The Day I Lost It
“Describe your first car,” the facilitator asked each of us as she worked her way around the table. I was in a workshop, and we were participating in a “get to know each other” exercise.
I raced back in my memory and remembered the long ago pride I’d had of my first vehicle, a red, Pontiac Sundance; and just as quickly, I remembered the day I’d lost it.
Exiting off a freeway, I came up on a truck pulling a tractor. Traffic would slow to a crawl in half a mile, and I didn’t want to be stuck behind something I couldn’t see around; so I passed the truck. Sure enough, sooner than I’d expected, I came up on the stop and go traffic. As I slowed to a stop, I heard a deafening BOOM! I didn’t feel a thing; I just heard the noise. Stunned I looked in my rear view mirror, but I couldn’t see through the shattered glass. Shakily I opened the door and climbed out. The truck I’d passed was smashed into the back of my car, and the impact had thrown my car into the one in front of it.
The back end of the Sundance was crushed; the front end wasn’t much better; and the driver’s seat was lying flat against the backseat.
The man from the car in front of me was out of his car too and came running back to me. “Are you ok, Miss?” he asked with concern that surprised me since his car had been hit too.
People were stopping and yelling, and then I heard sirens. It all felt so overwhelming, and random thoughts were flitting through my head. I wish there was someone here to help me, I thought to myself. I wonder how long this is gonna take. I suppose I’ll have to break that date Loretta arranged for me. Grrr! That’s a bummer.
I saw a metro bus coming toward me and flagged it down. The driver looked at me in surprise as I climbed aboard and addressed the passengers, “Is my dad on this bus? I need my dad.”
From the depths of the bus dad emerged, all 6 feet and four inches of him coming down the aisle to me, and the bus load of peopled stared in silent awe as I announced, “A truck hit my car, dad.”
As I came off the bus with dad behind me, the ambulance arrived and the medics started yelling, “Where’s the driver? Somebody check the bushes!” Since they couldn’t find me, they thought I must have been thrown from the car. They didn’t expect the driver to disembark from a passing bus.
“I’m right here,” I shouted.
“STOP!” Don’t take another step,” the ambulance guy yelled. “You think you’re ok, but you might have a broken back. Don’t move!” There was so much yelling and noise, but I stood there while the world kept moving around me.
“Somebody help me with this hair.” Three guys were trying to deal with my hair and get a neck brace on me. Then I was lying on a backboard staring at the sky with straps across my forehead, arms and legs to hold me motionless.
I could heard dad’s calm voice taking care of all the insurance stuff, asking questions, and handling details about where to tow the car.
In the distance I could hear another voice, someone shouting, “Your husband wants to know if you’re ok.” The voice was coming closer and with each repetition was growing more irritated and louder. Suddenly a police officer was standing directly above me, his face close to mine. “Why won’t you answer me?” He bellowed, “Your husband wants to know if you’re ok.”
That was the moment I lost it. My car was smashed; I was immobile; I was pretty sure I wasn’t going to get home from the hospital in time to keep my date; I didn’t need the cute paramedic thinking I was married; and this idiot wanted to know why I wouldn’t answer his question when I couldn’t even turn my head. So I sucked in a deep breath and yelled, “I’M…NOT…MARRIED!”
In my heart I felt completely justified in mentally calling the man names and hollering at him, and that was my big mistake. I’d allowed myself to weigh my actions against man’s standards, not God’s.
Proverbs 16:2 says, “All the ways of a man are pure in his own eyes, but the Lord weighs the spirits.”
That word spirits means moral character. God knows our true motives, and mine were driven by disappointment and frustration. Nothing would have been lost if I’d given the officer a kind response, a soft answer like Proverbs 15:1 suggets we give.
The true test of our character doesn’t come on a sunny day when everything is in its place, but it comes in the middle of noise and confusion. The closer we walk to God, the more equipped we’ll be for when the testing comes. Determine now to follow God’s standard!