Every single night before I put Jacob down in his crib we pray. It is my time to be still (Psalm 46:10). We thank God for our blessings, we pray for those who are struggling, we praise him for all the good that we see, we ask him for guidance and I always, always ask him to wrap his arms around Jacob and protect him through the night and always.
A week and a half ago was a true testament that God hears our prayers. Jacob and I were driving south on the 15 freeway on a Saturday afternoon and a car swerved into my lane and hit us. The actual impact happened so fast, I remember seeing the car, hearing the screech of our tires and then we spun…across 3 lanes of a busy freeway. That is the part that is so vivid in my mind, it seemed to happen in slow motion and that is the part that haunts me. I remember seeing faces of people in other cars as we went by. And I remember feeling so helpless that I couldn’t do anything to stop it from happening. I remember thinking, is this it? Is this how it all ends? I remember thinking please don’t let anything happen to Jake, if someone has to be hurt, let it be me. It is true what they say how your life can flash before your eyes. We landed facing oncoming traffic in the fast lane unharmed. When we stopped, I braced myself because I was sure someone was going to hit us, no one did. Then I dove into the backseat to check and make sure Jacob was okay, he was fine. Two guys pulled over to check on us and told me that 911 had been called. I called Justin and he came right away. Minutes later the CHP, a firetruck and ambulance were there. The paramedics and fireman checked us out I gave my statement to the police and then we loaded up Jake’s carseat into the car Justin drove to the scene and we followed the tow truck towing my Jeep off the freeway. When driving away we saw the car that hit me on the side of the freeway a little further down and it was pretty banged up and the airbags had deployed. The damage to my car was minor, the front left side and bumper is banged up. There was liquid leaking (not gas) so it may be the radiator…? It is still at our mechanic and we don’t really know the full extent of the damage yet. So we were hit, spun across 3 lanes of freeway without hitting anyone else, landed unharmed and with minor damage to my car. Wow!
When we got home it was time for Jacob’s nap. But I didn’t want to put him down, I just couldn’t leave him and I wanted to watch him play. Seeing him laugh and kick his ball around, dance to music and bring me all his books, toys and stuffed animals was reassuring me that he was okay. When it was obvious that he really needed that nap, I got him to fall asleep on me in the rocking chair. I knew he was fine from what I could see, but I kept thinking of all those stories of people who go to sleep after hitting their heads and never waking up. Even though Jake didn’t really hit his head, we were still in a scary accident and I just couldn’t put him down, I needed to hold him close. I needed to feel his weight on me, and feel his heart beating and his steady breathing and I needed to stare at him through my tears as I was thanking God that he was okay. Later that day, when it came time to put him down for the night, I was glued to the baby monitor to make sure he would move every once in a while, I kept going in his room and putting my hand on him to make sure he was still breathing. I seriously wondered if the crib would hold my weight or if there would be enough room for both of us if I crawled in there with him. It was a long night.
The next few days were hard. Really hard. I have never been in an accident before and for it to happen on a busy freeway was really unnerving. I couldn’t get the “what if’s” out of my head. If it was just me it would have been one thing, but the fact that Jacob was with me made it so.much.more.traumatizing. I was not eating, I didn’t sleep and I felt like I couldn’t stop crying. I was shaky and all the stress was making me physically sick to my stomach. I didn’t want to drive anywhere, I was planning to call Jacob’s swim school and put his classes on hold for a week and all I wanted to do was climb into bed and hide under the covers (and bring Jake under there with me). All I wanted to do was forget about it. I wanted to erase the whole day from my memory and pretend that it didn’t happen, but I couldn’t. Justin was my rock through all of this, and when I told him I was going to put Jake’s swimming lessons on hold, he gave me a little pep talk and told me I needed to be strong for Jake. He said I needed to be healthy so I can continue to take care of him. I needed to provide stability for him and keep doing the things we enjoy doing, like his swimming lessons. So that day, I took him to his lessons. Throughout the week, we went somewhere every day, like we usually do. Some days were fine, some days I found myself having a little anxiety attack on the freeway so I ended up taking the back roads home. Every day is a little better. One day at a time.
Once we got the police report we found out that it was a 17 year old boy who was on his way home from taking his SAT tests. He said he swerved to avoid another car and that is what brought him into my lane and hit me. Since I have never been in an accident before, I’ve never read any kind of police report. It is kind of interesting to see how they piece all the evidence and facts together. At the end of the report they state the conclusion and witness statements. The witnesses all said the same thing, after the collision and seeing the smoke from our tires they slowed down to avoid being involved and then they saw a grey SUV spinning across the freeway and landing facing the traffic in the fast lane. It gave me chills when I was reading their statements. I wonder if theirs were the faces I saw as we were going across the freeway? I wonder if there really was another car that made the 17 year old swerve into my lane? If so, does that driver have any idea what he caused? There are a few unanswered questions like that, but they really don’t matter in my book. What matters is we are safe. Jacob is unharmed. And I finally have a little sense of peace and closure on the whole thing. And I know the reason we are safe is because those guardian angels I pray for every night were in full force. God cleared a section of a busy freeway so that we would land unharmed. It blows my mind the fact that we didn’t hit a single car when we absolutely should have. God is good!
Several years ago Justin and I were traveling south on the 5 freeway and we saw a car cut across the freeway and when it hit the center divider it went up in the air and flipped. That was a pretty scary thing to witness and I remember it took a long time to shake the heaviness I was feeling from seeing it happen. To this day every single time I drive past that spot (which is at least 2 days a week) I think about it and I grip the steering wheel just a bit tighter. Now there is a spot on the 15 freeway that will always remind me of our accident.
I read somewhere a while ago this statement:
Christianity is more than simply a set of beliefs I hold so I can achieve salvation for my individual soul. It is also a distinct way of understanding and interpreting everything in the world.
I find this to be so true for so.many.things. People love to blame God for destruction, pain or anything bad. I am not going to get too deep into that subject, I don’t have a perfect answer to why bad things happen to good people. It reminds me of the Why Me? post I did a while ago. But what you can learn from those bad things and the way you handle them and how you live your life after coming out of the storm makes all the difference in the world. There IS a war going on, good vs evil, and God will always win. In this case, instead of feeling a tightness in my chest each time I approach that section of freeway (or at this point driving on any freeway) I want it to be a reminder of how good God is and how he protected us. Yes, it was scary and it could have been really, really bad, but it wasn’t. And for that I praise Him!
Justin’s Aunt made a comment to me after posting about the accident on Facebook about how Billy Graham picked names for his guardian angels. The thought of that made me smile. I know God has his warrior angels, but I’d like to think that all Jacob’s great grandparents are the ones fighting away all the bad and keeping my sweet boy safe. And I know he’s in good hands!
Here’s a picture of our happy little monkey at the library this afternoon