Today everything came to a screeching halt for me in my office at 2:42 p.m. My wife called from her cell phone in tears—she and my youngest daughter Ashley had been in a bad car accident.
If you’ve been in these situations, you might have noticed that time freezes. Seconds before the phone rang, I had been at full speed finalizing my workshop presentations for this weekend in NJ … none of that mattered now. I just sat there, frozen in time, staring at the texture on the wall, feeling as if my throat was closing up on me.
I blinked in slow motion. It felt like a minute, waiting to find out if she and Ashley were okay, but it probably was only a nanosecond during that pause in my wife’s sentence.
Even though time was frozen, my thoughts were running at 30-images-per-second. I saw it clearly in my mind—a gurney being loaded into an ambulance with my daughter’s 12-year-old body strapped tightly. An EMT in a blue uniform holding an oxygen mask to her tiny face, trying to keep his balance as he stepped into the ambulance with the gurney.
Fast forward to the hospital waiting room… a group of faces surrounding me, some patting me on the shoulder trying to assure me of some hope, others saying words of encouragement, but I don’t hear a thing. My thoughts are in an operating room right now with Ashley’s petite frame laid out on a table, doctors franticly working, trying to save her life.
I hit my knees right there in the waiting room and cry out to God, “Please don’t take her. Please!”
I’m not thinking about a totaled car. I’m not worried about increased insurance rates. I could care less if I lost it all at this point. Just not Ashley. “Lord, don’t take Ashley. Nothing else matters.”
I blink again.
I’m back in the office, staring at the textured wall. My wife catches her breath and finishes her sentence. “We’re fine. But the car is totaled.”
I get all the details, but I don’t care about any of them. Lori and Ashley are safe.
It was heavy traffic on a main road by my house. Lori was trying to get through two lanes of stopped traffic to a shopping center. Two cars left a gap and waved her through, not knowing that a young kid was coming full speed in the far right turn lane. Lori poked her nose out to look and it was too late—that teeth grinding sound of metal crunching and glass breaking. Our little Sentra was totaled, with Lori and Ash right there in the front seats.
It was Lori’s first accident, ever.
An hour later Lori was crying, “I’m sorry. I can’t believe I totaled the car.”
I looked at her and smiled. “I am not worried about it at all. You two are safe.”
God answered my hospital room prayer… and I was never even there.
The funny thing is, last week I prayed that very prayer. I was praying and I asked God, “Please keep my family safe.” I went on. “I don’t care about this recession, my salary, home values, bills… none of it. Just keep my family safe.”
He answered it.
So I’m keeping my end of the bargain. I don’t care about the car, the deductable, insurance increases, body shop bills… none of it.
The girls are okay. That’s all that matters.
God is good.
(You can keep Ash in your prayers. Lori seemed to fair fine, but Ash’s head actually hit the side window or something. She’s got the beginning of a black eye and a little bit of headache. A fire truck actually did show up at the accident and they checked her out—said she was fine. She was in good spirits a couple hours later. The black eye makes her look tough. I told her to tell everyone at school that she got in a gang fight!)