Two Seconds That Changed My Life
As many of you might know, writing is one of my greatest loves. It has always played a significant role in how I process, reflect, cope, grieve, express myself, connect with God, heal, and work through life.
Speaking of life, this morning was rough. Traumatic, to be honest. In fact, I’m still working on getting my bearings. So, rather than cope by distracting myself with the boob tube, or my Us Weekly app, I decided to do what is most second nature to me.
Let me paint a picture for you…
We were on our way to school. (My girl, Bell, and me.) We were turning left, at the same intersection we always turn left at, every single day. But today was different.
Like most mornings, we were chatting away. In fact, I can recall exactly what we were discussing: A time we had pizza with sweet friends of ours named Cecilia and Tim.
The light turned green, so I hit the gas and started to turn. I looked to my left and saw something terrifying. All the cars were stopped in every lane but one. A GIANT semi was roaring through – right at ME. I gasped and slammed on my brakes. So did he. I don’t know if it was a “he.” But that’s the gender I seemed to have assigned the person behind the wheel of that gargantuan truck.
I remember thinking in that moment, “Oh my Lord, is this really happening?” And how huge and scary looking that truck was from my angle. I guess I had never seen one from that exact angle before.
And then somehow we both stopped. Inches away from one another. A few more seconds and it would have been very bad. For me, anyway.
A moment later, he sped away. With shaking hands I grabbed the wheel tightly and proceeded on. Just trying to catch my breath and hold back tears. (Unsuccessfully, I might add) As we drove away, my daughter said, “Mom, if he would have hit us, would we have died?”
I took a deep breath and answered, “Oh honey, I don’t know. It wouldn’t have been good. But – God protected us.”
We drove the rest of the way to school at a snails pace. Both of us visibly shaken. I couldn’t get the image of that giant semi a few feet from my face out of my mind. To think that that human, whoever they were, had the power to dramatically alter my life, and my daughter's life, in an instant – haunted me.
And actually, so did something else. Nine years ago my cousin Kirky, as I called him, was killed in a horrific car accident. He was hit by a semi, while making a turn. I've often wondered what it was like for him. If he was scared. What he was thinking and how he felt, during his final moments. To be brutally honest - this morning, all I could think was: OH MY WORD, this is what Kirk saw and experienced right before he died.
I was horrified. Man did that hurt my heart. It just ached.
I wanted to sob, but I did my best to keep it together. Tears just streamed quietly down my cheeks as I held my baby girl's hand, as I always do. We talked about God, life, and how precious it is. We prayed. A lot. And did our best to carry on.
After I dropped her off, I just sat in my car. And cried. I was so overwhelmed.
Sure, I have almost been in accidents before. Plenty. Oh but nothing like this. When I saw that semi so closely, it was like time stopped. I saw my own life; it’s fragility, my mortality. It was a doozey I tell you. One I’m still trying to process.
Somehow, my God spared me. Protected me. From what could have been horrendous. Not quite sure how to even process that at this moment.
You know, when my daddy died when I was 14, I remember vowing to never, ever take any moment for granted. Because I got it. I got how temporary and fleeting life is. I remember being so annoyed with the other kiddos in high school. Moaning and groaning about their parents. Stuff I knew was so trivial. Thinking – “You are such a fool! Don’t you get it? Don’t you see what you have?”
I couldn’t understand how they could be so blind to what they had.
It broke my heart.
But as time went on, like us all, it became impossible to truly savor and cherish EVERY single moment – like it may be my last. I am only human, after all. Yet today, God brought it home for me. Reminded me of my mortality. My humanness. How in just two seconds, I could lose EVERYTHING.
I can’t promise that I won’t return to my old perspective, and like us all, get caught up in the moment, the monotony, the daily grind – and forget the bigger picture. But I can say this: I am thankful. Humbled. Moved.
My God spared me. Protected me. And ultimately – SPOKE to me. Loud and clear. Today he reminded me of how very fragile and precious life is. And WHO is in control.
Thank you Lord. For the gift of one more moment... One more day.