|The Florida Trail finish, in the midst of testing and testing to come|
It had already been a wild six weeks hiking the Florida Trail to finish all 1100 miles that started way back in December of 2016. I was leaving all the excitement behind but ready to relish the peace of home. The storms, the snakes, the palm trees, sand and floods, I was ready. Though now I was minus a summer job promised me and suddenly taken away without warning a mere two days before I was ready to finish the Florida Trail at Fort Pickens. I was working through that or so I thought. Trying to let go of anger and hurt and other things. It was enough to deal with.
I had that burden still on my heart but I knew God was strong enough to carry it, as He carried me on my hike. I thought of other things. I had the book on the Florida Trial to write and share in the moments of my journey with my husband, whom I hadn’t seen in six weeks.
At the airport I decided to take a later flight and earn a $500 credit—who knows, maybe to another distant adventure next year. The flight went good. My luggage with my hiking gear had arrived earlier and was waiting for me at the airport. I was happy to see my husband roll up to get me, in our multi-colored vehicle of black and silver in the dark of the evening.
As we drove, he told me how the dog had escaped before he left to pick me up. I got mad at that. We had a bit of a tiff. I thought to myself—this is NOT the way I wanted to say hello to my husband after six weeks. Now we’re at odds over a pooch. We stopped for Chinese food as we’d had no dinner, and while waiting for moo goo gai pan and moo shu pork, I told him I was sorry for getting uptight about the dog. I knew our lab would come home eventually, he has before. We made up in the Chinese restaurant. And then a reunion of sorts began in the car for the next ten minutes. I told him excitedly of the new sister in the Lord I had made in Florida. How she took care of me. How I got to take care of horses—a huge first. It was good. We were connecting again.
The arrow for the left turn to our road gleamed green in pitch black as my husband made the turn.
Suddenly it came out of nowhere. A big thing in my window and front windshield that wasn’t supposed to be there. Metal smashing. Glass breaking. Screeching,
Something came out of the night and hit us.
For an instant I thought I was supposed to be unconscious. Bleeding. In bad pain. Something. Instead I was asking Steve if he could move the car out of the middle of the road. I knew we had been in an accident. The car sounded horrible as it creaked across the road with metal scraping the tires. The car was drawing its last, mechanical breath. I couldn’t believe it. I felt like I was dying along with it.
We got out, stunned. I looked at the car, aghast. The other driver of the Ford F150 that hit us asked if we were okay. I yelled, “No we aren’t, you ran a red light and hit us!” Then I cried uncontrollably.
I thought my life had changed enough in Florida, finishing a major trail after lots of interesting and scary adventures. Then came the job removal out of nowhere. And now this came, this accident, something I had not experienced since I was a teenager. I was broken like the car. The only thing I was happy about at that very moment—I had made up with my husband over the dog before it all happened. That if God had decided my life on this earth would end, I was okay.
Instead God spared us. I am still in this world to live another day. The only thing I heard that night as I stood there freezing by the side of the road, is the song Beloved. It rang over and over in my mind. I am beloved in God’s eyes. Especially when we realized that a truck going 45 MPH had hit the best place it could to render more damage to the car than us. Which could have resulted in death, me in particular as it hit the passenger side.
We had been spared for some reason. The story is still being written as we are still dealing with the aftermath in injury mentally and physically. But God is still in control, we are still here, and life goes on. Most of all, I am still Beloved. And neither death nor life can separate us from God’s love... (Romans 8:38-39)