Dad Caught Me

by Mary Lou Johnson

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    I was plunging headlong toward certain injury unless—there was one chance. “Open the door and get out of the way!” I yelled. But they just stood there, looking puzzled.

    When I was growing up, we lived in a tan-colored house, lost among the evergreen trees so abundant in the Pacific Northwest. Isolated about halfway up the hill, it was impossible to drive to. We could park at the bottom and climb the stairs, or drive around and park on the concrete platform above the house and climb down. We generally chose to climb down.

    When we first moved in, there was only a pathway dug into the side of the hill between the house and the platform. My grandpa carved steps in the dirt to make getting up and down easier.

    From the platform to the first step on the path was nearly level, perfect for my two sisters and me to run and slide. We could usually stop just before we reached the top step.

    One day I didn’t get stopped in time and found myself going over the edge. Instead of falling, I kept my feet under me and my momentum made me hit about every third step. I felt like I was flying. A fall meant tumbling into the side of the house, or worse, going into the treacherous blackberry bushes that lined the path.

    The human mind is truly a wonder, and mine was racing faster than my feet. I began to yell for my mother while in a split second I planned what I could do about my situation. I thought that if only Mother would come and open the door, I could make a safe landing on the couch. Hearing my yells, Mom appeared at the bottom of the path with Dad and Grandpa.

    “Open the door and get out of my way,” I yelled with what breath I had left. They just stood there with puzzled expressions while I came faster and faster, arms and legs pumping to keep my balance.

    Just then Dad reached out and caught me. As easy as that. I hadn’t thought of that solution. The danger over, my fear gave way to tears.

    “What’s wrong, baby?” Mom asked.

    “Oh, Mom, I was sliding and couldn’t stop. Why didn’t you get out of my way and open the door?” I stamped over to the door to show them what I’d planned to do. In shock, I saw that Mom had moved the couch. There would have been nothing to stop my headlong flight except a hard wall. My own hastily made plans would have failed me.

    I’m grown up now and still my own plans are often faulty. Now I call out to my Heavenly Father in prayer. How often I’ve been glad to have a Father to catch me and keep me from harm.

    Illustrated by Rick Graham