Thursday, January 29, 2015

Me in a Bag: Mini Cooper

Last week, I posted something that I wrote as an example to read to my kids for the "Me in a Bag" assignment. You can find that first post here. This is the second one that I wrote and read to them.


The screeching of those tires is one of the sounds I will never forget for the rest of my life. It not only caused a physical impact on my life but a mental and spiritual one as well. I never would have thought that a car accident could have that much of an effect years later. 

On one mundane Sunday morning, my family and I were on our way to church waiting at the traffic light right after the Manhattan bridge. When the squealing sound first began, I immediately turned around to find the source of the noise. Once I realized that the work van behind us was not going to be able to stop itself from crashing into our minivan, I quickly faced forward and braced myself for the inevitable collision. We were hit so hard that we also rear-ended the car in front of us, which unfortunately meant that my back hit the seat twice. Because I was sitting in the third row, I was the only one who sustained injuries. 

The police officers and EMTs who arrived on the scene told me that the pain would get worse before it got better. I didn't fully grasp that concept until hours later when the adrenaline that was in my system protecting me from fully feeling the pain wore out. My parents took me to the hospital to confirm that it was "only" whiplash and nothing more life threatening.

For months after the accident, I was required to go to physical therapy. Lifting heavy objects was out of the question, but that was difficult to avoid considering I was a college student at the time. There were nights when falling asleep seemed almost impossible because I couldn't find a comfortable position that wouldn't put stress on my back. When I stood in front of a mirror, I could actually see that one shoulder was raised much higher than the other, and it was constantly sore. The only thing that entertained me throughout this whole ordeal was that for years after the accident, I was able to tell with 99% accuracy whether or not there would be any precipitation in the forecast. I was actually more precise than the weather reports because one particular spot near my spine would throb before it was set to rain or snow the next day.

However, the physical struggles after the accident were nothing compared to the mental struggles. While all of my friends in high school were eager to begin driver's ed, I never had the same burning desire to drive. I had actually waited until that year of college to take private lessons. In fact, I had recently completed a number of lessons with my instructor and had my road test scheduled a few short weeks after the incident by the bridge! Though the pain in my body was problematic, the anxiety about getting behind the wheel again was devastating. Though I was not the driver on that unforgettable Sunday morning, I was terrified that if I did drive, I might one day be in a car accident again or even worse, be the reason why someone else had to suffer through the pain and anguish I had experienced.

Thankfully, I was able to take my road test despite the difficulty I had in turning my neck when checking my surroundings. I passed with a perfect score and became a fully licensed driver. Once I got that paper indicating that I could legally operate a vehicle without another supervising licensed driver, I refused to sit behind the steering wheel again. The fear was crippling. 

No one in my life seemed to truly understand my predicament. It was exhausting hearing people tell me that the only thing I could do to overcome my fear was to get behind the wheel and deal with it. Unfortunately, each time I would try doing that, the panic that coursed through my veins was insufferable, and I was never able to turn on the ignition. Some people seemed to minimize my feelings, which made the issue even more challenging to face because half of me was convinced that I was overreacting while the other half of me was insistent that I was the only one who was being logical in this situation! The apprehension I had lasted years so even though I was a 22-year old adult when I got the job teaching here at Gateway Academy, I was still a kid in that I needed my mom to drive me to and from work.

One might think that the only option that I had that would help me conquer my trepidation was through God's help, and in reality, that's exactly what it took for me to get to where I am today! Among the discouragers who thought they were being encouraging, there were a few who let me be and didn't push me one way or the other. Instead, they quietly prayed that one day I would be able to shove the fear aside and get behind the wheel again, and that's exactly what happened. I can't pinpoint the exact day, but I woke up in the morning thinking, "I can drive now." If that's not divine intervention, I don't know what is!

There's no reasonable, worldly explanation as to why that occurred. When fellow Christians talk about how the Lord lifted burdens off their shoulders when they fully submitted to Him, I couldn't quite comprehend that notion myself, that is, until it happened to me. That screeching sound may always be a part of my memory and something I had wanted to desperately to forget, but now when I think about that ordinary church morning, I am reminded of God's awesome power and how He used it to provide a moving testimony for me.

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