A friend of mine would always respond to the nonchalant “how are you?” with “I can’t complain.” So taking a cue from him, I came up with my own array of responses that are more descriptive than “fine.” On the short list are “can’t complain” (how original right…), “I’m well” (then you know things are dandy), “I’m alive” (practicing an attitude of gratitude), and “I’m awake” (when staying awake can be considered a victory…). Of these responses, my favorite, right now, is “I’m alive” and here’s why (the long version…):
I had an awesome day Friday! After going to the office and putting in a productive 2hrs, I came home to finish unpacking my room, which I hadn’t finished unpacking since moving in August last year (ahem). Aaaand, I actually worked through the stacks that were piling up, neatly against my wall…I even got to the stuff under my bed :). Before sundown, I’d cleaned the kitchen, vacuumed my room and was on my way to take a shower! I like taking a shower just as the sun sets, symbolically washing away the cares of the week for a fresh start.
I’d had an awesome devotion in the morning – thinking about Jesus’ sacrifice on the cross as I studied through the Sabbath school lesson study guide faithfully last week (ps: faithfully is the operative word because I’m usually not so faithful with that…ahem, ahem). It was one of those days that you spend the day with Jesus, just thinking of Him, talking to Him, praying about anything and everything that comes to mind. So throughout the day, I’d been making commitments for my relationship with God and some difficult decisions I hadn’t been ready to make until then. And top it off with good fellowship and an awesome Bible study in the evening in spite of treacherously snowy roads, for an awesome Friday.
Sabbath morning, the lesson study gelled together and I figured out how I would approach the class. One of those days that you’re excited to be the teacher because you learnt so much during the week and you figured out a way to lead the class to the revelations God had given you. So, believe it or not, I was out of my apartment around 9am though Sabbath school starts at 10 and it’s a 20-25min commute. I even had enough time to clean my neighbors car while warming my car up!
On the way I mused about my windshield crack that doubled in size in just one night a week back. Regretting not having taken it to the windshield repair people during the summer, I wondered if it would crack all the way to the end and then spontaneously shatter as I’m driving one day. At this juncture, I’d probably need to have the entire thing replaced…I’m too poor argh, but if it was a safety thing I’d have to do it huh. A stitch in time saves nine!
Traffic was slowing down ahead and I wondered if I could come to a full stop without bumping the person ahead of me. The road was a little slick so I looked to the left lane for safety in case I needed to switch over. But there was a pick-up truck coming at a speed that wouldn’t allow me to switch over…I’d just have to make the stop. Uttering a quick prayer I pumped my brakes and with 12feet between me and the car ahead, I was confident enough of safety to thank God for preventing a fender bender. It would have been so inconvenient to have to exchange information etc.
Just as the praise was escaping my lips, I noticed the pick-up truck in the fast lane, still going a little too fast, in my estimation. I mentally commented on how folk in larger vehicles are often too confident about how well their cars can handle slick conditions. Then the driver must have stepped on their brakes pretty suddenly because I saw the back of the truck fishtail in the direction of the median and thought, “I hope he doesn’t hit me when he swings back this way.”
Impact. At the front end of my car. The orientation of my vehicle shifted ninety degrees to the right and I was headed for the trailer of a Walmart semi truck at a standstill next to me. “I’ve always wondered if you could go all the way under one of these…”
Impact. As the glass begun to shatter, I let go of the steering wheel, bowed down my head and covered it with my hands, made sure I didn’t have my foot on the brake or accelerator so I wouldn’t step on the wrong one at the wrong time. I felt glass spraying.
Impact. I wondered if I’d gone all the way under the semi and was hitting a wall on the other side. That’d be totally radical! But I was still in motion. I reminded myself to relax like a drunkard to avoid more injuries than necessary…
Impact. Probably the greatest impact yet on the front end drivers side. I wasn’t moving anymore. Car still running. Oh, I should check for the smell of gas. That was ridiculous! Why do I still have my head covered? I think it’s over. Wait, I’m actually alive. Do I feel pain anywhere? I wonder where I ended up…
“Are you ok, ma’am?” There were three gentlemen, each stopped independently to find out if I was alright. Taking my hands off of my head and with a smile on my face, I said “I’m fine.” Haha. And that is the appropriate use of that response!
It was only when they counselled me to get out of the vehicle that I felt the adrenaline response…my entire body was shaking. Why am I shaking, I wondered. Ahhh, it’s the adrenaline! haha. They told me to turn off the car, so I did and put the keys on the seat. I was so glad I picked warmth over class when I chose a coat that morning!
They’d already called 911 and seeing that I was ok, one of them left me their phone number as they drove off. Oh no, I was going to miss Sabbath school 🙁 I called someone and asked him to find a cover for me teaching class that morning stating that I’d been in a little accident (I didn’t want people making a fuss). I told him I was fine!
Looking at my shattered windshield, I thought, What a way to answer my ramblings about the crack in my windshield…I guess I will need a new one altogether!
Fire department came and helped the Walmart guy across the street so he could take pictures of my car for the record. He was so nice and made me think better of Walmart now. When he put his fatherly arm around my shoulders, I thought I was about to break down and cry. But why? Ahh, shock…I must be like in shock, I thought to myself. But I couldn’t start crying now…not when I needed to try and think straight. So I released myself from his arm as he told me that he saw the whole thing! Thank God!
The firemen let me sit in their truck as we waited for the cops to come and take a crash report. We waited for 2hrs…The wreckers waited too…In the meantime, I asked a friend to come and get me. We made it to the last 30mins of a sermon on how we need every part of the body.
I’ve been warned about the PTSD and the aches that show up 2days later…oh, and the pieces of shattered glass that will continue to turn up in random places…For now, I’m just trying to get it out of my hair!
This is the report. Reflections to follow 🙂 And here are some pictures…