Last night at about 9:00, after walking in the house from Young Women's, Erik asked Nicole and I to come sit in the living room. I immediately knew something was wrong. The look on his face, the tone in his voice, the fact that he had asked us to come sit in the living room, all told me that what I was about to hear was going to shake me. You know what I am talking about. The feeling you get when you first hear of terrible news.
I asked him if something bad had happened. He said, not yet. At least he hoped not.
He proceeded to tell us that about thirty minutes earlier, he had received a phone call from my mom. The first words out of her mouth were, "We need your prayers!".
It was my dad's birthday yesterday and all he wanted to do was spend the day fishing. After a leisurely morning and a stop at a restaurant for brunch, they headed up Springville Canyon on their way to Strawberry Reservoir.
My dad loves to take the scenic route. He always has. He has an amazing sense of direction- I have never known him to get lost before. The route that dad had chosen to take was one that he had traveled years before. He wanted to see if he could still figure out how to get to the Reservoir from that particular canyon.
Mom relayed to Erik that she and dad had been driving around since 3:00 p.m. trying to figure out how to get back to a main road. They had an idea where they were, but were not completely sure. They had been driving on bumpy dirt roads for hours. She asked us to pray for them and that they would call when they reached a main road.
We immediately offered a prayer on their behalf. I felt calm. For about thirty minutes- maybe it was only fifteen.
Time crept by at an agonizingly slow pace. We waited for the phone to ring while trying to carry on with the normal evening tasks.
By 10:30, still no call. It was dark and stormy and I was getting very worried. Terrible thoughts were going through my mind as I dialed my parents cell phone numbers for the fifth time in half an hour. Mom's phone went right to voice mail. Dad's would ring, but there was no answer.
I couldn't take it any longer. Sitting next to Erik on our bed I asked him, "How long do we wait before calling for help? They have been driving around for over seven hours! Shouldn't we call someone and just let them know what is going on?" He agreed and we made a phone call to the Wasatch County Sheriff's Department.
Erik gave the dispatcher the last known location my parents knew they had been in, a description of dad's truck, their ages, their cell phone numbers, as well as our contact information. The dispatcher said it was a very large area and it would take awhile before they would be able to give us an update, and that if we heard from my parents we were to let them know.
Several minutes later, our phone rang. It was dad's cell phone. Through a terrible connection, mom told us that they were on a better road and they thought they could find their way from there. Then she told us to "Go to bed!".
I knew she didn't want us to stay up worrying but there was no way that sleep was going to come until I knew they were safe at home again.
After letting the Sheriff know, we waited a few more minutes and tried their cell phone again. This time it was a clear connection and the first thing my mom said was, "You called the Sheriff? You didn't even want to give us a chance to see if we could survive a night lost in the mountains?" Parents.
My relieved mother then shared all the details of their ordeal. During the seven hours of birthday fun, they had been on dirt roads so narrow that dad could not begin to turn his truck around. A cliff on one side and a mountain on the other. Mom described it as 'horrible, just horrible!'.
Is there a point to sharing this story? There is, but it's probably not what you think. It is not a warning to stay on well traveled paths, to bring a map (which they did), or to make sure to always let someone know when you are traveling in the mountains.
My point of sharing is not to embarrass my parents or even to give them a glimpse into what was going on at the other end of the phone line.
My point of sharing is to say how grateful I am that prayers were answered (the prayers of at least 10 people that I know of). My prayer, in addition to asking that my parents find their way safely home, was that my mom not kill my dad. It was his birthday after all and he never even made it to Strawberry to fish.
I am happy to say that that prayer too was answered. In fact, she seemed very proud of him- proud that he had kept his cool and proud that he had found his way out of the mountains.
I am so grateful that this story has a happy ending and excited for my dad who now has a pretty incredible birthday story to share- one that is way better than if he had actually gone fishing and caught a fish.
This story is way better! Don't you agree?