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In an Instant
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Last week I remembered that it has been one year since my husband had his motorcycle accident. After I heard a chaplain’s message on my cell phone, after I panicked and went numb, after I called my son, and then found my way to the hospital ER, I finally got to see my husband lying on a gurney. He appeared pale and vulnerable, wrapped in a hospital- issue blanket with an IV in his arm. One arm was very swollen and scraped raw. There was gunk around one ear and upon further inventory, one leg was also scraped. He was nauseated but alert. The only thing he could remember was changing lanes and the sensation of his bike starting to slide under him. He had no knowledge of where he landed, who called the ambulance or his ride to the hospital. I wanted to crawl up and lay beside him.

Our son and daughter-in-law arrived and offered their support. I called our daughter, Tim’s colleagues and some family members, asking for prayers. Finally, after hours of observations and a good MRI, the attending physician prescribed that Tim stay overnight and be re-checked in the morning. Reluctantly I kissed him good night while he waited for an available bed. 

I carried away his scraped helmet and leather jacket, plus a bag with his cut up pants and a messy shirt. As I walked into the house, and tried to go to bed that night, I was so overwhelmed by what “almost happened.” If, if, if, —I could have come home a widow. The end of our earthly relationship. Our bed felt so big that night while he stayed in the hospital. When I went to see him in the morning, I found him on the neurology ward. During my few hours with him there, we could hear some incoherent screaming and ranting coming from a room down the hall. I became aware that worse things could have happened besides his death—living with the shell of a man, or one whose brain damage would have left him with a changed personality, inability to work, or outbursts of rage or withdrawal.

Damage

So the damage amounted to a concussion, bruised arm and a totaled motorcycle—minus a pair of pants and a shirt. I couldn’t keep him at home for very long, drove him for a few days, and watched for signs of internal damage. He suffered from dizziness for about a month, and sometimes it seemed he was more forgetful. We joked about him using the accident as an excuse for lots of things. I made it very plain to him that I did not ever want to receive another motorcycle accident phone call. 

For weeks when I drove along the road where he had his accident, I kept wondering, “is that where he fell? Are those blacks marks from his accident?” I cringed when I saw men on motorcycles without jackets and helmets—resisting the urge to scream at them during traffic stoplights. 

I believe that my husband became much more committed to his relationship with God and myself after his accident. Good things do sometimes come out of bad. I’m thankful and aware of the fragility of our lives on this earth. In a second, everything can change. I also believe that God shares with us, that sense of an unfinished relationship when people are lost or damaged in accidents. It is He also, who longs for “more time to get closer, to make things right.” He knows that we live in an “accident waiting to happen,” and God hates those phone calls more than we will ever know.  

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By Karen Spruill, M.A. Copyright © 2010 by
GraceNotes. All rights reserved. Use of this material is subject to usage guidelines. Scripture taken from the NEW INTERNATIONAL VERSION ®.


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