Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Icy Fear

Thank you Lord for cushioning my family and me this morning. We really needed you and your strength. Thank you for the help of the people you sent to rescue us from our disaster. Thank you for letting each of us walk away from the car crash. The lingering aches and bruises are nothing major and will not last for long. Thank you for giving us our lives to carry on.

It happened in an instant. I was driving along, felt the car skid and eased off the gas. Then all was fine. Next thing I knew we were in a ditch on the driver's side of the car. I flipped our car this morning on a stretch of icy road. I was taking my brother to a job interview. My mom and my daughter Casey were also with me. I felt so helpless. I couldn't control it. It just did its thing and there we were. My mom and brother were hanging from the seatbelts. Casey was strapped in her seat. She had such a look of terror on her sweet face. My mom kept wanting me to release her seat belt. I knew that if I did, she would fall on top of me and get hurt worse.

Several truck drivers and other people stopped to help. I heard someone ask if we were all okay. Then someone said to turn the car off. Wasn't it already? It wasn't moving, we were on the ground. There was snow were my window should have been. They got the baby out through the back of the suv. Then Joel was pulled out. Mom was next and in typical Mom fashion, she made our rescuers laugh. When I got out, all I wanted was to hold my Casey. To see that she was alive and not hurt. I was afraid Mom and Joel were hurt too. I sat with my baby in the sherriff's car while he dug around for my i.d.

Soon Casey and I were in the ambulance. Her little back was hurting. I was so scared. I kept shaking and crying then, I remembered if I cry, Casey will cry. I had to be strong. The EMT, Randy, was so nice. He really kept me focused and he kept Casey calm. Casey didn't want to ride in the car seat in the ambulance. I can't say that I blame her. She had just "fallen" in hers. I know she just wanted me to hold her. On our way to the hospital, I told her princess story to help her get her mind off of being scared. It's a made up story about bubblegum trees and fairies. I also sang her song to her. The song I've sung to her from the day she was born. I can't put it on here, I only know the words when she is in need of comfort. She refused to take off my Mom's hat that I put on her while we were waiting to keep her warm. Where was hers?

The ride home from the hospital was a scary ride for me. I was not driving this time, but every time the tires hit slush I cringed. I cried. I held on. When the car turned, especially when it turned left, I felt us going over again.

We are very lucky. All 4 of us are alive and whole. There were no injuries. We are just battered and bruised. Bruises will heal and fear will recede, our precious lives are still ours to live. Thank you Jesus, thank you angels, thank you God.

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Anthony's Snow Day

Snow. Beautiful, sparkling, glistening snow. I like it best when it sparkles in the streetlight late at night. When it is pure and untouched. The Earth seems to fall silent and open her arms to catch it. I have never lived in area that didn’t get snow, and I don’t think I ever will. I would miss it terribly. This winter, my area has seen almost a hundred inches of the stuff. Not all at once, it has spread itself out over several months. The weatherman also said it isn’t done snowing.

We just had a blizzard this week. The wind rattled the window panes and blew the snow every which way it could. I was very much afraid that we would lose power. School was canceled, actually let out early the day of the storm, the county declared a state of emergency and my family and I stayed tucked in our cozy home.

Even though this was a big storm, nothing can compare to the winter I was 9. It snowed long and hard. It snowed for days. Then it snowed some more. I sat in class watching other students get picked up early in the hopes of beating the storm home. Not me. I sat there until the final bell rang. Then I walked home. Squeaking, crunching, shivering. It wasn’t a long walk; I lived four houses away from the school. But still, it was cold.

During that winter, one of the neighbors built the biggest snow fort ever. It was amazing! There were tunnels, rooms, a shelf to stock snowballs and so much more. Unsuspecting neighbor children most certainly got pelted with snowballs before scooping up snow themselves and bombarding us instigators with snowballs. Cold, clean, winter fun.
The school’s playground had so much snow on it the poor people elected to clear the snow (my father and another elder at the church) couldn’t keep it cleared. When they finally got it cleared, there were mountains of snow at least 8 feet high at the edges of the playground. This was the greatest thing ever. At recess, the children ran and played on these mountains.

Now one would think that by the time April rolled around, all of us would be sick and tired of the snow and cold. Nope. Not Anthony. He was my friend, a cute little boy that lived down the street on the next block. He and I sat in class one day that Spring trying to pay attention but not succeeding (we had to sit at the front of the class and I mean at the front, so Mr. Breunger could keep an eye on us. We were usually the ones caught retaliating when the other students picked on us).

“I don’t want to come to school tomorrow,” said Anthony. “I wish it would snow again.”
“Well,” I said, “isn’t your birthday tomorrow? You could pray and ask God for snow as your present. My mom did that once.”
“Would you pray too?’ he asked.

Anthony and I agreed to pray for snow. Enough snow to close school as his present from God for his birthday. In April. We got snow! Anthony got his present. School was closed for the umpteenth time that year and Anthony had a ball playing in the snow for his birthday. In April. All because 2 fourth graders prayed for it.

Years later Anthony was shot and killed in his nephew‘s car at a stoplight. An innocent victim of gang violence. He was home from college for the Holidays. I have never forgotten him and I think of him whenever my children wish for a snow day from school. When I tell them to pray and ask for it, I am thinking of Anthony and our prayers. Snow and snow days seem a little more special to me because of Anthony.