Last night, I tossed my family a curveball. As we were eating dinner I told them that afterwards the boys were going to take an early bath, get in their PJ’s, and we were going to head to Sonic for milkshakes.
Earlier in the day we had received the final portion of the advance for The Race, following the completion and editing of the manuscript. So to celebrate? Sonic shakes as a family.
As we were getting into our van and opening the garage door we heard what sounded like a horrendous crash.
The sound was as if it was in our driveway, but as the door opened we saw nothing, so we went on as planned. We backed out of the driveway and drove towards the front of our subdivision.
As soon as we pulled out of the driveway, we could see a chaotic scene in front of us. We pushed forward. Since we are at the very front of Whispering Woods subdivision, we pulled onto the scene about one minute from the time we heard the impact.
I have stopped to help in several pretty severe civilian accidents through my lifetime, but what was in front of us was unreal.
I immediately jumped out of the van, and headed into the scene to check on people. As I headed to the first car there was a gentleman who was in great need of help, and someone was already at the driver’s side of the car with him and another motorist walking over to help.
I headed to the second car, a family, to check on them. Shaken and sore.
I then heard the screams from the third car, a young girl who was in hysterics over causing the accident. Her and her friend were alone by their car…seeing the horrific scene around them, and they were completely terrified.
This was about four minutes after the accident. Those two girls should not have been alone with motorists stopped all around the scene.
Now, it was dark and chaotic, so I am not going to say I didn’t see others helping who may have been. Adrenaline is blinding. I know there were men helping the gentleman trapped in his car. There very well may have been others that I didn’t see…thank God for those people too if they were there.
But still, two young teenagers in hysterics over an extremely traumatic scene and they were ALONE, with people sitting in cars all around them watching.
They should not have been alone, they should have had people checking on them, staying with them throughout the chaos.
It hurt my heart. There were people closer than we were. Four minutes. That is an eternity to someone in the moment.
I stayed with the two girls until one of their parents arrived, while the police and rescue tended to the scene as well as the gentleman trapped in his car.
Once her parents arrived, I walked back to our van, and drove my family back to the house so they were not ‘trapped’ watching what was unfolding, then walked back to the front of the subdivision.
Once back on the scene I spent the rest of my time with the teen driver and her family while they continued to extract the other driver. Offering calm, peace and stability.
About an hour after the initial impact, the other driver was extracted and transferred by ambulance to a waiting Life Flight.
Walking back home afterwards, I couldn’t help but get upset about how, in a moment like that, those girls could have been left alone by others in stopped cars for that amount of time?
I understand it is scary. I understand it is uneasy. I understand you may not know how to help.
All you have to do is not leave them alone. Alone in the scariest moments of their lives. Alone in the midst of trauma and chaos.
I am thankful we chose to get milkshakes last night. I am thankful we were able to offer a moment of calm presence to an situation that was anything but a calm.
As a follower of Christ, the two greatest charges on my life are to love God with my whole heart, and to love others as I love myself.
To love others means there is no other response thank to just respond.
Whether you serve God or not, part of being a neighbor is to just respond.
Sometimes it is to just respond to say “you are not alone”. Sometimes it is to just respond to someones trauma or injury. Sometimes it is to just respond to someone who can’t keep their lights on or put food on the table.
In the broken and hurting world around us, there is no other response than to just respond.
As a follower of Christ there is no other response than to just respond.
He answered, “‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind’; and, ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.'” Luke 10:27