We then drove to Linn City Pub, the location we never arrived at on that beautiful crisp January 9, 2015 evening when we were hit by that SUV and thrown into the air landing 30 feet away and knocked unconscious.
The emotions have been especially strong for the past several weeks as this one-year anniversary of the accident has been approaching. Just a few nights ago, my husband was praying at the dinner table with our family, offering thanks for the meal before us and the day of remembrance ahead of us.
“Lord, thank you for this day, for this meal before us, for our family. And, dear heavenly father, as we approach the year anniversary of our accident, thank you for saving us.”
And as he prayed these words of gratefulness, I got all teary-eyed thinking about the accident, though I have no memory of it. I was unconscious for over 30 minutes. My friend Shelley gave me a card this week to mark the anniversary of the accident. She said she couldn’t find an angel card but the card she found had an angelic feeling to it. In the card she said, “So many blessings and angels have come into your life.” Angels. Again, tears.
As I have been reflecting on that day a year ago, January 9, 2015, I have been getting really emotional. I sobbed the last two weeks at church, especially during the singing time. My therapist has been asking me why I am so emotional, and I do not know why. I just am.
I think it’s because I am just so very grateful to be alive.
As I’ve been re-reading the words that people wrote in the journal that our friend Shannon brought me to the hospital after the accident, I begin sobbing.
Individual messages, words, thoughts, prayers, sentiments.
Shannon dedicated the first pages with the following scripture: “He who dwells in the shelter of the most high, will rest in the shadow of the Almighty. I will say of the Lord, He is my refuge and my fortress, my God in whom I trust. Surely he will save you from the fowler’s snare, and from the deadly pestilence. He will cover you with his feathers and under his wings you will find refuge; his faithfulness will be your shield.” — Psalm 91: 1-4
“Cornelia and Chris- You are not in this alone. Legions of his angels are at work around you. Not to mention a multitude of friends and family. Praising God for your precious lives. Love Shannon”
Then, other messages:
“Dear Chris and Cornelia, I praise our Almighty Heavenly Father you two beautiful people on the evening of Friday, January 9, 2015. Life would not be as bright and joyful without you in it …We love you so much. Praying for a speedy, full recovery for you both. –Forever your family, Kristi and Bill.”
“Angels were with you. — Ariana and Joe”
And, “I am so grateful that the Lord protected you during this accident. When you hear that someone has been hit by a car, your mind races with the imagination of the potential trauma that could happen. It reminds me of the song by Laura Story, ‘Blessings in disguise.’ I pray that He will use this scary experience to draw us closer to him and to show others his mercy and love in your lives in times like this. I love you both so much and hope recovery will be smooth but also that the Lord will also show you his love and any lessons he may want to show you through this. — Kiersten”
There are so many notes and so much love and support that I weep with humble gratitude. Lessons, oh lessons, as Kiersten wondered about. Why oh why did God save us? After I was home, my friend Kristi just kept weeping with me and said, “You don’t get hit by a suburban and survive. You should be six-feet under. You should be in a morgue. Your kids would be orphans.”
Angels. Angels. God sent his angels that day, a year ago, as I write this post.
The passage in Psalm 91, written in my journal by Shannon, continues like this:
“For He will give His angels charge concerning you,
To guard you in all your ways.
They will bear you up in their hands,
That you do not strike your foot against a stone.” (Psalm 91: 11-12)
Why do I cry today and the weeks and really months before this year anniversary day? I am just so very thankful to be alive. Each day is a gift. I’ve been waking up every day since the accident and dropping to my knees, saying, “Thank you Lord God for saving me. Show me why you saved me, Lord Jesus.” I do the same in the evening.
Some people have said to me, “I’m sorry that this accident had to happen to you and Chris,” and I know they mean well and I know they are just sorry it happened and it has been an incredibly hard year and it continues to be hard and our lives will forever be altered because of the accident.
And yet, it happened, and as Kiersten pondered, “What lessons can be learned?” I am not bitter at all, but 100 percent grateful to be here. I get to be with my kids, my family, my community.
As my friend Kristi then later shared in person, “When you get hit by a car like that you die…you can talk all you want, saying, ‘Every day is a gift,’ but you know, just think…God saved you, it was not luck. How will this accident change you?’
It’s so easy to go back to a pattern, to take each day for granted, to think we have forever, to not think of our lives as vapors, moments, puff, then they are gone; we forget times like our accident, that remind us how brief our lives really are.
That is why I think it is important to remember the anniversary of certain days; some friends have asked us, why we would celebrate the year anniversary of the accident as it is not a happy time. Nope, it was not. Getting struck by a Yukon while walking is nothing to celebrate. But, we celebrate being saved, being rescued, being delivered. Yes, we were injured and are have been dealing with the consequences for this entire year and we continue to seek treatment for the injuries sustained. Yet, we are alive. God sent his angels to pad that road for us.
And, we gathered our family tonight, to return to the accident scene, and then to the restaurant we were walking to — Linn City Pub — as a way to remember God’s goodness. He is so good to spare us. Interestingly, God also has a sense of humor. When we pulled into the McDonald’s parking lot, there was a Yukon, SUV, but it was white. Yet, that didn’t stop my 12-year-old from joking: “He came back to finish you off.” Okay, sometimes you have to laugh.
We do take time for seriousness as well. Chris prays, thanking God for sparing us, and thanking God for the incredible support of family and friends and our community. I get teary eyed again.
“Here I am Lord. Here we are Lord. Here for You, oh God. Here for our children. Here for our community. Here for our world. Your world. Your purpose.”
Show us the way, is our prayer to our Lord Jesus.
Why did you spare us, Oh Lord? Is it to rest in You more? Is it to grow closer together? Is it to show others the mercy of God? Is it to do what I am called to do, what my friend Brooke reminded me that I am called to do: To write.
Because an hour before our accident I wrote a blog post that I titled, “Having a Mary Mindset in a Martha World“ in which I talked about appreciating life and that each day is a gift, “because we do not know how long we have on this earth.” I hit publish an hour before the accident, friends. If that is not a call on my life to write, I do not know what is.
Indeed, each day is new day. A gift! And, I am alive, and I am loved and I am thankful, as the mug that my friend Leah gave me says. That is not a cliché. As Brooke profoundly said, “Clichés are good. There is so much truth in them. They express so much that is true.
Every day is a gift.
Give thanks for each day.
Your life matters.
Since the accident, I’ve been hash tagging #gratefulforeachnewday and #everydayisagift and #GodisAlwaysGood
Because it’s true.
Everyday IS a gift. Celebrate life! We are given this one chance at life. And, Chris and I were given a second chance.
What lessons have we learned? Or re-learned. Or been reminded of:
Live each day with purpose. For a reason. For God. God created you that way. He loves you so much. He loves me so much.
Each morning, each evening, will you pray with me: “Here I am Lord, thank you for saving me. Show me why you saved me. I am here.”
Amen and Amen.