So I’m driving down the turnpike a couple weeks ago like I do a million times, getting ready for my next exit. Then out of nowhere, the SUV two car lengths in front of me starts to swerve, and before I know it, I’m right in the middle of a full blown action movie car pile-up scene. No biggy, right? I’ve seen it a hundred times on all my favorite action movies. Wrong! I actually couldn’t believe that something I’ve seen on the screen before was happening right in front of me and turning me into a professional Hollywood stunt driver. Then without warning, the SUV full of 5 adult passengers flipped over in mid air and rolled at least 2 or 3 times, finding its final resting place upside down in the middle of the busy highway. I, along with several other cars, managed to avoid being crushed or hit by the action and pulled over to the side out of harm’s way like it was an everyday thing.
I had just gotten off my cell phone to my husband who was out of state for business when all of this happened so luckily I had my phone readily accessible, and was able to make the rescue 911call which brought police, ambulance and the fire rescue to the scene within minutes. The first passenger to pull himself out of the wreckage was a man in his early 50’s who had been severely injured, at least visibly, by a wound on his head which was gushing blood profusely. One by one, the passengers were being pulled free by the other travelers on the road who had made an amazingly quick dash to help at the scene. One of the backseat passenger doors was jammed shut and one of the elderly ladies was still trapped inside. During the rescue call I made, the fire rescue operator instructed me to let them know not to move anyone to avoid further injury, but just as she was saying that, the last passenger was pulled free. No need for the jaws of life, thankfully!
During this whole experience, I amazingly remained calm, cool, and collected, and was able to make the call quickly and give all the necessary details to the rescue team without extreme agitation as many people who find themselves in situations like this are not able to do. After the fact, my thoughts continued to rest on this incident and all the parallels it drew to life, to choices, and the spiritual paths we often take. I was amazed for one, that so many people came to the aid of these victims in such a hurry. Unlike another rescue call I found myself being the 911 call initiator of a year earlier when an elderly woman collided with an oncoming car in the opposite lane right in front of me, and my husband and I were the ones first to the scene. That particular experience was extremely opposite with the reaction that people gave in response. We found ourselves battling traffic to just walk across the road to assist the two passengers that were critically injured and eventually had to be air-lifted to the hospital. Shockingly, in that particular accident which happened right in front of us, other drivers on the road could have cared less. They were all trying to get by to their next destination, with no regard for what was happening, and if I recall correctly, only one or two other people stopped to get out of their cars to help the victims. The elderly woman lay broken inside one of the cars and wasn’t moving. My husband went to help the man in the other car who had a gushing wound to the head, exposed bone protruding from his leg and knee area and chest, and was starting to go into shock and convulsions, completely disillusioned. My husband was able to be there to give him words of comfort, to keep him still, to assure him that help was on the way, and keep him from moving. I had made the 911 call for that accident as well, and with the new accident I had just experienced, my mind began to consider why it was me who found myself making these calls. And why I had found myself so calm and able to do what needed to be done to be a part of the rescue.
Of course, now I’m drawing spiritual conclusions and life analogies in all of this and how there are so many people in the middle of disasters they call everyday life. People who make mistakes and wrong choices which ultimately lead to destruction, severe complications, and sometimes death. We never expect these kind of disasters. Sometimes they just strike without warning. Are we prepared for these events? How will we handle them when they do happen? How will we respond when we are caught in the middle of other’s disasters? Can we help? Can we calmly and objectively offer assistance, guidance and healing? Do we even care? Or are we too afraid to look at the pain that we find ourselves “driving by” and avoiding the situation all together? Are we the silent heroes who make the 911 call, the one who pulls someone out of the wreckage, the one who offers comfort or physical assistance? Are we prepared to do what has to be done with a sound mind and heart?
My response to these two accidents, which I still can’t believe I was in the middle of, was surprising to me. I was surprised that in the middle of something that would leave most people hysterical by the experience, I was able to be calm, objective, and level headed – I knew exactly what to do and how to do it. Then I thought about the life I’ve lived, which had been a disaster scene for most of my life that seemed to have no end; a first family who was always in crisis emotionally, physically, and spiritually. I had adapted to these kind of conditions so they didn’t surprise me any…I know these things happen in people’s lives, unfortunately, more often than I’d like to believe. And I thought about the many times in my life that I had asked God “why did you give me this kind of upbringing, this kind of constant crisis in my life, this kind of painful experience – why couldn’t I have had a normal childhood, with normal well-adjusted parents and a healthy spiritual upbringing not full of emotional and physical abuse, double standards, hypocrisy in the church and in the people who wounded me along the way?” I know that everyone has their problems and their painful life experiences. Not every one is the same, but the same questions arise in our hearts to God – “why?” and “what are You trying to teach me, to tell me, to prepare me for?”
Sometimes we don’t understand all of these things when they are happening, it’s only later that the light comes on and we say “Ahh! Now I see.” We don’t understand why God would want to allow us to experience an abusive and dysfunctional family upbringing, a hypocritical church experience, a critical father figure that caused you to want to always try harder but you were never going to be good enough anyway, failed relationships, burned bridges among those you trusted who let you down, stabbed you in the back all the while keeping their church face on and parading around like spiritual authorities. Why would God allow you to go through the loss of an unborn child, allow your dreams to remain so far off and unattainable and you still wonder if you will ever see them realized, you wonder if you will ever complete your purpose or fulfill your true calling in life because things just aren’t happening the way you thought they would. You wonder why those who seem to get what you want, get it without putting any effort into it, and you look at their life, their terrible choices and attitudes, and see that you have always been the “good son”, but you aren’t being rewarded with the things you want, and they are squandering what God has given them, mistreating others, and they are put into positions of honor. And then…and then God calls on you to make the “rescue 911 call” in their lives; to run to their assistance, to bring them comfort, to pull them out of the wreckage of their lives and put the best robe on their back and give them the feast fit for kings. Why? Because He loves them and wants them to be rescued, and to see His hand at work through none other than YOU. You, who have experienced disaster before and were well prepared for it and knew exactly what to do without batting an eyelash. And you realize that all of those situations you had experienced come back into play with the rescue of another’s life, all because God put you right in the middle of their disaster at the right time and the right place. He was counting on YOU to do what He needed you to do, not to keep driving past the scene of the wreckage.
So when God brings these kind of situations to me and I find myself in the middle of other’s disaster’s, suddenly all the awareness I didn’t realize I had with that particular kind of experience comes rushing to the surface, and I’m able to make the 911 call with ease. And it’s only then that it all clicks, and all the “why God’s” I had whined through my own life experiences are answered, and I’m finally able to sit back and say “Ahh! Now I see.”