One year ago today, at about 6:30 p.m., two cars smashed into me from either side as I drove home from work in Atlanta. I can still remember the smell of the pungent airbag fluid and the lingering scent of burned rubber. I remember someone knocking on my window saying, “Are you okay?” and not readily knowing the answer. I remember coming to and crying as hard as I’ve ever cried in my life, mostly because I didn’t know how my car ended up in the bushes and I couldn’t find my cell phone that had my frantic mother screaming on the other end. I can clearly remember the disdainful policeman saying, “You know this is all your fault right?” I remember my amazing coworkers Tiffani & Vicky showing up and making sure I was alright - even though when they arrived I was turning in circles on the street corner holding my purse and my football. I remember picking glass out of my hair and clothes hours later as I sat in a neck brace at the hospital. I remember how confused I was for weeks and how helpless it felt to not be able to get out of bed without my Mom’s help. I remember Michelle coming over to help me pack for Bolivia, because I couldn’t figure out how to do it myself. I remember how it took days to process exactly what had happened. More than anything, I remember this as a time when I learned that God is looking out for me and that all things work according to His plan.
Two days prior, I announced my departure to my boss and it did not go so well. I had planned to give my car to my brother (who had totaled his two weeks before!) once I left for New York. In an instant, everything went haywire and my plans flew out the shattered window. That was a tough couple of weeks for sure.
So much has changed since 06/28/06. My brain is back to normal - for the most part. I did move to New York City after all and started a new job with a wonderful boss and no drama. I went to Bolivia with a sprained neck and back and never felt a pinch of pain while doing construction. My mom had successful brain surgery and my sister grew about four more inches taller than me. I’ve made many new friends and lost a few old and dear ones. There have been deaths in my family and births for my friends. I’ve found a new church home and learned to survive without a car. I’ve learned how to yell at a cab driver for taking me through Times Square when there’s clearly a better route.
Am I a better person since the accident? That’s debatable. All I know is that I’ve learned to lean on God, to trust that he’s handling all the moving parts and to sit back and contentedly enjoy the ride.
So the next time you’re smashed in between two cars, for real or in some other configuration in your personal life, don’t forget that God does everything for the good of those who love Him… and sometimes it hurts.