You Can Sit With Us

I only looked down for a second and there she was, stopped, her break lights lit up. I hit the break as hard as I could but my car plowed into the back of hers. Just a minute or so earlier, I had been praying. My hands were shaking, I was in shock. Was I now about to get cussed out for being so reckless? Why God? Why did you allow this to happen? I mean, I was just praying to you. It had been one of those weeks where everything around me seemed to be getting smaller but the problems loomed larger over me, following me to each destination like a dark, ominous cloud ready to reign down a terrible storm right into my fragile existence. I was fragile that week. I had received another rejection letter on my book, 20 Century Fox passed on it too.  My dad was in the hospital and it was serious. My mother was going off the deep end over it and I was trying to keep my head above water as I followed what appeared at times to be a crazy pipe dream. I questioned everything. Now this? Really?

We don’t understand why we have to go through difficult things but we do, we will.  Have you ever been around someone who just doesn’t want to get well? Life has knocked them down so much so that they just can’t get back up, so they live in that place of suffering. They linger there, refusing to do the work. Jesus said you will have trouble but our beings fight it, don’t want to recover from it and eventually give up on it.

Someone wise said to me, “Ask God what am I to learn from this?

I slowly got out of my car, terrified to look at the damage and made my way to her window. Suddenly she opened the driver door. “I’m so sorry.  Are you alright?” I said. “Yes, yes. Are you alright?” She takes me by the arms and has a look over. In the same manner a mother would look over her child that has just fallen from the monkey bars. I thought she may even dust me off. Dust off the debris from my hellish week. We walked to the back of her SUV and to the front of my car. The whole right side of my car is crushed. Her SUV has minimal damage. “We should call the police,” I say. “Are you hurt?” “No, are you?” “No. I don’t think we need to call the police.” “What?” ” I think you are shaken up enough as it is. I’m about to get a new car anyways. You don’t worry about me. I’m fine.” “I don’t understand? We need to file a report. There is damage to your car.” She takes me by the arms again, “It’s okay.” “But at least give me your number.” I say.  “Sure, I can do that.” She hands me her business card. “Can you drive your car,” she asks? “Yes. I think so.” She hugs me goodbye, gets back in her SUV and drives off like nothing ever happened.

Later that day I call my insurance company and file a claim. I give them her contact information. She never files a claim or piggybacks on mine. I didn’t understand it, couldn’t believe it but was beyond thankful for this kind stranger. The next day I drove my crushed car to the body shop for an estimate. The owner of the shop said, “Ugh, Audi’s are the worst to work on.” I stood there not knowing what to say. I felt guilty, even, like I just ruined his lovely day. “I’m going to have your car for at least three weeks.” In my mind, I started doing the math on a rental car and the deductible. My insurance paid a portion of the rental car but not all of it. “Okay.” Then, he looks at me and smiles for the first time since I brought my horrible car to him. “Do you have a rental car,” he asks? “Not yet but I will get one.” “Don’t bother getting a rental. You can drive one of ours for the time it takes me to put your car back together.” “How much,” I say? “Free of charge. ” And that small dent on the left side, I will repair that too.””How much,” I say? “Free of charge.”

What was happening?” This isn’t normal… or is it?

Remember how Jesus said you will have trouble? People will hurt you, you will suffer loss, things will fall apart for a time but then He says, “take heart for I have overcome the world.” There is a leaning in that we must do when troubles comes. Don’t run from it, run to God. His promise to us is, I will turn it for your good. Often we miss that part. I could have refused to look at what God was doing and solely focused on the accident but I leaned in. I asked God for his help and he delivered.

A couple of weeks later, trouble came knocking again. My dad died. On the way to the hospital the day before he passed, I asked God for strength. That sunny afternoon I sat in his room by myself while he was hooked up to all sorts of machines and tubes. He no longer looked like my father. He look like a shell of a man. It appeared he was already gone. I went to God for help, again. “What do I do? How is this going to happen? What about my mom?” Are we going to be okay?”  Mustering up the courage, I walked to my dad’s bedside. His eyes were rolled back, his breathing was shallow and his hands were like balloons. I gently placed my hand on top of his head and started quietly praying. Suddenly, he opened his eyes, wide and looked at me. Honestly, it freaked me out but something prevented me from fleeing his room.  I leaned in. ” I love you dad.” He nodded and then in a blink of an eye he was gone again. The next morning I picked my mother up and began preparing her for what was ahead. She was in denial. So I asked for help. She spent the day reminiscing by his bedside, holding his hand and telling their love stories. She met my dad on the same day he passed 53 years earlier. Early that evening we set up a vigil in his room and had the ventilator and all the machines keeping him alive, removed. It was the first time in a very long time where peace filled the atmosphere like never before. Something beautiful was taking place in a realm we could not visually see. It was as if angels were present, ready to usher my dad right into his eternal paradise.

Two months before my dad died, he had a dream he was standing on a roof. He said he looked down in the dream and thought my legs are working. My legs are working!

They sure are, dad. They sure are.

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