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The Catholic Defender: Suicide Hill

I use to drive from Copperas Cove Texas to Temple when I worked at the Veteran's Administration supporting our many Veterans in the area. What a great opportunity to honor our nations Veterans from all of our Military Services. Every morning and evening, I drove from Copperas Cove to Temple which is always an adventure on the road. Especially in the morning when all the population is out trying to get to work in the morning.

For me it was about a 45 to 50 minute drive one way. At times this trip gave me the opportunity to pray the Rosary and the Divine Mercy, other times I listen to the news on the radio. There can be times when the morning sun coming up gives a majestic picture pointing to the majesty of God. The cloud cover, the rays of the sun bursting through, sometimes the moon, it can give you something to think about as you drive along the route every morning. Sometimes I might see five or six police cars with their blue/red lights flashing as they pull over a speeding vehicle, other times you don't see any of them out there. There have been many bad accidents out there on this route, especially when you get close to Interstate 35 towards Temple and Waco. Sometimes the traffic will be at a stand still. I've seen as many as 20 cars involved and that can be serious.

I have been very blessed in that I have not been involved in any accident, I've had a couple of close calls. One time I was driving home when the traffic in front of me just went from 70 miles per hour to 45 in a heartbeat. Sometimes, we have drivers who drive the fast lane that should be on the outside lane. I had to put on the brakes more than once to avoid hitting someone in the rear, I'm glad that I've been able to react as I have. Many of you can certainly identify with what I am saying. This one particular morning, I was coming upon a well known hill known as "Suicide Hill", just as I have every morning. As I was driving up this hill, which is not really that large of a hill.

I've traveled far larger hills in the Ozark Mountains heading towards Branson Missouri. I've driven through the Mountains in West Virginia, plus, I've driven in the mountains of Colorado and New Mexico, so this hill has not been a challenge to me. As I continued to drive I began to feel a certain thankfulness for not having any car problems along the way. That is another thing I see often, cars stranded along the route. Just as I was about halfway up this winding hill, I was driving about 70 miles per hour when my vehicle died.

It didn't sputter, it didn't cough, there was no sign of anything wrong, it just quit. I kind of coasted to the side of the road thinking that I would have to call my work and tell them I might be late. I was thinking I might have to call for a tow truck to pick me up, I dreaded the situation. I came to a complete stop with traffic flying right on by, I looked at my instrument panel and the break light, the oil light, the engine light all came on and there was no power. I sat there for a moment thinking how my blessings were about to change. I looked back and noticed a line of cars racing on by.

I simply turned the key off the ignition and simply started my vehicle thinking it would not start, but it did. It started right up and I was ready to roll back up the hill and continue to work. I wondered about this episode as I made it to work. I parked the vehicle and I started it two or three more times just to test it. I walked into my office and began my day as if nothing had happened. Thankfully, I have had no further incidence with my vehicle.

I survived Suicide Hill, thankfully, but as I think about this, we walk by faith and not by site. There are times when we kind of coast along with our faith, but it is only sharpened when it is tested. We must always keep Jesus as our co-pilot, he is the one who is the navigator, we are the branches.

Sometimes we might be traveling down a dark valley, but we are not to fear the arrow that fly's by day. We do not have to fear because we have the grace of God to overcome all obstacles that we might face. Even should we stumble down a rabbit trail, the Catholic Church is a City on a hill if we look up and see.

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