This is how my day started.
I was on my way to work this morning and I rounded a curve and this is what I saw on the side of the road. Myself and one other person coming the opposite direction were the first (and only) people to arrive and stop. Both of us pulled over and got out of our vehicles and started jogging to the scene. I could see the look on his face and assumed it probably mirrored mine. We both thought that we were the first ones to arrive at a fatality.
But thank God, we were wrong.
I saw movement in the front seat and got down to look in what was left of the passenger side window. She was shaken, but she was alive. And not only was she alive – but she was just fine. Really.
She was just stuck. So, working together, the man and I were able to get the back door open and crawl in to get her free from the seatbelt and help her crawl out. Once she was out, we called for help. After realizing that she was a little unsteady on her feet, we brought her back to my car and put her in the passenger seat. With her there, myself in the driver’s seat, and the other man kneeling on the ground at the passenger side, three strangers spent the next 45 minutes together.
Soon, that number rose to four. The next to arrive was an elderly man who was a retired local volunteer EMT. He didn’t have any equipment with him (he was just called because he was close by) so he proceeded to climb in the back seat and just hold the woman’s head with his hands to keep her stable. He did that for about 15 minutes before more help arrived. All in all, we were there close to an hour.
But it’s those first 30 minutes that I’m going to remember for a while.
Without knowing each other at all, we all sat in the car and just talked. We exchanged stories about who we were, why were driving on this road at this particular time, what kind of jobs we had (a nurse, a preacher, a retired EMT, and a paralegal), our kids, our marriages – or lack thereof, etc.
We just sat there and chatted. And at one point, I looked down and realized that this woman had been holding my hand the entire time and I wasn’t even aware. I held a stranger’s hand for 30 minutes. I can assure you that when I woke up this morning, if someone would have asked me to make a list of things I would be doing today, that sure wouldn’t have been on it.
So there we were. Just four strangers chatting in my car after having just witnessed a miracle. Yes, a miracle. And you can’t tell me otherwise.
She was fine!
Now, did you see that picture? Really? Did you look at it? And I was there. I saw that car. I just knew without a shadow of a doubt that the person inside the vehicle would not have made it. I was astonished that all she had was a pretty nasty bump on her head. That’s it.
I don’t even know why I’m blogging about this really. I’m not sure exactly what I wanted to take from this situation, but sitting here still shook up almost 5 hours later, I know that this interaction today meant something to me.
There’s a video that I remember to watch periodically. It’s the song Hello World by Lady Antebellum. The song is about rolling through life with burdens on your mind, and then something happening – some unplanned event – that makes you stop in your tracks and look around. The video (which I posted at the end of the blog) makes that ‘unplanned event’ a car accident. This man sees this, sees the humanity that surrounds the event, and realizes things just might not be that bad after all. In other words, he wakes up.
Maybe that’s what happened there this morning? Maybe I started to wake up?
This woman was about one minute ahead of me on this road. That could have been me. It could have been anyone. It could have been you. And it could have ended so so differently. Everything could change. Just like that.
You know? Just like that.
Maybe it’s time to wake up?
“Hello world, how you been?
Good to see you, my old friend
Sometimes I feel as cold as steel
Broken like I’m never gonna heal
Then I see a light,
a little grace,
a little faith unfurl
– Lady Antebellum, “Hello World” lyrics
This gave me chills!!
Nice piece of writing. When we get close to the line between life and death, it brings a lot of life into sharper perspective.
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