This is just a short update concerning a car accident I got in a few weeks ago. One thing I can say before I even get started is that God’s faithfulness doesn’t run dry, and I fully believe that it was His miraculous hand that sustained me through the harm that should have befallen me. Glory to God.
The weekend of Dec. 6-8, 2013 was a very busy one, as was the week leading up to it. Friday night, I was playing guitar for a COGIC church’s gospel Christmas concert alongside some exceptional local musicians, which is always a joy. That weekend was also my home church’s big Christmas production with three showings: Saturday night, Sunday morning, and Sunday night. Needless to say, it was a pretty crazy week….I believe every night of that week I had a rehearsal, as well as 3-4 work shifts mixed in there.
I’m basically just trying to set up the fact that I was completely exhausted.
So after the Christmas concert on Friday night, which was a success, I went out for Chinese food with some of the people involved. We had a good time laughing and hanging out, and since I was already downtown, I decided to go watch some friends play some jazz. I stayed for a little while and then decided I should go home to get some sleep…apparently my body was already a few hours ahead of my brain.
I left around 1:30AM and began driving home. I live JUST outside of the city in an area enveloped by farm fields with vast ditches that make you feel like you’re driving on the edge of the abyss…unless they are filled with water from a hard rain, in which case it feels like you are driving next to mild rapids. Much to my retrospective delight, they weren’t.
I was roughly a kilometer away from my home when I apparently nodded off while driving. When I opened my eyes, I was on the gravel shoulder of the opposing lane. Immediately the shock felt by my brain adamantly yanked the wheel back towards my lane; unfortunately, in true fashion of someone in shock, I had over-corrected the turn sending my Ford Focus careening towards the ditch in my lane. Looking back, this actually would have been much better because the ditch on that side is only like 1-2 feet deep and leads into a farm field. Bummer; I over-corrected again in an attempt to avoid that ditch, which sent the car squealing back towards the scary ditch. The car went airborne into the ditch for a brief moment before coming into direct, head-on contact with a concrete-topped culvert. At this point, it would seem (from observing the wreck after-the-fact) that the car flipped back-over-front while also doing a slight 90-degree barrel roll.
I don’t think I was unconscious at all; if I was, it was only for a short period of time. I remember every slow-motion moment in vivid detail, including the thoughts going through my head as it happened. When I opened my eyes, the car was on it’s side with the passenger side down, which means I was hanging from my seat belt. That didn’t feel good. I noticed that my pants (my brand new $50 dress pants) were shredded beyond repair, my phone was nowhere to be found, and my right leg felt numb and useless below the knee. At first I thought I might be in the scary ditch, which I thought might be full of water…I didn’t want to drown, so I went into survival mode and lifted myself up out of my chair enough to undo my seat belt. I then found myself thumping down to the passenger seat, being covered in glass, CD jewel cases, and other debris. Much to my surprise (and gladness, may I say), I was not in the ditch, but rather the car had finally rested on top of the culvert after all the commotion: I ascertained this by looking out the roughly foot-wide hole in the smashed windshield.
The moon and stars were actually shining quite beautifully down on the black, semi-frozen water of the ditch; the farm fields, as well, were liberally illuminated by the late-night/early-morning, the brown turf undisturbed by my situation, save for a few pieces of projectile glass, plastic, and metal. As I sat there briefly admiring the beauty, my next fear surrounded me (literally): I saw what looked like smoke or steam filling the interior of the Focus. Again, my brain leaped into survival mode and began looking for a way out. The back window was too far and near impossible to get to unless at my uttermost need and my door above me would not open; whether it was jammed or too heavy, I do not know. My only option quickly became the 1-2 foot-wide hole in the windshield. I didn’t have enough room to kick, and my dominant (right) leg was still feeling numb and useless below the knee, so I took to elbowing. The results were apparent, as the windshield began giving way and folding back, but it was still not enough to fit a large man such as myself. So, for freedom’s sake, I took my bare hand to the remaining piece of window between me and liberty and pushed as hard as I could. Eventually, the window peeled back enough for me to begin to crawl out.
I stuck my head and torso through the space in the windshield and put my hands down on the cold concrete. I was very close to the edge of the culvert which drops off into the deep, dark abyss/ditch…okay, that’s slightly sensationalized….the ditch is maybe 8 feet deep and was currently holding maybe 1 foot of water…but I didn’t want to add to my struggles. I carefully tried to pull my feet out of the car without falling off the edge. I don’t think I was very successful because I just ended up pulling them through, regardless of all the sharp glass. I was desperately tired of sitting there looking like an idiot trying to do the wheelbarrow pose. I shimmied my way around the wreck to the road and for the first time, I observed the wreck.
The car looked PREEEEETTY banged up, with twisted metal poking here and there, and glass strewn hither and yonder. But the craziest part was the large object sitting right in front of me in a small crater of smoke and dirt, an object closely resembling an engine (SPOILER ALERT: it was the engine) that had popped clean out of it’s cavity.
I can’t say shock set in yet….not that I knew of. To be honest, panic set in. I was terrified of what my mom and dad were going to think about no longer having one of our cars. I knew somewhere inside me that my mom would be purely euphoric that I was alive and well. I knew my dad would be too, but he is…how to say this….a little more of the “occasional hardass” persuasion (pardon the brief language). But I had to get home…I couldn’t find my phone, but I knew exactly where I was, and my right leg, though numb and useless, didn’t hurt, so I decided to be pragmatic about it all and limp miserably home, rather than lying down in the fetal position in the middle of the road and crying (don’t worry, that happens later).
THE REMAINING JOURNEY
I’ve milked this story long enough. So basically, I limped home pathetically, woke up my mom who held me and comforted me as shock set in and I turned into an emotional tornado of ugly sobs and even occasional laughter. We called my dad, and my bro woke up to help out in whatever way he could. Long story short, we went to the hospital and found out that nothing was broken, and other than some mysterious trauma to my legs and feet, some good bruising, and a few cuts and pieces of glass here and there, I was fine. I didn’t feel fine, but I believed the doc.
Shock was a weird feeling…I had never been in shock before, to my knowledge. It felt very uncomfortable to have little to no control over a flurry of emotions coursing through my brain.
My wonderful fiancee came over eventually, which I was so grateful for, and we all sat around together and relaxed before going to bed again at 6AM.
It certainly was an experience.
Bottom line, I felt that God had physically and tangibly reached out His hand and held it around me as the car rolled. This was not because I was special or because I had any grand purpose left to accomplish. We all have a grand purpose left to accomplish for the Kingdom of God, whether that’s the salvation of one or many, and it’s Biblical that YHWH protects His saints. A thought that has really kept me up a few minutes longer than usual (I wouldn’t say “Kept me up at night” because as you have seen, when my body is tired, it sleeps) is this: “How many times has God already saved my life with me having no knowledge of it?” I’m inclined to believe that there have been many times that God has intervened. I don’t believe this is only true in the physical sense, either; I believe God has been fully active in helping me avoid stupid decisions, or in restoring my path after I have already made a stupid decision (which is more often than I should like to admit).
I don’t need more practice rambling. Let me just finish by saying that God’s faithfulness does not run dry. He extends His grace freely to His children, and I am happy He extended it to me in that moment. HA. Happy….what a lame word to use here. Meh…whatever, I’m tired of using the Thesaurus app for this blog in an attempt to sound smarter than I really am ;)
Peace, love, and recycle, y’all. Keep serving our God of truth, who is near to those He loves.
And Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to all!