It took only a moment, a flash of time almost too small to notice or calculate. And yet in that blink of an eye, my life and the precious life of my grandson, nearly ended. It was my fault that Conner Jack would experience his first, and God willing, only car crash. The mental video has played over and over in my mind for several days now and my sleep has been interrupted with the nightmare that, by God’s grace, never unfolded. How could I have lived had Conner been injured or killed by my pulling out in front of an oncoming pickup truck? Had the young driver not been alert and manage to swerve and brake quick enough, the result could have been tragic. His fast reaction resulted in two damaged vehicles but no injuries.
There are so many times in life when seconds and inches mean the difference between life or death. Had our two vehicles arrived even one second sooner, the impact would have been squarely on Conner’s door and the result unthinkable. Instead the impact happened just beyond the place Conner sat in his car seat. Was it luck or was it something more?
God’s grace is profound. The very idea of undeserved forgiveness is life changing. Knowing that scripture declares nothing can tear us away from that grace, that God has cast our sins as far as the east is to the west, washed whiter than snow, forgotten and remembered no more, is so hard to believe that many refuse to accept such mercy. We must earn it, they suggest. We must be good, do good, please God in some way in order to be accepted. It all sounds good but it’s not true. We are incapable of goodness, at least the level of good that God could accept. We are simply helpless. And that is the only way I can find peace in understanding the driving mistake that nearly took my life and my grandsons. I was helpless. I made the mistake of turning in front of an oncoming truck and all I could do was brace for the impact. In that horrific moment, grace found us. On a narrow two lane highway in the county countryside, we were given life, love, forgiveness and grace. God found us helpless and we found God.
There are seconds in life that change us, that teach us by revealing to us a God who may seem hidden for much of our days and nights. We are so consumed with our problems and the mundane thoughts about our lives that we forget we are living. Conner and I are alive for reasons I don’t understand and though the horrific images and booming sound of our car wreck replays over and over in my thoughts, I can accept it now as a blessing, even thankful for the experience. As if God slapped me across the face to wake up and embrace life, embrace family, friends, even the very problems I am so consumed with. He has my attention.
After a sleepless first night following the accident, I went to see Conner. I prayed that there would be no lingering effects upon him. When I came through the door he was playing with his little brother, Thomas. He was laughing, running around like the little boy I knew him to be, the accident the farthest thing from his mind. Upon seeing me, he ran and gave me a hug. I squeezed him tight like I’ve done hundreds of times before. But this hug felt different. This hug was undeserved, perhaps unlikely to have happened considering what we had lived through. God had given Conner and I one more embrace and a long lifetime ahead to thank Him for it.