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Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Why my house isn't perfect

Does that sound funny? I don't mean that I don't LIKE my house, what I mean is that my house isn't in perfect order all of the time. I'm an organizer by nature. Okay, anal would be a good word for my need to be in control. However, sometimes there are messes. Most of the time there's a little clutter. WHAT?!? In the organization queen's house? Really? Here's why:

I lived my way through college with my room in perfection. I got out of bed, turned around, and made it right then and there. My bathroom was always spotless. The clothes in my closet looked like they were on a rounder or wall in a retail store. Organized by type of clothing, then by season, then by color. The sleeves were "sleeved", if you've ever worked retail. The pants were hung with the creases in the proper places. You could have eaten off of my floor.

And then God taught me, through several trials, that I was NOT in control and there is more to life than trying to be perfect.

Oh boy, are you ready? Be sure to put on your seatbelts and grab a box of tissues cuz these next few stories are doozies.

When I was in graduate school, I took a summer job running the infirmary at a Christian camp and conference center. It's where I met The Rev, but that is another story! We didn't make much money (okay, next to nothing!) so when we were offered weekend work, we jumped on it! One weekend I was offered the opportunity to be a server at a wedding in the local town. There were 5 of us girls that were going to do this, so we hopped in the car together and took off. None of us REALLY knew where we were going, we just knew the town and had a general idea. After about 10 minutes (it should have take us about 5 minutes to get there) we realized that we had probably passed the church. Now, we were on a 2 lane highway that ran through town, but this was a SMALL town and the speed limit was 70mph. Our driver decided to make a quick u-turn and pulled over onto the right shoulder. I was sitting right behind her and realized as she yanked the wheel that she hadn't looked over her left shoulder to see if anyone was coming up behind us. What I didn't see, because we were just before the crest of a hill, was that there was a large sedan coming over the crest of the hill. The other girls must have seen it because there were sudden screams and then a huge impact as the sedan t-boned us in the middle of the highway. Our driver's hip broke on the impact so she never took her foot off the accelerator and we headed off the road for a ditch and a grove of trees. I saw the ditch and KNEW we were going to flip. None of us in the back seat were wearing seat belts so I threw myself between the driver's seat and the back seat and held on. We didn't flip, but we hit the grove of trees and came to a sudden stop.

I wish I could say that the story ended there. But, after I got out and the other 2 girls in the back seat got out, I realized that our driver was seriously hurt, and my friend who was the front passenger was unconscious and laying across our driver. Remember, I'm a trained EMT and ran an infirmary, so I immediately jumped into survival mode. I opened the front door and tried to get the my friend's neck stabilized and checked to see if she was breathing. I felt a pulse, I thought, but couldn't see if she was breathing. I asked someone who had stopped to help if they could tell and they went around the car to check. The response was, "I think so" and I had to go with it. I couldn't get her out and I really couldn't get her where I could administer breaths or compressions if she needed it. By now I could feel that her neck was broken.

A young man came running up and asked if he could help. My first words were, please, please pray. He told me that his father was a minister and he was in the car, so he ran to get him. His father came over and layed hands on everyone and prayed the prayer that I couldn't manage at that moment. "Lord, please be with these girls. Help them through this ordeal. And IF IT IS YOUR WILL, please heal them and let them walk away from this accident." Now, those weren't the exact words, but close enough to what I remember.

By now the EMS had arrived and I had heard them call for life-flight. As the camp director and his wife arrived, I heard someone say to cancel life flight. Right then, I knew. I looked at the director's wife and asked what she knew, and she told me that my friend had not made it. I lost it. For about 10 seconds I sobbed the deepest sobs, and then they just dried up.

I was taken to the hospital and checked out (my back had been hurt pretty bad and I was bruised and cut all over), and was then allowed to leave.

Several weeks later, I was on a canoe trip with a group of kids from the camp. There were 3 other counselors there and we were several hours away. We spent an amazing several days, and on our last day on the river we just gave it all we had. One of the other counselors and I had to leave the kids and 2 of the counselors to go pick up our van from the starting point on the river. We left and got on the highway and immediately noticed the traffic was backing up. We looked up and saw that a head-on collision between a pick-up truck and an SUV had JUST happened. Cars were lining up on the side of the road, but no one was getting out to help. We both grabbed our first aid kits and ran down the highway. I won't give all of the details, but both drivers ended up passing away after all. The other counselor picked up a giant book that had been thrown from the SUV and opened it up. It was an enormous day planner. Over a foot tall and about 4 inches thick. I'd never seen anything so big for a calendar! Right then and there it struck me that the young lady had planned her life for the next year or two, but it was never to happen. I wasn't angry, what hit me was that God didn't PROMISE us tomorrow. He promised to be here with us during our life on Earth, and then in Heaven if we are believers, but He never told us we'd for sure have another day.

When I was 6 months pregnant with JMonster, my Dad passed away. He had been sick for some time, but his death was still a shock. I think it always is. The difficult thing about his passing was that from the time I was in kindergarten, my Dad had been afraid to LIVE. He had a heart attack that year, and from that point on he lived in perpetual fear of dying. So much so that he hindered his ability to squeeze life out of every situation.

When Jmonster was 16 months old, our neighbor's 3 year old died from complications of heart surgery. He was born with a heart defect, but he lived life with such intensity that you would never know that he was "sick". The only sign I ever really saw were his adorable little feet, which would stay purple because of his poor circulation. Soon after he passed, JMonster started asking for us to snuggle before putting him down. Hmmmm, clean the kitchen from dinner or snuggle with my boy. A no brainer! And I didn't even feel guilty because it hit home that not everyone gets that chance.

Over the years I've used these lessons to remember what is important. Family is important. Friends are important. LIFE is important.

But having a clean kitchen? That's just icing on the cake.

(And now my house is the biggest mess of all as we prepare to give it up so we can move closer to family. Would I do it over? You betcha. It may take several attempts, but this girl knows when to learn her lesson.)


Baloney said...

Oh Swizz. That's just awful.
Losing people really does give us a perspective on life, though, doesn't it.

Kim said...

Wow! Can't believe you went through all of that! Makes you appreciate the things in life that are really important.

PJ said...

It's great that you keep such a good attitude towards God and life after many such ordeals -- I know He's proud of the lessons you are learning; isn't that what He wants for all of us?

Johnny said...

Thanks for sharing! Love you ...

Lil Sis said...

I love you and thank you for this today. I needed your words.