“We may shine, we may shatter,
We may be picking up the pieces here on after,
We are fragile, we are human,
We are shaped by the light we let through us,
We break fast, cause we are glass.
Cause we are glass.”
It was one month ago to this day. Everything kind of shattered around me, like glass. No literally, the glass in my driver’s side window shattered as I hydroplaned into an 18 wheeler with my boyfriend, Jesse in the car on the way to celebrate my Grandfather’s 90th birthday.
I’ve been planning this blog for a while now, I’ve had a lot to say about it, but you see, my left hand was damaged in the wreck, so I haven’t been able to type until now.
In about 15 seconds, at 4:15 pm on a rainy, rainy Monday, my life began to look a little different. I moved over into the right lane because there was an 18 wheeler following me a little too close for my own comfort. A couple of feet later, we hit the patch of water. From there, I remember every second. I remember Jesse grabbing the wheel trying to hold it steady with me. I remember the realization that we couldn't control the car anymore. Control. We'll get to that. I remember him telling me what to do. Every second it was happening, I remember him directing me. But I don't remember my body moving. I remember feeling paralyzed, being afraid. I remember looking to my left to see a giant white truck coming closer. I remember closing my eyes on impact, and after countless flashbacks, I now remember the sounds of the crash, the sounds of the shattering glass, and the silence after that. I remember, most distinctly, the only thought in my head during the collision. "I love you, Jesus." I remember Jesse telling me to slowly apply the break and meander off of the road into the ditch, and I remember getting to the ditch and coming out of the state of frozenness to see my surroundings, to look at him and realize I was still alive.
He told me to stay calm, so I was…at first.
But then, I saw the blood..everywhere.
I saw blood falling from what I thought was my head. It was actually from my face.
He told me “I need you to be calm, Kathryn.”
But then I looked to my hand on the wheel, the one that was causing me pain.
And I saw the inside of it, flesh missing, and a LOT of blood.
I started to panic.
I asked if I was dying. He said no.
He told me to stay calm and to walk out of his side of the car, so I did.
I stayed as calm as I could.
Three people stopped to help me.
None of them were the driver of the 18-wheeler.
Three is my number. I've talked about it before. Three is like the Trinity. Father, Spirit, and Son. They were all there with me.
To the young man who stopped: Thank you for stopping. You knew there was nothing you could do. Nothing at all, but you got out of your car in the pouring rain to make sure we were alive, to make sure we were okay, and to call an ambulance. I couldn’t thank you then, and I will probably never see you again, but thank you for stopping. For caring. For loving a stranger enough to show the image of Jesus.
To the man who was a doctor that stopped: Thank you. Thank you so much. You called the paramedics. You described everything you saw. I can’t even thank you enough for that, you know? You did so much and you used your calling to do it. We needed you in that moment. We needed you to take that control and help us out, and you did. I am so gracious for that and for you.
To the woman who stopped: Thank you for watching what the doctors do at UAB. You told me you work there and you told me you aren’t a doctor, but that you observe what they do daily. I needed that confidence because you were the one who stood above me. You were the one who told me to lie down as I felt light headed. Who stood over me with an umbrella to keep me as much out of the rain as you could. You are the one who let me be in shock, as the only words I could say were “I’m so scared, am I dying? I am so, so scared.” You told me a story. You distracted me until the paramedics got there. Thank you, so very much.
The rest of that night was pretty much a blur. I was taken to the hospital in an ambulance, terrified to be on the road. I had an x-ray of my hand and chest. I had CT scans on my head, neck, and face. Then I was hooked up to some morphine, got stitches and Jesse and my family were there. I was covered in glass and soaking wet so they changed me to a gown. I heard that I might have to have surgery on my hand because my tendon was so cut up, but I didn’t really know much. Except for that I was okay.
Everyone was wondering why I was smiling.
It’s because we were alive. We had survived.
Have you ever faced your biggest fear?
I now have.
When I think back to the wreck and I remember that giant white thing I saw I was about to crash into, I now see angel wings. Because Jesus was protecting us. Oh, how he was protecting us.
You want to know how cool God is?
Ten minutes before the wreck I hit a patch of water and the wheel felt a little shaky. It was then that I asked Jess what to do if I hydroplaned. God was preparing me. Then we went through the accident, Jesse walked out with a tiny scratch on his knuckle. I walked out with a cut up hand and face. He protected us through that. If I had been any bigger, I would have been pinned inside the car.
I hate the what-ifs, though. They just make things bad.
God was ever present that day. He is every day.
I had three pieces of glass inside my hand, I found out. There’s that number again, Father, Spirit, Son. One piece to remind me that each of them was present. They always are.
My tendon was actually completely cut in half (they found this out when I went into surgery a week and a half or so later). They couldn’t find the end of it, so they didn’t fix it. They didn’t need to though, because the tendon that was severed is the one that has a sister tendon. Because God made two of them. How cool is that? My orthopedic has told me a lot about my injury. He said God made the hand so very forgiving. That’s some cool grace right there.
It’s my left hand, which means I will always have a giant scar on it. Which means when Jesse proposes to me, my ring pictures will look a little different. The hand won’t be so pretty, but that doesn’t matter, because we went through it together.
“our scars make us know that our past was for real”- Pride and Prejudice
Speaking of Jesse..
Thank you, Jesse, for holding me through this. For pulling me through this. I seriously wouldn't have made it through without you. I love you, I love you so so much. There are so many things that I could say to you about this, but that should be a whole different blog. So it will be. You have done so much for me, and I'm so blessed by you. You are such a light and vessel in my life for Jesus. Thank you for being with me through every second of this. For cleaning my hand, for literally being my second hand. Thank you for holding me as I cry, as I have anxiety, and as I take tiny baby steps to get through this. You are everything to me. You stepped into what I like to call "husband mode" in an instant, and you've had a lot of strength and patience with me. That's all I'm going to say for now, but stay tuned for a whole blog post on it!
anxiety is going to have it’s own post too, but let me tell you, that has been the hardest battle of them all. It’s taking a lot of courage, trust, and patience to get through it. There are flashbacks at a steady rate, driving in the rain is terrifying, and it took me a month to even be able to drive again. It’s been interesting, but God is good and He’s been pulling me through it.
I realized during that wreck that God's control is the perfect control. In those 15 seconds of total loss of control, I found out how beautiful it is to not have any ounce of control. I couldn't even try to have control, but God pulled us through, you know? There was so much peace and joy in that crash that I can't even begin to explain. God's control gave me so much grace (which is the name of my car that my parent's got for me, which will also be a whole blog in itself- the story of grace and the thankfulness I have for my parents).
The point of all of this, is that God is good. He is so good.
I look back at the wreck and see Jesus. I look at the scar on my left hand and see a story to use to spread God’s love, grace and mercy. I see a way to evangelize. I look at the only thought I had during the wreck and am joyful to know that in that moment, all I could think of was how much I love Jesus.
“Well you’ve come to bring life, to be light to shine brighter in us. Oh Emmanuel. God with us.”