On Tuesday, my life changed. It's funny and also scary how just a split second can change everything.
You see that plus sign on the pee stick-- BAM. Changed. Didn't happen to me, though.
You get that acceptance letter to college-- BAM. Changed. That happened a long time ago.
You say "yes" and put that ring on your finger-- BAM. Changed. That already happened too.
The biopsy comes back positive for cancer-- BAM. Changed. Thank God that's not it.
I hadn't thought about how quickly life could change since I lived at home and my dad used to scare the crap out of me by saying things like, "one poor choice--you lose control of the car, you accidentally kill someone, and your life will never be the same. Saying 'sorry' won't help." That's not just me, right-- that's terrifying, isn't it?!!
That's probably why I say "I love you" before I leave or hang up with anyone I love. I realize that in a moment, life could change.
And on Tuesday, my life changed. It's not as dramatic as all that, but it's still pretty big in my life.
On Tuesday, I had picked up Lucia from my mother-in-law's house, as usual, and was heading home like every other Tuesday. I must have driven that route literally 100 times. But this time, as I was driving in the far left lane, a PT Cruiser with an elderly man inside decided to pull out and turn left from a parking lot on the right. Instead of crossing three lanes of traffic and waiting in the median to cross the next three, he decided to pull into my lane and face me. I was going 45 (the speed limit) and swerved into the median, slamming on my brakes. It wasn't enough. He smashed into my front right passenger side. My airbags went off with a deafening POP, filling the car and my lungs with a horrible gun powder smell.
I could scarcely believe what had just happened, though I watched him slam into my car. It was terrifying. I was shaking and immediately started crying. My mind was racing-- what do I do? I have to call Mike. And a tow truck. What was his license plate in case he drives away? Should I stay in here? Fortunately, some amazing people pulled their cars into the median to help me. Faith in humanity restored. In fact, one young man I would have normally categorized as a "douchebag," knocked on my window. I opened my door and he said, "You should probably get out." Still shaking, tears running down my face, I grabbed the dog, who I hoped wasn't deaf from the airbags, and my purse. The dog peed AND pooped all over my skirt and shirt, and as I stood there for what felt like five minutes, just trying to remember how to find my husband's phone number on my phone, these Good Samaritans called 911 and helped keep me safe from the cars whizzing around me. Some real jerks shouted out their windows, "You can't park there!" Yeah, thanks buddy. I like to park in the median and cry, with dog feces and urine on my clothes. Cool. It's OK-- Mr. Not-Douchebag gave him the finger. Maybe he really was a douchebag with a good heart?
The firetruck came and a nice fireman cleaned the poop off Lucia's butt, and my finger, and I got the names and numbers of two kind people. Well, I got their names and numbers after this girls dug around in my purse for the pen, since I had poo on my finger. Their kindness really touched me.
I was finally able to walk to the side of the road, where I just sat, crying and shaking. Still my mind raced. Mike has work tonight! How will he get dinner? Will he be late? What am I going to do? How are we going to afford a new car?
My mother-in-law came and hugged me. She ordered me to sit down in the car and Hband is pretty sure she would have wrestled me if I hadn't listened to her. Hband made it around the same time and I hugged him like I never wanted to leave him, because I didn't. I was so scared.
A report was filed, the old man was cited, and The Golden Bullet, my faithful car of many years, was towed. And like that, things were quiet again. For those of you who have experienced an accident, this may be tame for you. But for me, this was terrifying. Because I realized that in that one second, life could have changed even more than it had. God protected Lucia and me in a way I don't understand. It was almost a head-on collision. Lucia should have been hurt. The airbag should have hit my face. But she was fine, and I was fine-- just whiplash and a couple bruises.
But life still changed. We went from owning two reliable, albiet old cars, to having to find a way to fit a car payment into our tight budget. That is a big change for a couple who are desperately paying down debt and struggling month-to-month.
But God proved his faithfulness once again. I was alive. Our dog was alive. I didn't have to go to the hospital. We would be fine. God knew about this before I woke up in the morning. Heck, he knew about it before I was born. So he has a plan and will provide, and it will be good.
Meanwhile though, it's a real headache.
But twice that night, Hband said, "I'm glad you're not dead." To anyone else, that sounds caustic and harsh. To me, with a husband who's not very sappy, it meant a lot. Even if I'd be happy to see Jesus, I'm glad I could spend the evening cuddling up to my husband and dog, watching "How I Met Your Mother."
Life changed for me, but part of that change is remembering to savor every moment until it changes again.