Our kids and grands all live too far away for this Mama, a.k.a. Nana. While the miles are many, the road is never too long to keep us from visiting as often as we can.
While it came as no surprise to me that our youngest son was making plans to go on another traveling adventure, one phrase yanked my heart…
“When are you coming home?”
“I don’t know.”
At this point, I did what any Mama would do …I started asking my husband if we could make a “quick trip” to see him before he left. That meant making any adjustments to any previously scheduled work or appointments, loading up our truck with a week’s worth of necessary whatever, and making the 16 hour trip from Alabama to Connecticut.
The Ramblin’ Man and I have rambled around this country thousands of miles over our almost 34 years of marriage and in that time we’ve experienced blown engines, many shredded tires, a gas pipe obliterated by a tire shredding, and water pump, alternator, starter and radiator fail. We’ve left more than one vehicle with a local in whatever town we happened to blow an engine and rented a car or moving truck to continue on to our destination. Our experiences have left us with a “Martin family trip” reputation. When we return from any long trip, it’s become a typical topic of conversation as others jokingly ask about a possible engine fail or tire that might have gone awry.
A common update might be, “We arrived safely. All 4 wheels still intact.”
Last week our trip started in normal fashion but took on a new “Martin trip” adventure about 45 minutes up the road. A car came across our lane right in front of us and with all my husband’s efforts to swerve and miss, we crashed.
It was as if the slow-motion button was cued and all went surreal as I watched it happen …everything completely out of my control. There was nothing I could do. This was happening and all I could do was sit and watch from my box seats.
After the impact, both vehicles came to a stop along the grassy median without causing a chain reaction of accidents with others along the road . After my husband checked to see if I was okay, he crawled out and went to check on the other driver. We were all basically okay — sore and shaken — but okay. Thank God. We had all survived.
It’s often not until after the initial shock has worn off that the reality of what happened sets in and the “what if” thoughts begin to swirl. “What if” we had hit her broad-side? “What if” we had swerved into on-coming traffic? “What if” our seat belts had malfunctioned? “What if” one of us had gotten seriously injured …or worse!? “What if” …”What if” …
But none of that happened. It could have; but it didn’t. It has happened to many others but for some reason, the worse case scenario didn’t happen to us. I don’t have an answer for that other than God’s grace on those of us involved and yet I know He has grace on others and bad things still happen.
I won’t give you any pat answer but I’m slowly learning to take the “what if’s” and lean in to the “even if’s” now more than ever before. “Even if” bad things happen I have to trust the hand of God is still covering me. Holding me. Guiding me. Protecting me. Loving me.
Ironically, these past few months have been riddled with ridiculous anxiety that is most often based on safety concerns. I find myself trying, at all cost, to prevent anything unsafe or bad from ever happening even though I know this is absolutely impossible in this broken, fallen world we live in.
We’re never really in control as much as we’d like to think.
Being in a car accident drove a truth home. A bad thing happened and we survived! It was awful and scary but we survived. Sure, there are the interruptions and delays, annoying paperwork, insurance claims, having to get a rental car and ultimately find another car in the budgeted amount — but in all reality, all is well.
But my heart aches for those who have gone through this and have a different story to tell…their lives changed forever by a single event in life that became a mile-marker embellished with a bouquet of flowers on a cross beside a busy highway.
That hurts deeply. Those wounds never seem to heal quite right. You’re never the same.
For many, the biggest challenge must be to survive each day as life takes on a whole new dimension. I can only imagine the pain even though I hope I never know it firsthand.
However, if it’s true, “pain is pain,” — I know about that real well.
This last year has been one of severe emotional suffering and yet it has produced a deeper walk with Jesus than ever before. I didn’t want to “crash” emotionally and yet it happened …and God is tenderly showing me He is helping me to survive that emotional wreck just as much as He helped me survive the crash on Hwy. 72.
I’m leaning further in to the “Even if’s” …
In death or abandonment …
“Even if my father and mother abandon me,
the Lord will hold me close.” (Psalm 27:10 NLT)
In attacks on our emotional, spiritual or physical well-being …
“Though a mighty army surrounds me, my heart will not be afraid. Even if I am attacked, I will remain confident.”(Psalm 27:3 NLT)
In accusations or threats to ruin our reputation or when others misunderstand our motives while doing good …
“Now, who will want to harm you if you are eager to do good? 14 But even if you suffer for doing what is right, God will reward you for it. So don’t worry or be afraid of their threats.” (I Peter 3:13-14 NLT)
And with the three Hebrew young men facing the fiery furnace …
“Shadrach, Meshach, and Abednego replied, “O Nebuchadnezzar, we do not need to defend ourselves before you. 17 If we are thrown into the blazing furnace, the God whom we serve is able to save us. He will rescue us from your power, Your Majesty. 18 But even if he doesn’t, we want to make it clear to you, Your Majesty, that we will never serve your gods or worship the gold statue you have set up.” (Daniel 3:16-19 NLT)
And by the way, we made it to Connecticut via rental car …all 4 wheels intact. All is well. 🙂
As we all walk this journey of life, I’d love to know how you have learned to survive in the middle of suffering or loss. It might just be the mile-marker somebody needs to see.
In response to the Daily Prompt: Survive