amplified) “He who dwells in the shelter of the Most High Will remain secure and rest in the shadow of the Almighty” [whose power no enemy can withstand].

Psalm 27:5 “For in the day of trouble He will hide me in His shelter; He will conceal me under the cover of His tent; He will set me high upon a rock.”
Psalm 32:7″You are my hiding place. You protect me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah”

Your comments are welcome on all the ways the above story can be used when story telling, speaking, writing and general conversations about life. And…SHE will remain anonymous.


This story is a follow up to the storm with pictures in my post “Great expectations” on my other blog at Garyfultz.com

30 thoughts on “A Day Away

    1. Well, little Buddy is doing better. Mostly because it warmed up 25 degrees. It got to 10 above today and will warm a little more tomorrow. I thing the crispness of -10 to -15 is hard on him rather than the softer snow when it gets a few degrees above zero. He also seems to want to beat the pain so he can spend more time outside.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. Nothing to be ashamed by any parties involved far as I can see, Gary. God told Adam, from now on THISTLES. I would guess He meant whatever can go wrong in a fallen world, will. Keeping God in close contact at all time – that is the key, as you said. Glad everything was smoothed out by the Lord with some help from His friends. Great story, too.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. It was a potentially dangerous situation.
    Both to our daughter and to her caregiver. It was a very cold night.
    A good speaking story for illustration. It hold audiences with you to drive a point home.


    1. That’s OK Ted. I had also checked with the gal who went barefoot and she is OK if the story got around as nobody knows who it is. She said her feet got cold from the memory just reading it..
      Thanks for the encouragement.


  3. I just really love the way you take real life situations and turn them into spiritual lessons. Glad this story had a happy ending. And more than glad that we, who believe in Jesus, will one day experience the best happy ending! He is the Key that unlocks the door to heaven.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Very good! I do commiserate however about trying to get away for a break! Not so long ago hubby and I had packed the camper van planning to be away for 3-4 days. As we passed over the flyover, below which is the building where our disabled son ‘works’, I said to myself and hubby, “be safe son and stay well” Both hubby and I nodded in agreement. Before we had driven another kilometre my mobile phone rang. It was the supervisor of the building saying that our son had taken a bad turn and the ambulance had been called. Thus we turned around and drove to the building where, once the ambulance had checked him out, we put our son into the van and just drove home. He was fine but we never did get that holiday. [Our 45yr old son is both intellectually and physically impaired and resides in a residence with 4 others where they have 24/7 care.]

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  5. Oh I so relate Carol. We have lost count of all the times our plans to get away have fallen through including two cruises with back up plans…all scrapped.
    It is nice your son can live in another residence.


  6. Gary, this would happen to us all the time if we didn’t have a door that has to be locked with a key. (I’m SO glad.)
    Now that you’ve told the world where your extra key is, you’ll have to find a different place to hide it. 😉 (Just be sure to tell HER before you take off again.)

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is a scary story indeed!!! When the temperatures are that cold, every minute counts. I love how you pulled this together…God is our key to life no matter what the situation. As long as we have that key, we know we are safe in the storms of life.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Linda. Scary indeed. I’m surprised she didn’t get frostbite or cut her feet running on street ice. So many things could have gone more wrong. God was and is the key in her situation and all of ours. He is not just a “last ditch” chance to survive life’s situations for those who trust Him.

      Liked by 1 person

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