Sunday, July 10, 2011
A Close Call
On July 5th, we returned home and later that afternoon heard fire engine after engine passing through our neighborhood, sirens blaring. It is unusual to hear so many sirens on our quiet streets, so we knew something big was going on. I told Martin that I wanted to see what happened, and with dinner on the stove, I jumped in the car and asked him to watch over it until it was finished. A sixth fire truck was rushing down the street just as I turned the corner, so I followed slowly behind until I reached the scene. Glass everywhere; streets blocked; over 50 people watching. I parked and walked towards the scene. Hands were clasped over mouths, whispers everywhere. I heard the Jaws of Life loudly roaring over the crowd as I walked closer to the scene.
I seem to be drawn to emergencies. I'm not sure why, but I've had a few instances where I stumbled upon accident scenes (one was a murder scene). Something in me feels compelled to move closer, to stand with the crowd and talk with them. In those moments, I feel total peace, and a call to minister in those situations. (Although I don't think I'd do well working in a hospital, believe it or not).
As I moved closer to the scene of the accident, a man was in handcuffs on the side of the street -a man who looked like he might have been on drugs. His nice, new, black sports car was shattered to pieces, and emergency workers were trying to extract the passenger. Spectators were obviously disgusted with this man, this driver, sitting okay on the side of the road, while the passenger might not make it out alive.
I walked up to a girl in her 20's, standing by herself, not far from the man in handcuffs. I asked, "Hey, do you know what happened?" She looked at me with tears streaming down her cheeks. "Are you okay?" I asked. She cried, "That, that man...the driver...he's my boyfriend! And we have a baby together!" She shook with sobs.
I wasn't sure how to respond. I had stumbled upon his first real victim - his own girlfriend, the mother of his child. She would be the one picking up the pieces from his lack of judgment. I put an arm around her. "I'm so sorry...I'm so sorry..." It's all I knew to say. "Do you know the passenger?" I asked. She said, "Not really well; I mean, I know who he is, but don't know him well." "Can I pray for you?" I asked. It was all I knew to do, yet it felt like so little. She nodded fervently - "Yes, please pray for me," she pleaded.
I'm always aware in those situations that people are watching, and I never want to make a scene or draw attention by praying too loudly. I quietly began to pray in her ear, not even sure how to pray. She held onto me tightly, as though it was hard for her to stand. The words came...I prayed for her and her baby, and that she would feel God's presence with her. I prayed for him, that God would lead her boyfriend to him. When I opened my eyes, he was staring at me. I moved slowly away toward the background, as his sister and boyfriend arrived on the scene with their baby boy, about 7 months old.
In those moments I felt so inadequate. I wondered if it had made a difference. Yet I also sensed that God was there and hopefully He spoke to her heart. I don't know what happened to them...what caused the accident...if he's in jail now. I could not find any news on the accident anywhere.
Witnesses said he had been driving down the street at about 100 mph, and spun out of control in front of a house with kids playing outside. He hit a giant rental dumpster that was parked in front of that house - barely denting the dumpster but destroying his car. It was a complete miracle of God that his car hit the dumpster and did not go into their yard. Needless to say, neighbors were ticked. This man could have killed multiple people, including children. His friend made it out alive, but I'm not sure what the extent of his injuries were.
I came home and held my kids tighter. Between the potential accident on July 4th and the horrific scene on July 5, I realized again how short life can be. I have been daily reminded to live each day as though it was my last - to love deeply. Seeing an accident, experiencing an accident - these things shake us up. They put things into perspective. For awhile we can experience fear; it can grip us, because we see how fast things can change. I am confident that God is protecting my family; however, I still see flashbacks of those accidents and get scared sometimes of what could happen. I have to make a decision to not dwell on those thoughts, but instead dwell on God's promises, and pour my efforts into loving my family well.
"Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable - if anything is excellent or praiseworth - think about such things." Philippians 4:8
Posted by Jaimie at 2:36 PM