The Meeting of a Man

It was a typical spring day in Virginia.  The May sun was shining and the sky was a cloudless blue.  It was the kind of day when our biggest worries were about shuttling kids to sporting events and having them where they needed to be on time.  Our dear friends from California had come into town, and we sat, sipping coffee, reminiscing about our children growing too fast, our old neighborhood in California and how we wished our wonderful weekend visit with them didn’t have to end so soon.  As it always does, though, the clock continued to tick, and we soon realized that our lazy spring morning had to come to an end.   My husband, Lance, and I began the usual discussion about who would take whom where and when, and how sporting equipment would be delivered to children strewn about the neighborhood at various sleepovers.  Our friends began to pack, and our bantering turned to decision-making.   Lance decided he would take our friends to the airport and take our oldest daughter, Brigette, to her soccer game later that day.  It was my task to take paintball equipment to our son, Andrew, and to deliver soccer equipment to Brigette prior to her game.  As was usually the case, our youngest, Olivia, would tag along with me, ever the good sport about the many needs of her older siblings.

After finishing up at the sporting goods store, Olivia and I headed west to drop off the paintball supplies.  Although I was somewhat familiar with the road that took me toward Andrew’s friend’s home, I had not travelled in that direction since our return from California.  So, I was enjoying the scenery from a new vantage point, windows down, taking in the smells that were carried along in the fresh spring air.  Enjoying the hills, bends and curves of the country road. As I drove closer to town, I became a bit confused about which way I should turn, and I soon realized that I was on an unfamiliar stretch of road.  Glancing around for the directions I had written, I saw the piece of paper on the passenger’s seat.  After checking the road ahead and in the mirror behind me, seeing nothing, I reached for the paper and checked the directions.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “nano second?”  Well, that’s what it seemed like. I had barely even looked at the directions when I felt what seemed like a big boom.  I immediately thought that I had drifted to the side of the road and hit a road sign.  If only that had been the case.  Instead, a man, followed by his bicycle, literally flew over the passenger side of my car. He came out of nowhere!  My heart stopped, and my mind seemed to explode with fear and worry.  “I hit a man!  I hit a man!” I screamed.  I put the car in park, ran around to the side of the car and found him, lying on the ground, in a pool of his own blood, gasping for air.  I knew I shouldn’t touch him, but the urge to help was beyond reason. I grabbed my phone as quickly as I could and dialed 9-1-1.  I started waving my arm, frantically, trying to flag down any person or driver that might see me.  Finally, a car arrived, and then another, stopping to try as best as they could to help.  “He came out of nowhere!” I cried, trying to focus on the people who had stopped at the scene.  When they asked what they could do to help, all I could tell them was to pray.  “Please,” I said, “Get down on your knees and pray with me.”  Waiting for the ambulance seemed to take forever, although I knew that the fire station was only a mile or two down the road.  I was in shock and hysterical.  The bleeding was more than I could have ever imagined.

In the minutes that followed, I was somehow able to dial Lance’s number, but speaking to him seemed impossible.  I could only sob into the phone, and he could not understand what I was saying.  I could tell that he took me off of speaker phone, and I realized that he did that to keep my daughter Brigette, who was riding with him in his car, from hearing my desperate call.  I remember him telling Brigette that I had hit a deer, obviously to keep her from getting too upset.  He told me that he would drop Brigette off at her soccer game and get to me as soon as he could.  As I tried to process all that he said, I realized that Olivia remained in the back seat of my car, alone, and probably terrified.  I called out to the group of people who had gathered and told them that my daughter was still in the car, and a young girl was kind enough to climb into the backseat with Olivia and sit with her during the chaos.

When the ambulance and state troopers finally arrived, they found me on the side of the road, literally on my knees in prayer.  I was screaming out to God asking him, “What have I done? Dear Heavenly Father please help this man and heal him.”   Police cars, EMTs, passenger cars, and people moved in and out of view, in a state which seemed utterly confusing to me.  The officer instructed me to calm down so that he could speak to me and begin to gather information about the accident.  Rescue workers that arrived seemed to be searching the area around the cyclist, and I realized that they were looking for anything that might have flown off of him during the collision.  As they continued to look for his helmet, shoes, and other missing items, I heard the loud whir of the medical helicopter in the distance.  The sound seemed out-of-place, almost like a dryer that had been knocked off kilter by something far too heavy.  It is strange how the brain tries to search for something recognizable in a situation that seems so surreal.

The state trooper took me a few steps away from the crowd where we were all on our knees praying and began to question me about the events surrounding the accident.  I told him everything that I could remember, I told him that the man seemed to come out of nowhere.   Just then, the man I loved, my wonderful Lance, arrived at the scene.  Despite the horror of what had happened, I remember the overwhelming sense of relief that I felt when I saw him.  His eyes filled with tears and he said, “I am so sorry.  I wish it was me.”  While his statement made me love him even more that I could have imagined, it also made me realize something deep in my soul.  Whatever had happened that day was supposed to have happened to me.  It was my cross to bear.  I hugged Lance tightly, and then Lance began to take over.  All that was left for me to do was to pray.

And so began the ride of my life….

“How long, Lord? Will you forget me forever?  How long will you hide your face from me?
 How long must I wrestle with my thoughts and day after day have sorrow in my heart? How long will my enemy triumph over me?  Look on me and answer, Lord my God. Give light to my eyes, or I will sleep in death, and my enemy will say, “I have overcome him,” and my foes will rejoice when I fall.  But I trust in your unfailing love; my heart rejoices in your salvation.  I will sing the Lord’s praise, for he has been good to me.”  Psalms 13:1-6

“He will wipe every tear from their eyes. There will be no more death or mourning or crying or pain, for the old order of things has passed away.” Revelations 21:4