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And last Tuesday, everything changed for us about 5:15 PM as we were coming out of our driveway onto the main highway we live on. My husband was driving. As usual he looked both ways, twice, but even so, just after we were into the first lane of traffic, we saw a pickup truck coming at us fast. Kosta stepped on the accelerator to get as far across as he could, which was fortunate, because when the pickup hit us, it only got the back end -- not the driver's door, as it might have. The pickup truck bounced after the impact and ran into an embankment a little past our mailbox, just missing the concrete retaining wall. Everyone walked away with a few aches and pains, but there was no blood and no broken body, and no one took the offered ambulance ride.
We believe God was looking out for us. As we saw the truck coming toward us, we knew in a flash we could not escape it. But there was also no panic -- just a calm acceptance that things were out of our control -- as we waited for the crash. The sound brought our neighbors across the driveway (our caring tenants) to the road, since they knew we had just driven off, and they were afraid we might be hurt. About twenty cars stopped to check on everyone. We had spun out into the middle of the road, but managed with effort to get to the shoulder. About three people called 911, but it took the officer about 15 minutes to get there, since three different people gave them three different locations. (We are between Old Creek Road and Vineyard Dr., but there are two Old Creek Roads that end into Highway 46, and they are in two different CHP districts.)
We are very grateful that no one was hurt. The officers said it was because we were all wearing seat belts. The body shop says things might have been different had we not been in a Volvo. But life still changed. First, we are down one car, which might be declared totaled by the insurance company if it costs too much to fix. So that will mean we need a new car. My husband is supposed to leave the country in September for a month, so getting a good car for me before he leaves is one more thing we need to do while he's making travel arrangements and we are making legal arrangements.
But the biggest change is the new feeling of vulnerability. My husband was almost in another accident of the same type driving home from the gym today. He began to question whether he might be losing his peripheral vision and might have to stop driving, and driving is an integral part of how he makes a living. He is getting his eyes checked next week.
I can identify with the vulnerable feeling he has. I felt that way after I saw my mother take a bad fall a few years ago. She was feeling good, and we'd just had lunch on our way to visit her sister in Long Beach. We were laughing and talking on the way back to the car and she tripped over the curb in front of the parking place and fell hard on the blacktop -- on her face. I saw her glasses fly off and the blood from her head and I panicked. Someone called 911. Our trip ended as the ambulance took her to emergency. Fortunately only her nose was broken and she needed a few stitches elsewhere, but every time I'm alone on the property I see that vision when I feel I'm about to trip, or if I actually do fall, which I sometimes do. I always know I can be one misstep from injury.
It's at times when we have close calls that we remember we are not indestructible. We remember that our health, our strength, our independence, or even our very lives could be gone in an instant. And, if not our own, perhaps that of someone we love. I remember when my life changed forever in an instant on August 27, 1991, when they told me my son Jason had been killed suddenly on a jet ski. We never know when our lives will change instantly. We only know that our God doesn't change, nor does his love for us. Our lives, day by day, are in his hands.
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