What an end I've had to my week.
This (not unlike the rest of the year) is a super busy time of year for us at the American Cancer Society as we work to tie up all the amazing work of our awesome Relay For Life volunteers and begin planning for 2014!
Its also a super sad time in Arkansas as our fearless leader (my boss) takes on a new job with ACS in Kentucky. To honor her, our state board hosted a reception in her honor on Thursday evening. So, our team came together on Wednesday and used the trip to have some necessary final conversations about transition.
She is an amzaing hostess and being at her home was like going away on a retreat. We had good food, great conversations, planned, dreamed, laughed and cried.
Thursday evening was even better - honoring and recognizing her amazing work in AR. One board member even said "when you came here, we were hurting and through your leadership, we have healed". What a statment to be said of someone. Have I mentioned that we LOVE her!
I decided to go ahead and head on back to Rogers after the reception and get home for several things I needed to do on Friday.
About 8:00 that all changed.
I was driving down I-40 headed towards Conway. There was a redneck, in a redneck truck, with a redneck load of items in the back of his truck, driving a good 10 mph under the limit. And, in the right lane was another slightly more redneck truck driving the same redneck speed in the right lane. A small red SUV was tailing the guy in the right lane so I gave him a little space. The right lane truck exited at the Mayflower exit and the little red guy took off. He cut off the truck in front of me to go around a car that was not driving as fast as he wanted it to in the right lane.
When the car cut off the guy in front of me, he slowed down and when he slowed down, the wind shifted and caught the pile of stuff in back of his truck that was not tied down (dont worry, there are several lessons learned here) and a giant something picked up and started flying at me. I will be honest. As soon as it flew out of the truck and started cming at me it looked like a giant piece of sheet metal. As it came closer and got into the light of my headlights, I realized it was a giant double baby stroller. But, that might have been imporant 3 nano seconds before.
I dodged it and when I did my car was not happy. I remember realizing my car was no longer in my control. I closed my eyes. I hit the guard rail on my left and when I did it all went crazy. (apparently I was doing some "acrobatics" according to the guy who was ehind me). When my car hit the ground I opened my eyes and all I saw was a poof of smoke everywhere and that my airbag had gone off. Honestly I thought "so, this is what this feels and looks like" and I'll be even more honest I thought "I should remember this moment" and then I thought "you are not coming out of this so it really doesnt matter". The next thing I remember is centrifical force pulling my body and closing my eyes again. When I came ouf of what I know now was a spin I remeber opening my eyes as I headed toward the tree line. Yes, at this point I had hit the wall, gone up in the air, come down, taken a full spin into traffic, spun out of it and crossed the right lane of traffic and was headed toward the tree line.
When I looked up and realized that I was headed toward the tree line, I remember thinking "you just survivde all that that and this is going to end by hitting a tree". So I told myself to start breaking so it wasnt had hard as it could be. I remember slowing down as I moved up towards the trees and then I didnt hit. But, I started rolling back. My next thought was "slam on your breaks so you dont roll backwards into traffic". And I stopped. I remember my shoulder hitting my seat - probably from my seat belt pulling me back. I took a deep breath and I remember thinking "you just breathed which means you are alive, so get out of this car".
So I threw my door open and grabbed my phone and got out of the car. There were people running towards me and I put my hands in the air and screamed "I'm alive". Then I started walking towards them. Adrenaline was pumping. I cant imagine what my face looked like but my next thought was the same words coming out of their mouth. "I"m glad you are ok, but you should not be alive".
My heart was beating so fast.
"I should not be alive". That's all I could keep thinking.
"I get it Lord". I was saved by not other means that His angles wrapping me up in that car.
I realize what a miracle it is to survive what I survived on Thursday.
I realize what a miracle it is that I spend as much time as I do on the road and nothing has ever happened.
I realize what a miracle it is that I've traveled for 9 years for work and nothing has ever happened.
I realize what a miracle every little details of the whole process invovles.
So, now what? Yea, I have some inconveneinces to deal with. But, you dont walk away from that without thinking about several things. The main one of which is why?
Why did this happen to me? Why did that stupid stroller fly out? Why did the guy not see anything and stop?
But the biggest one is why am I ok? Why did I only walk out of what I felt and what I've heard described with only an airbag rash on my right arm?
I will tell you this. I will live the rest of my days as a recipient of a miracle. After cancer and the staples I had to have in my head a month ago, I'm fully aware that I've already cashed in on some of my "9 lives".
So, I have to live better. Live beyond. Live inspite. Live despite. Live obedience. Live fully.
Live faithfully. Love deeply. Offer forgiveness. Seek repentance. Give freely.
Live differently. Live like a miracle.
May you never have to experience what I just went through. May you learn the lesson that I've gleaned in the last 48 hours.
Today, at this moment, be the best version of yourself. Its the only certain thing you have to offer the world.