When Time Stands Still, Be Ready

As I rounded the bend on this familiar stretch of road, I saw it. There was an oncoming car in my lane.

Three Cherubs

A quick assessment concluded the driver would not get back in line before we met.

To the left was a hill spotted with trees, where I had snowmobiled with my cousins. I was flying in a sled behind their Ski-Doo in the seventh grade. My hip caught a rock and hurt for weeks.

To the right was a steep ditch, that led down to the Sauk River. There, with my mother, we’d search for blue herons in the tops of the trees. We were thrilled when we caught a glimpse.

It was coming now, this car in my lane. There was no place to go.

Are You Ready

A profound Presence of Peace descended upon me as I glanced down to the river.

What else did I do? I asked myself a question.

Are you ready to die?

Despite the situation, that Presence of Peace surrounded me and nothing more. Can you imagine feeling only peace in spite of dire circumstances? The answer was no to both.

For Miracles

There was an enormous amount of time in all of this. We approached one another at a combined speed of 110 mph.

The car, the question, the answer, the peace, the vast space of time and then, a miracle to me, the driver parallel to the one in my lane pulled over to drive on the shoulder.

Yes, I could do the same. At twenty, I lacked experience of what to do to avoid a head on collision, but I could follow this example. It required that all did their parts.

I, too, pulled over to drive on the shoulder still going I don’t know how fast.

Then we passed, the three of us together, as if three belonged on a two lane highway, the most natural thing in the world.

And a multitude of us lived another day. I wonder what they experienced in their cars. Did they feel the same profound Presence of Peace?

On the way home I cried.

When Time Stands Still

For One who’s time is eternity, time stands still for as long as necessary. God has not left me to myself (or you to yourself.)

The One we seek is here. When time stands still, be ready.

Have you experienced time standing still? Have you felt the Presence of Peace in spite of your circumstance?

image credit: Three Cherubs at the Vatican Museum ©2006 Marie LaForce


Marie LaForce About Marie LaForce

Writer | Photographer | Explorer |Dreamer | Intentional Disciple of Christ


  1. I know that feeling you wrote about so succinctly. When peril is imminent. It seems like time is stretched, the dial of the 5 senses gets turned up to high, save for the hearing, which seems all but gone in order to focus on options. And of course that feeling of prevailing peace–a peace that passes all understanding. To be completely, 100% present in the moment feels like this.

    I have felt this way a few other times too, when not in pending danger. It is like a moment of grace washing over me. It is a glimpse into other ways of ‘being’ in this world. An awareness of a presence greater than me, yet a part of me and with me always. A reminder there is so much more in the present moment than we are aware of as we skim across the surface of life. Beautiful post. Thanks for the reminder!

    • Thanks for your comment, Lori. It is good to know we need not do anything alone. In the editing of the post I took out the emphasis of being in the present moment, but this is where miracles happen and where time stands still. It was the reason I wrote the post. Thank you for pointing it out.

  2. Oh Marie, indeed, I have had this experience, and more than once, whilst driving! One in particular comes to mind:

    It was raining. I went to a yoga class. I left my headlights on, and of course, when I returned my battery was flat. An Angel appeared and jump started me-in the rain! For some reason, I didn’t listen to the nudge to check my car engine-bay bonnet he dropped-slammed shut. The nudge was there, but hey, it was raining.

    Off I went, zooming down the highway. I never wore a seatbelt in those days. It was gusty, in this Queensland wet season, wind whipping across the road then wildly front on. Then it happenned. The car bonnet lifted in the next gust….and c-r-u-m-p-l-e-d, an accordian, in front of my windscreen. I couldn’t see! As I applied the brakes I aquaplaned across the road. Moments before, as I was whoosing along, I’d noticed several oncoming cars driving along on the other side, and knew there were several more behind me in my lane. Yet…..

    The bubble.

    I’ve experienced this before. Time leaking slow and expanding. A profound stillness. Almost a palpable sense of suspension. “This is going to hurt. A lot.” ran through my mind, with a vague remorse for the non-worn seatbelt.

    Yet in this time-stretch, I blindly steered my car-body back onto the right side of the road (ie the correct side, we drive on the left here in the land of Aus). In the bubble. With the stillness-sound all around me. I pulled over completely. I got out. Stunned to be untouched, my vehicle and I.

    And I stood in the rain and hailed some help, to tie my crumpled bonnet together for the slow drive home; seatbelt ON.

    • What an amazing story, Narelle. Thanks for sharing it here. The YIKES! Turned out OK. The scary tale that ended up to be nothing to worry about. Shoulders down. Sigh of relief.

  3. Marie,
    What a powerful story and reflection. This line really hit me: “Then we passed, the three of us together, as if three belonged on a two lane highway, the most natural thing in the world.” I sensed the completely paradoxical, highly unlikely, totally unplanned ballet of that moment when a Presence of Peace took over. I breathe deep and feel it right now. Thank you.

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