Charlene Leslie Chaden, Trinidad, CO,
We live on our 35 acre mini-ranch in
the foothills of the eastern slopes of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains
in Southern Colorado, very close to the New Mexico state border. On my
way home from town one day in 1991, while my husband, Syd, was working
in California, it suddenly began to hail as I entered the development
we live in. I drove along as quickly and carefully as I could, because
in those days when the clay roads got wet they turned into slick,
soupy type mud. It was nearly five miles from the entrance to our home
and I wanted to arrive home before the hail turned the roads to slime.
I made it to the pass and was heading down the hill above and behind
our home when I noticed a large buildup of hail on the road in front
The winding road was already slippery
and I had previously slowed down as much as I could, but it was to no
avail, as the road was now going downhill. The hail acted like ball
bearings and simply rolled my big Mercury Grand Marquis Station Wagon
right over the side of the mountain. Amazingly, the car suddenly came
to a stop, with its nose pointing almost straight down. I sat there in
shock for awhile, wondering why the car had stopped so suddenly, when
there was nothing in front of it to stop it. As I recovered my senses,
I found that I was covered with mail and groceries that had flown
forward from the back of my station wagon as the car went over the
A sense of great peace came over me
and I knew Sai Baba was with me. I heard Him say, "Wait until it stops
hailing and then crawl out of the passenger door and walk home." I
looked at the passenger door which was almost over my head and
wondered how I could crawl out of it without jiggling the car enough
to send it the rest of the way down the mountain. At that point, I was
sitting very still and breathing very carefully to keep from giving
the car any reason to start moving again. There were no trees or large
bushes in front of the car holding it back. In fact there didn't seem
to be anything preventing the car from continuing its journey downward.
Nevertheless, I waited as Baba had instructed me.
The nickel sized hail was making a
lot of noise on the roof of the car and I wondered if it would crack
the windshield or dent the car. When the hail finally stopped, I
sucked in my breath and very slowly and carefully moved up into the
passenger seat. Then after several attempts, I was eventually able to
get the passenger door open and crawl out, landing on my hands and
knees in the mud below. I trudged home through the slimy mud, which
was about a mile in distance. As soon as I reached the front door, it
started hailing again.
I was covered with mud and soaking
wet and was shaking by the time I reached the front door. After I
cleaned myself off I called Syd in California. As soon as I heard his
comforting voice, I broke down and sobbed hysterically. The
realization of my very close call hit me as I tried to describe it to
him, and I could not stop the flood of emotion. Syd said he would
catch the next plane home if I wanted, but I told him not to come, I
could handle it. When I calmed down, he told me to call the AAA towing
company and then let him know what happened from there.
The tow truck pulled up in front of
our home several hours later. The hail had melted and the roads,
although very muddy, were passable with care. I got in the truck with
him and his wife, and we slowly drove back to where my car was. As he
drove, he said, "I saw the ruts where your car went over the side and
crawled down the hill to see what was holding your car there, but I
couldn't find anything. No trees, no bushes, no boulders. I could not
see anything that is keeping your car from going on down the hill." I
said, "God is holding it!" Neither he nor his wife said another word.
As we rounded the bend, you could
just see one of the rear tail lights from the road. If it were not for
the very prominent and deep tire ruts, one would easily pass by
without noticing my car there. It took the tow truck driver nearly an
hour to extricate my car. After my car was pulled out I signed the
claim form, got in my car and very slowly drove it home. We carry
large heavy sandbags in the back of our cars to provide ballast so we
can better navigate the roads when they are muddy, but this did not
help me while driving on the piled up hailstones.
Later, the manager of the development
called and said: "Mrs. Chaden, are you all right? I was driving by and
saw the tire tracks where your car went over the side of the mountain.
I crawled down to see if you were all right, and took a good look
around, but I couldn't see what was holding your car there." I gave
him the same answer. "God was holding it! And He held it there until
the AAA tow truck came and towed me out, and it is home now. Thank you!"
And Thank You Baba! There was no physical or rational explanation as
to why my car didn't keep going. Only the Grace of my Lord.
"My Grace is proportional to your
effort. Try to win My grace by reforming your habits, reducing your
desires and refining your higher nature." One step makes the next step
easier; that is the excellence of spiritual journey. With each step,
your strength and confidence increase and you get bigger and bigger
installments of grace."Grace is showered on those who seek." Knock and
the door shall be opened to you; ask and food will be served; search
and the treasure will be yours. The Grace of God cannot be won through
the gymnasium of reason, the contortions of Yoga or denials of
asceticism. Love alone can win it, Love that needs no requital, Love
that knows no bargaining, Love that is unwavering, Love alone can
overcome obstacles, however many and mighty.
"My grace is ever with you; it is not
something that is given or taken; it is given always. But it is
accepted only when the consciousness is aware of its significance. Win
the grace of your own sub-conscious, so that it may accept the grace
of God, which is ever available." Golden Age, P. 228.
(From Sai Messenger, July 99)
Published in Canadian Sathya Sai
Newsletter, Birthday Issue, November 1999, Vol. 12, No. 3