I keep replaying it in my mind. I was leaning forward, turned to hesitantly ask my husband if my 6 year old son had brought his Japanese soda bottle with him from the restaurant. He has a cute little collection, and I didn’t want him to get upset (or drive back to the restaurant) when he realized he had left it. Suddenly, my husband yelled loudly…something like “Oh My God!” or “He’s Gonna Hit Us!”…and I heard the deafening crash and felt the terrifying impact. All I remember was screaming, struggling to turn to make sure my son was ok in the backseat as our car spun out of control through the intersection, and then jolting into a sudden stop.
You just sit there for an instant, stunned, wondering what the hell happened. You realize you are ok, and the adrenaline kicks in as you struggle to evaluate the situation and assess everyone else. That moment… that moment… it’s one of those moments that will haunt you the rest of your life. You are not in control, and you are helpless to protect those you love most in this world.
I turned, and realized my son was ok. My husband quickly exited the car to get him out. We were fine. “Thank you, God” was all I could say as we hugged each other on the side of the road, realizing other people had stopped and were getting out of their car to help us. Our car had been driving through an intersection and was hit at a good speed by a young man trying to turn left from the oncoming direction. He drove directly into the back of our car as he was turning into the intersection. He was fine, though he totaled the entire front end of his car. Our car, had minimal body damage, but all four wheels were almost unidentifiable… the tires completely twisted and melted off their wheels.
Plans…. what was meant to be a simple evening out for a special dinner turned out completely different. Our car is now in the shop, our bodies are sore, and our spirits are traumatized. We can’t do much about any of this until Monday. Our weekend was planned with cleaning and Holiday preparations, and next week was planned with a trip to the mountains to snowboard. I planned on writing a blog post about great gifts from Etsy artists today. I planned on starting to run again on Monday. I think the people who stopped to help us last night planned on continuing on their merry ways for the evening. The young man who hit us probably planned on having fun with the other passengers in his car. My mom, who came to help, planned on finishing her Christmas shopping. I had planned to mail those last few Christmas cards that were on the dashboard of the car. But it didn’t work out that way…
We plan, we prepare, we make responsible decisions (and we should or we’d all be a mess!) But sometimes life happens anyway. It’s humbling. It’s scary. It’s completely unpredictable.
So I am thankful… thankful for my family, and for our health and safety. I am thankful for our friends who care for us. I am thankful for the kindness and goodness of strangers, who have hearts big enough to stop their own plans to help someone in need. I am thankful for our country, and the men and women who serve and protect us: police officers, firefighters, soldiers. Mostly, I am thankful for a God who loves us, protects us, and forgives us for all the times we screw up, giving us another chance to get it right.