This morning my usual commute to work took a frightening tone. As I drove along I-85, nearing my exit ramp, I suddenly saw a car in front of me hit another. The 18-wheeler in front of me swerved to avoid being hit, and ended up flipping over onto it side in the median. I had to do some quick manuevering to avoid being hit (or hitting anyone else), and thankfully I steered clear of any flying debris.

Shaken, I pulled over to the shoulder of the interstate, along with several other cars in front of and behind me. Many people got out of their cars–I saw at least one woman in scrubs, presumably a nurse–to rush to the aid of the drivers. I debated getting out of my car as well, but seeing the growing crowd, I figured I’d be more in the way than helpful.

As I sat waiting for my nerves to calm again, I felt a little helpless. I’m not a nurse so I couldn’t offer medical assistance. All I could think to do was pray for those involved in the accident. In retrospect, I realize that praying was actually one of the most helpful things I could do. Perhaps I should have gotten out of my car to go pray with the accident victims, but to tell you the truth, I was so shaken up at that moment that I’m not sure I’d have been too coherent.

Later this morning a co-worker and I went to Prattville for a press conference. Afterward, we drove around one of the neighborhoods struck by last week’s tornado. It was very sobering to see the devastation caused by this storm. What was truly amazing was seeing houses that had no visible damage right next to houses that had windows blown out, roofs missing, or that had been leveled altogether. Huge piles of debris were out by the curb of most houses, with bright blue tarps draped across roof after roof.

Both incidents have reminded me today of how much I have to be thankful for, including my very life, a roof over my head, all my possessions. There are many, many people, from car accident and storm victims to cancer patients to abuse victims to people who have lost their jobs who need our prayers. It’s a bit overwhelming to see and hear of situations like this and wonder how you can help. I’m trying to remember to start with prayer.

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