As I began and continued writing this blog three years ago, I only measured how much it was being read by the comments that were posted. And oh, how my self-worth as a blogger was dependent on those comments. I was much like the teenage girls who check to see how many "likes" or followers they have on Instagram. It was only a week ago (yes, I am slow) that I discovered the Blogger Stats page on my dashboard. Oh, there are the real numbers. Well then.
And it was on that stats page that I realized more and more people are reading my Giving Thanks - Part 1 post. That was my very last post in 2011 - with no Part 2! I had promised to tell of "...how God's hand was such a part of those few days from October 4th through the 7th. Days that could possibly only be described by someone as a nightmare. Yet there were so many glimpses of His presence, His Holy Spirit moving among us, His unexpected - and unexplained - gifts and blessing."
And I fell short and broke my promise. (Now this post is pretty graphic, but I feel it needs to be told so that you can understand the magnitude of how I feel the glimpses of God were so evident.)
After my father-in-law's funeral on October 7, 2011, my parents, grandmother and two sons left for my parents' home a little over an hour away. My husband and I waved goodbye and went back to his mother's to decompress. Around an hour later, we received a call from my brother-in-law that there had been a terrible one-car accident. A tire had blown and my parents' SUV had flipped three times.
Herein lies the first blessing. My sister and brother-in-law had left the funeral before my parents. They stopped at a convenience store and, therefore, ended up behind them and drove up on the wreck site. They were the first on the scene. Somehow, Sumter was able to get out of his seatbelt and crawl out of one of the broken windows. They saw him standing on the side of the interstate beside the overturned SUV. My sister was immediately able to comfort Sumter as well as assess the situation. (She works as a physical therapist in the trauma unit.). Do I believe God had a hand in them being the first on the scene? Absolutely, I do.
But no such luck for Jackson. He was still trapped inside, eyes squeezed shut to block out the blood-soaked view of my mother, but not the sound of the moans of both my parents. My grandmother was halfway thrown from the vehicle and her leg was on his shoulder. His seatbelt was stuck and he couldn't get out.
But herein lies the second blessing. Jackson tells us that he didn't get out by himself. He says an African-American man with dreadlocks and a Yankees baseball cap came up to the SUV and asked, "Hey, buddy. Can you get out?" (This was a man he says he saw just moments before the accident in a green car. He says the man smiled and waved to him as he drove by.) Jackson told him that he couldn't. The man got box cutters, cut the seatbelt and helped him climb out. Jackson swears this happened. He can describe the man and his voice. But no one else saw or talked to this man. We've asked my sister and brother-in-law. We've asked other witnesses. We've asked the highway patrol. We've even seen photos. There were no African-Americans in any of the photographs. No green car anywhere near the site. That's crazy, we thought. This was a wreck that made the AP news wire and was even on the evening news in other parts of the country. This was a wreck that held up traffic for many miles and hours. No one just leaves the scene of a wreck of that magnitude. No one... but an angel. And we hold on to that truth. Do I believe God had a hand in that deadlocked angel in a Yankees cap? Absolutely, I do.
Both of my parents were airlifted to the trauma center where my sister works. Sumter and Jackson were both banged up pretty badly and were taken to the same hospital, but they were ok. I found this out from my brother-in-law's phone call. But as many times I asked, he wouldn't say anything about my grandmother. I don't know whether it was because he didn't want to tell me on the phone or because he alone had just witnessed her last moments alive.
And herein lies the last blessing I will share. My sweet Muz was not wearing a seatbelt and was thrown halfway out of the SUV. I still don't know all of the details of how she was found by my brother-in-law in relation to the vehicle. I'm not sure I want to know. What I do know is that she was pinned. She was breathing. Her eyes were closed. Her body was in shock. But her last moments were with my brother-in-law holding her head and praying over her. And then she died. How beautiful is that? After something so violent and sudden, to have your granddaughter's husband, a Godly, faithful man who loves you and you love back, usher you out of your life on here on earth to your eternal life in heaven. Do I believe God had a hand in that? Absolutely, I do.
So there they are. The glimpses of God and His involvement in even the most tragic circumstances in our lives. The reminders that He is in control. The promises that He will bless even the most painful and incomprehensible times. And for these I am grateful.