Cyclical Existence

Three weeks ago I got in a car accident. I was completely stationary on the freeway, getting on to another ramp that was backed up. Someone hit me from behind. Police estimate he was going 60 mph. 

I haven't really known how to share it - or really anything since then. It's still difficult for me to talk about it. I went to the hospital by ambulance and, after several tests and x-rays I was sent home. It really was a miracle. I spent almost a week in bed. People asked what it felt like and all I could say was, "It felt like someone ran over me with their car." Because that's kind of what happened. I was more bruised and swollen and hurt than I had ever been because of a stranger's mistake.

But there were kind people who helped. The woman who came to my door right after I was hit. I had just regained consciousness and I thought I was dying - to be more specific, I thought I was suffocating to death. The impact along with the airbags and my unconsciousness made me hyperventilate. I thought I would die alone on the side of the freeway until she came to me. She reassured me. She called my dad, his was the only number I could remember. I don't even know her name, but I will love her forever. The paramedic in the ambulance with me told me jokes and called my husband. He told the doctors that awaited my arrival in the hospital that I was a "Cool patient," and came back later to check on me after bringing in another a few hours later. The nurse who took care of me was named Jessica. I cried, out of pain but mostly fear and told her that is my sister's name. She responded with, "It's a good name," gripping my hand. 

Our friend Chris brought Kev to the hospital and waited with us all night, dropping everything else he may have needed to do. Kevin took time off school to help me with basic needs like sitting up in bed, and monitoring my medications. My parents came to take care of me, so that he could return to his studies. Over the following days and weeks I have received meals, visits, flowers, cards, prayers from so many people. I feel like I don't have the grace to sincerely thank everyone who made this traumatic experience bearable.

My heart has been broken by the tragedies this past week in Boston and Texas. I share this personal experience not to receive more support, but to reaffirm that people are good. It is easy to get cynical about the world we live in, but I know that there is still more good than there is bad. For the most part, we are a kind people. Even as strangers, we lend a hand to those who are suffering. We may not be perfect in our dealings with one another, and occasionally we make mistakes but those faults do not diminish our humanity.

There is still suffering left to be had. But if I have learned anything from this experience, it is that God is watching over us and that we have got to do His work by helping each other. We never know the burden another is bearing, or the pain of loss they might experience. Sometimes we are the ones that need service but more often we are the ones who must give it. That is the beautiful, cyclical nature of this existence of ours. And more than ever, I am grateful to be a part of it.


drewandlacey said...

Love this mands! and love you :)

Amanda said...

So glad you are now on the mend. I have seen the Mr. Rogers quote in relation to the Boston marathon and it really relates to your situation as well:

"When I was a boy and I would see scary things in the news, my mother would say to me, "Look for the helpers. You will always find people who are helping." To this day, especially in times of "disaster," I remember my mother's words and I am always comforted by realizing that there are still so many helpers – so many caring people in this world."

Thinking of you!

Mallory Camille said...

Thank you for sharing this Mandy. Traumatic experiences shake us out of the continuity and they never really leave our hearts, they remain like thumping reminders that at any moment things can change. I have to remind myself continually not to be afraid but to have more faith, more peace. I used to analyze these experiences deeply, wondering what God was trying to teach me, and sometimes the answer was simply, empathy. And that has always been enough.

Laura said...

What?! I feel like a bad friend for not even knowing! I am glad you are alright and that you are recovering. Good thing your husband is in Med school, right? :) I love you and will keep you in my prayers.

Kelsie said...

Mandy this post was so beautifully written. I am so sorry about your accident! If you weren't so far away I'd want to bring you all the sweets I could. Hope you're feeling better! xx

Andrea Smith said...
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andrea said...

Oh my scary! I got into an accident once three years ago and it still haunts me. I always have visions of it happening again. I am glad you are alright!