My beloved and precious daughter was involved in a car accident last Saturday - or in North Carolina/NASCAR language - she had a wreck. While making a left hand turn in our beloved 2001 Toyota Sienna minivan, she was struck on the rear passenger side panel. The minivan spun around and then flipped over onto its roof.
Here's where the gratitude comes in.
1. She was wearing her seatbelt. When the car landed on its roof, she was held in her seat by the seatbelt. She braced herself with one arm and released the seatbelt with the other. She fell onto the ceiling of the car.
2. A man who saw the accident jumped out of his car and ran to the driver's side door. He asked if she was okay and what he could do to help. She said, "Call my mom." Worst phone call of my life: "Your daughter has been in a car accident. She's okay. But she has been in an accident."
3. Two other men joined him almost immediately. They asked her if she would be able to crawl out of the car if they could get the door open. She said, "Yes." After opening the door, one of the men told her to wait a minute because there was a lot of broken glass. He pulled one of the floor mats out the broken window and laid it on top of the glass. She crawled to safety.
4. I arrived at the intersection just moments later as I was literally two blocks away when I got the call. I am enormously grateful that I saw her sitting at the side of the road before I saw the car on its roof.
5. Two women were standing hear Kristiana. They introduced themselves to me as a mother and daughter who had seen the accident and pulled over to stay with my daughter until help came. The mother hugged me and said, "My daughter is 21 too and I would want someone to stay with me. I was just telling your daughter that God must have a plan for her life and that's why she came through this accident like this." More than once, she looked at Kristiana and reminded her of God's faithfulness in protecting her. Needless to say, I cried at her words.
6. The driver of the car that hit Kristiana was unhurt as well. In fact, her car was driveable after the accident, suffering only damage to the the left side of the front fender. Kristiana said that it didn't even look like the two vehicles were in the same accident. She was right.
7. During the accident, Kristiana's glasses flew off her face. One of the men looked into the crushed car and saw her glasses among the debris. He retrieved them for her. They weren't even scratched.
8. Several shards of glass embedded them in her forehead, upper right arm and lower right leg. In the hospital ER a few minutes later, the nurses cleaned the glass off, shaking their heads at how minor her injuries were. No broken bones. No stitches. No crutches. No loss of consciousness. She didn't even need a band-aid. Not even a single band-aid.
9. By the time I arrived on the scene, the man who had called me was gone. I was convinced that he was an angel God put on the scene to come to her aid and then head off for his next miraculous intervention. A couple of hours later, he called me back to check on her. He said he was sorry that he had to leave before I had gotten there, but he was already running late on his way to work. He said he had been on the phone with his pastor when he saw the accident. He told his pastor what he had seen and that he was stopping to help. After calling me, he called his wife and told her what had happened and said that the two of them and the pastor were praying for my daughter. Amazing!
10. Today she had a visit with our chiropractor and what we knew was confirmed - no concussion. no broken bones. no slipped or compressed discs in her spine.
11. One thing did give me a chuckle at the accident scene - and it also made me quite proud of my dear daughter. While sitting there with ambulance attendants, firemen, and police officers around her, Kristiana said, "Mom, I had CDs from the library in the car. Can you make sure to get them?" Yes, my daughter was thinking about what she owed to the library while sitting beside her overturned car. A geek after my own heart.
12. I am grateful for the strong frame of that minivan. I am grateful for seat belts and safety glass. I am grateful for the 14 years and 140,000 miles that it gave us. My husband said, "The van served us well for all those years and then it gave its life to save our daughter. We can't ask for more than that." Needless to say, I cried again when he said that. Several times since Saturday, I have gotten choked up when I remember that I will never see the van again, but I would much rather see my daughter than that car. Who knew that a vehicle could feel so much like a member of the family?
13. I am grateful for auto insurance and for how responsive, attentive, and thorough Met Life has been.
14. I am grateful for the very quick response of the emergency workers on the scene.
15. I am grateful that she is in her bedroom right now, packing to go back to college on Saturday for her final semester of college. My girl is graduating from college in December! I have a child who will soon be a college graduate.
16. I am grateful for the support, the texts, the phone calls, the emails, the visits, and the prayers of our friends and church members and pastors and family as we have dealt with this aftermath of the accident.
17. I am grateful for tears and prayer and the safe haven of my journal, and above all, for God's tender, gentle presence through this whole experience. I am grateful for the promises of rest and peace and strength and victory. I am grateful for hope and a future.
Grateful, grateful, grateful, grateful.