Oct 31, 2010

An Interesting Day – An Electrical Job, A Totaled Car, A Few Errands, and a Faithful God

So, as is often the case when “major” events happen in my life, I am taking the opportunity to reflect on the situation and to write about it. Today was a great day, I really enjoyed the day and love being in the will of God and seeing Him work… even when I don’t understand it.

I started the day slowly as I’ve been sick lately and am on day 7 of antibiotics. I’m feeling a lot better than I have, but not 100%. So, I was scheduled to go to one of our pastor’s house to help with doing electrical in his basement. I started later than intended, but still got over there early-ish in the morning. On my way there, I visited a friend at work that was helping me with something and then headed to the pastor’s house. After spending the day there, I was finally finished and headed home. I planned on going home, working on a project, then meeting another friend to help with a vehicle logistics problem (driving a car :), and then he was to help me bring our harp back from the church. So, I headed home driving down Bardstown road away from the pastor’s house (I’m guessing somewhere around 5 pm). This road is a 5-lane road, with a turn lane in the middle, meaning the North bound side I was on is two lanes of North bound traffic. I went through a light and on the other side, there was the usual blockade of people in the right lane essentially at a standstill. The left lane however was clear for about a ¼ mile, as it usually is around this area (at that time of day). I slowed down because the left lane was only clear for a little bit and the right was stopped. As I drove past the first section of the blockade, I went “on guard” as I normally do, waiting for someone to try to shoot / shift lanes from the right lane into the left. The next thing I know, I’m seeing slow-motion. I hear the bang of metal crunching against metal just a split-second before I can actually see the car that just pulled out in front of me, followed by the jerk of my car stopping “on a dime” (well, on / at a Ford Focus to be specific), and THEN the airbag hits me in the chin. I wanted to punch the thing (unfortunately, it was already flat :). I’m assuming it was compensating for the low-speed impact, but it actually hit me a split-second AFTER the collision, right about the time I was starting to “self-right” in my seat. I actually had a split second to think to myself, “hey, my airbag didn’t go…” BANG!

So, what happened? Well, I was passing a Waffle House (on my right) and there was a teenage girl that apparently wanted to make a left (from the Waffle House lot toward the South) A waffle house employee told her she should have used the other exit, the one with the light!. Apparently she had wedged between two cars that were stopped in the right lane and decided to “gun it” toward the “safety” of the turn lane. I guess she thought it was clear, but she was quite wrong. I’m sure she wasn’t able to see me, but that’s just why you NEVER try that maneuver, especially in such heavy traffic. Even if she had made it past me / my lane, the turn lane in that spot is NOT safe, and the cars in the South bound lanes were stacked up like sardines anyway. It’s no surprise that I later found out the girl has only been driving since either July or January (the mom was a little flustered and settled on January). Immediately after the accident, I checked myself to see if I was still intact (though I was fairly sure I was since I was thinking about decking the airbag -which, for those of you that don’t know my sense of humor, that simply means I’m annoyed with something, not that I actually want or intend to deck something… although, it hit me first, and there I go again ;). After that, I looked up to see where the impact was on the other car (and thus, what to expect in terms of injury to the driver), just in time to see a teenage girl having a nervous break-down. She looked extremely young and was just freaking out. I motioned to see if she was ok and she nodded (and the same for the friend that was with her). Thankfully, my car struck right around the driver’s front tire / wheel and not the door. I took another second to just take stock of everything and then looked for my cell phone. When I found it, I began to motion to see if she had already called the police… she hadn’t… she was on the phone with mom and dad. So, I called and was informed that someone had reported it and the police would be there as soon as possible. I was quite impressed at the large number of people that stopped to be witnesses and to be great citizens and see if we were OK… a grand total of ZERO! Thank you Kentucky drivers! Ok, rant over. Anyway, there were a few people that tried to help who were going the other way (Southbound). They asked if we were ok and one of them tried to tell me the nearest intersection so I could tell whoever I was on the phone with (I lost track as I felt like I was a dispatcher with all the people calling me, and that I had to call).

To make a long story short, I spent the next hour or so reassuring a very scared girl that the world would not end and that everyone makes mistakes and so on. I also had to verbally coerce the girls away from the cars (which were still in the middle of the road) and into the grass so that we were out of the road and not killed by someone that wasn’t paying attention. I think they were so flustered and scared they just couldn’t process what I was saying for a minute. When her parents came I introduced myself to them and the mother was very kind, even offering to let me sit in their car where it was warm (I was still in my work shorts and t-shirt). We made small talk for a minute and then the police showed up (Fire rescue showed up earlier to make sure we were all ok and to clean up the mess from my bleeding car).

The damage: My Civic, totaled. Ford Focus, might be able to be repaired. The girl’s left front axle was broken for sure, but there was little visible body damage. I’m not sure what might have been damaged in the engine compartment. Beyond that, their car was A-OK. Mine on the other hand, is worth nearly nothing according to the Blue-book (despite being a collector’s car… Black 92 Civic Si, for those that know). The airbag alone I think costs more than the car, but beside that, the entire front end is crumpled up against the fire-wall with all of the cooling and AC system mangled beyond repair (and likely many other things). The dern thing still ran and drove though… well, at least to the parking lot of the Waffle House about 20 feet away. Damage to me: Small cut / scrape on right knee, small cut on left knee (left will probably bruise a little), sore collar bone (seatbelt) and peck muscle, a slight burn on the neck from the seatbelt, and a scrape or burn on my right wrist from (I don’t know?, poss airbag vent). Damage to the girls: nothing they were aware of at the time (except emotional :). After everything was taken care of (paperwork, cars towed, etc), Ben Farrar picked me up and I was able to help as planned by driving one of their vehicles to their house. After that, we went and picked up the harp and brought it home. Thanks Ben, for picking me up and for getting the harp.

So, now to take stock. Girls = totaled cars. OK, OK, I’m joking! On a serious note, I’m just so thankful that no one was hurt. I’m SO thankful that my car struck the front wheel and not the driver’s door and not the rear end (hurt the girls or spin the car). I’m also SO thankful that her car was in front of mine because it probably would have shoved me into any on-coming cars that were still moving (head-on) and / or into another vehicle on the side. I’m thankful that I was going slower than the speed limit as it would have been much worse. I’m thankful that if it had to happen, it happened to me. Why, because I’m not a jerk and the girl made an honest mistake and I’m afraid of what some would have done / how they would have treated her. I do hope that she learns from this, don’t get me wrong. She needs to learn from it. However, someone acting like a jerk or trying to sue or whatever is not going to teach her anything. I hope that she learns from it and then is able to let it go. Finally, it gave me an opportunity to show Christ’s love and to demonstrate a faithful heart and mind. What I mean is that you can always tell who a person really is when trouble comes or bad things happen. Because of Christ’s love and grace in my life, I was able to demonstrate how a Christian ought to act in a situation like this and I was able to do it in sincerity.

Finally, I have been and will be able to demonstrate faith in Christ in and through this situation. What do I mean? Well, there are two sides to this story. The first, the human side, is that I won’t be able to buy a decent vehicle with whatever the insurance company gives me. It will be a start, but it won’t be enough for a vehicle that ran like that one… it was a gem. This is compounded with the move, much less commuting opposite directions once there. The bottom line is that there is no way humanly speaking. You may ask why I’m happy about this or why I consider the day to be good in light of this? Well, I’m not saying I like being in this position, I don’t like not being able to provide or not being able to go out and get a vehicle. So why do I consider it a good day? Precisely because of the second side of the story! The thing is, it is in these situations, no matter how mundane it may be (or how huge it might seem), we get to see Christ work!!! We get to watch Him moving and working and providing in any number of ways! Sometimes He just drops something in our laps and sometimes He uses our current or natural circumstances. Other times He gives His people a desire to help, each as they are able and when combined they are able to accomplish much more (Ex 36:6). Still other times, it is in some way that we hadn’t even considered!

If we will stop long enough, if we will take a breath and observe, if we will listen for a second, we will hear the heartbeat and see the hands of our Savior!!!!!!! He is not merely concerned with our soul (though that is certainly enough), no, He is also VERY concerned about our lives. Our Heavenly Father knows what we need and takes great delight in providing for us (Matt 6:25-34; Luke 12:22-31). He also delights in helping us grow in faith and learn that we can trust in Him for things both big and small. I don’t know about you, but I get excited when God begins to work! I get excited knowing that He is doing all things for our good and that His plans are always good and perfect and always infinitely better than we could ever ask or imagine!!! THIS is how I can say it was a good day. I will do all that I can, don’t get me wrong. But, when I’ve done everything that is in my power (and that I ought to do), I will have the honor and pleasure of resting in Him and watching my savior work this out for His glory and my betterment! I don’t know how and I don’t know when, but I know that He will provide. He may take us through a period of trial, we may struggle with this for a little while, but if so, I know that we will Glorify Him in the way we act, talk, and think. He may choose to pour out blessings upon us immediately and provide exactly what we need right away. I have to be honest as a human and say that I hope it is the latter, but I’m genuinely ok with the first. God has provided so MANY good things and I don’t deserve ANY of them. So, in the perspective, what is this by comparison?! It is as nothing!

Now, having discussed the ethereal, I want to go back to the earthly for a moment. I simply want to ask you to join me in prayer. Please pray that the Lord will be glorified in all of this. Please pray for the girl and her family. I pray that if they don’t know Christ, they will come to know Him. I also pray that she will learn from this; that she will only feel sorrow long enough to learn from this and I hope it points her to Christ. We are taught many things about prayer and one of those is that we are taught to ask for what we need and desire and that the Lord will provide according to His will. I am therefore praying that the Lord would provide enough for a solid vehicle that will last and serve us well as we seek to serve Christ! Finally, I am praying that when we are able, the Lord will provide just the right vehicle (perhaps even a mini-van… for the harp and tools)!

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