As I drove across the Florida panhandle today, I was assaulted by pouring rain and furious thunder. And of course, the lightning that goes with it. I had been warned by the weatherman to expect tornadoes in the area, just like the ones that had done so much damage in Mississippi just days before. I could feel the wind pushing and shoving at the van I was driving, and it was much more than worrisome. I was getting very scared, very fast.
I said a prayer without closing my eyes, and just then my cell phone rang. It was my boss Riff, and his typical nasty mood was far from an answer to my prayers. "What are you doing, loser?"
"Driving this van to Mississippi for you."
"Whoa now, you're not doing it for me. Don't go acting like you're doing me some big favor. No sir, you are moving that van for our client."
"OK, whatever you say."
"Hey now, cream puff! I don't think I like the tone of your voice."
"Riff, I am in terrible weather, and I need to keep both hands on the wheel. Talk to you later." And then I hung up before he had a chance to say another word. Moments later, the phone rang again, and I answered, "Look Riff, you--"
"Nope, not Riff," the voice interrupted me. It was the voice of Pastor Rex, my old friend and spiritual adviser. "Just me, your old buddy Rex."
"Pastor and Pirate."
He chuckled. "At your service. Just had a gut feeling that I should call you."
"Your timing is great. I am driving in some pretty nasty weather, and playing hopscotch with tornadoes."
"Are you in the panhandle?"
"Yes sir, and to be honest I'm feeling nervous."
"No need," he said to me. "God is your co-pilot. He is watching over you, shrouding you in the hedge of protection. He will get you safely to your destination."
I smiled, feeling a sense of calm. "Thanks. You're right."
"I know I'm right. By the way, I really liked your blog about going to see GOD'S NOT DEAD."
"I loved that movie."
"And I loved the experience you had with the man outside the theater after the movie."
"God does work in mysterious ways."
"He does indeed." We spoke for a few minutes, then I excused myself so I could keep both hands on the wheel.
I was getting low on gas, and I needed to use the restroom. I got off at the next exit with a truck stop, and pulled up to the pumps. When I stepped out of the van, a gust of wind hit me that felt like it would knock me over. I slid my credit card into the slot in the pump, then removed the handle.
I heard a girl's voice as I pumped the gas. "Excuse me, sir?"
I turned to her slowly, not knowing what to expect. "How can I help you?" I asked, anticipating the worst.
She was an older woman dressed as a young girl. Her blonde hair was in pigtails, and her little girl's dress was worn and tattered. "Have you seen my dog?" she asked me.
"His name is Toto, and we need to get home to Kansas. I've lost my way, I'm looking for the yellow brick road."
She was clearly one of what I call Bill's people. The odd folks around the USA who always seem to find me and engage me with their zaniness. "Sorry, I can't help you."
"Sure you can, if you only believe it. If you have the brains, the heart, the courage, why then anything is possible."
I nodded. "I guess you have a point."
"Of course I do, don't be ridiculous." A strong gust of wind picked up trash and paper and spun them around in a small funnel. The girl looked terrified and screamed. Then she ran away yelling, "Uncle Henry, Auntie Em, it's a twister, it's a twister!"
You may call this extremely bizarre behavior. But for me, another blog just wrote itself.