It was October. It was a beautiful sunny Saturday morning. The weather was perfect and I sat alone in my mini van driving up to Barrie to pick my oldest and youngerst daughters up from sleepovers they'd been at. The window was open just enough to fill the van with that warm fragrent air that smells of fall - leaves and earth and sunshine. My heart was glad. As I often do when I'm driving a long trip, I talked to God as I drove. I praised Him for the day, for my family, for my life. It was the weekend after Thanksgiving and my thoughts were still filled with thankfulness.
I stopped and picked up my eldest, Emily. She climbed into the front seat of the car and buckled herself in, yawning and telling me how late she stayed up chatting. I smiled and pulled out of the driveway to get my youngest, Amie. At the next stop, Amie climbed into the very back of the van, yawned and put a movie on to watch while we drove home. Within a few minutes, Emily fell asleep in the front seat leaving the car silent. As I drove, I made plans to enjoy the rest of this glorious day outside. My heart rang with praises.
Five minutes from home, it happened. Out of the blue, with no warning and no way to avoid it. I was travelling 80kms/hr (the posted limit - really :) ) on a through road - no stop sign for me. As I approached and intersection, a car on the other road slowed for his stop sign. I watched him come to alost a stop....but not quite. I was almost at the intersection when sudenly he hit the gas and drove right out in front of me. Time slowed down. All I could think of were my kids in the car. I hit my brakes and pulled hard on my wheel. I knew I was going to hit him and I wanted to make sure that my side took the impact and not the side my precious girls were on. I remember seeing he center of my wheel open up and some white material coming out of the center. Then it was over.
Emily was calling me over and over. I opened my eyes. Blood was everywhere. She was covered in a spatter...but it was mine, not hers. We were somehow a fair way up the road from the car we hit but I don't know how we got there. Emily was terrified. She'd thought I was dead. I was only knocked out by the airbag and the blood was just from my face where the bag had hit me. Amie unstrapped herself and climbed forward. Thank God, she was okay too.
I called 911 and the fire crew came and cut our doors open to get us out. Paramedics examined Emily asking her if the airbag had injured her. "No," she replied. "It never hit me'. The paramedics tried to explain to her that it must have hit her. It had fully deployed, but Emliy insisted it never touched her. She had not a mark on her, while my face looked like I'd gone 9 rounds with Mike Tyson....and lost. My husband, Mark came and took Emily and Amie home while I was taken to the hospital along with the women who had been a passenger in the other car. In the ambulance I was told that it was a miracle that my legs hadn't been crushed. "I know who's in charge of miracles." I told them through bruised and bleeding lips.
At the hospital I was strapped to a gurney with a neck brace to await x-rays. They wheeled me down the hall and left me there. I was angry at the man who'd driven out infront of me. I'd wanted to enjoy this day and now I was facing so much. My car was destroyed, my whole body hurt, my kids were traumatized....all because he didn't look before he drove out into the intersection.
Then...he was beside me. The man who'd been driving the other car. "I'm so sorry. I thought it was a four way stop. I didn't see you." He explained. "My fiance was in the car but our baby wasn't. The baby would have been so hurt. I'm so glad he wasn't there......" On and on he went. He just kept telling me he thought it was a four way stop. Over and over and over. I was strapped down. I was angry. I just wanted to tell him to shut up and go away. That his child may not have been in the car, but MINE WERE!
I felt harrased and trapped and overwhelmed. I opened my mouth to call for a nurse to help me, but something stopped me. I closed my eyes. I took a breath and I cried out to God in heart. "Lord, use me." I prayed silently. "Be glorified in this." And my heart filled with a love for this man...this man who had hurt me, who was wholly at fault for this, who might have killed my children.
My anger was gone, and my heart went out to him and THEN I spoke. "I just want you to know," I began, "That I forgive you. I believe that God had His hand over this today and if God can forgive me for all I have done in my life then by His grace I forgive you." The man fell on his knees in the middle of the hall, covered his face a wept....literally! His heart was touched by the love of Christ. In a situation where it could have been me showing my human selfishness, I had the profound honour of being used by God to touch a life. It was awesome! It was an amazing feeling and I pray for this man still.
When we let go and let God take over, He can move mountains. When we humble our hearts to His will, His love will shine out of us and bring light to the darkness. True tenderness and comassion is only found in Jesus.
To end (sorry it's so long) I suffered whip-lash and now, 2 years later I still suffer pain in my shoulder when I drive longer than 30 mins at a time....but when the pain flares up, it reminds me to pray for that man. I don't know where he is or what happened after he was charged, but I pray that the seeds that were planted will grow and multiply.
“[Imitating Christ’s Humility] Therefore if you have any encouragement from being united with Christ, if any comfort from his love, if any common sharing in the Spirit, if any tenderness and compassion, then make my joy complete by being like-minded, having the same love, being one in spirit and of one mind.” Philippians 2:1-2 NIV