I love this time of year. The weather is amazing, and the flowers appear to be more vibrant. Easter, and everything that it represents, is one of my favorite holidays. It just seems as if you can feel hope lingering in the air offering new beginnings.
As of two years ago I have added a new reason to find spring so special. On April 16, 2009, our family experienced a miracle.
That evening we decided to take our kids to a park close by our home. Our eleven-year-old, Caleb, decided he wanted to ride his bike. We were going to be right behind him in our van with so we agreed to let him.
To get to our destination we had to cross a two lane road. Caleb was in front of us so he got there first. I saw a car coming, and assumed that Caleb saw it as well. (If I had a dollar for every time I have told my children to look both ways I would be writing this little story from my vacation home in Europe.)
And then I saw his foot move on the bike pedal.
What happened next is without a doubt the most bizarre moment of my life. I knew exactly what was going to happen, and I also knew that I could do absolutely nothing to stop it. My husband realized as well, and immediately began screaming, “No, no, no,” over and over and over again. It was a blood-curdling sound like nothing I have ever heard from him before or since.
Before our very eyes, the car struck Caleb full on.
His body flew up over the hood of the car and disappeared. The vehicle came to an almost immediate stop. I frantically scanned for Caleb, but could see nothing. My husband was the first to jump out of our van and he began running towards the accident, still screaming that one word desperately. I sat stunned. My brain simply could not process what had just happened.
I finally gathered my wits and yelled at our other children to not move a muscle, then I took off running as well. I was not hysterical. It felt like I was having an out of body experience…as if I was looking down at this horrible event as it happened to someone else. I rounded the back of the car that had hit him, and saw that Caleb was in the grass on the opposite side of the road. He was trying to push himself up on one elbow.
My first thought was, “He’s moving! He’s alive!”
My second thought was, “He should not be moving! We don’t know what is going on inside of his body!”
I screamed at him, “Don’t move! Please, don’t move!”
Though I have no memory of grabbing it, I looked down and saw that my cell phone was in my hands. Immediately, I called 911. It rang, and rang, and rang some more. I was frantically talking into the mouthpiece, “Pick up! Pick up!”
Finally, a lady answered. When I told her what had happened she asked for our location. I relayed what road we were on and a few landmark buildings, but she kept saying she needed an actual physical address. To this day I have no clue what she wanted me to say. There is no physical address for car/bike accidents that occur in the middle of the road. I don’t think the third pothole on the right side of the road qualifies.
Bystanders were already gathering, and since it was our neighborhood we knew most of them. One man sensed my frustration at the emergency operator and took the phone from my hands.
I then dropped to my knees beside my son. His face looked horrible. One cheek was just raw, oozing flesh and his arm looked bruised and swollen. And that was what I could see. God only knew what was hidden beneath his clothing.
I can tell you that fear is more than an emotion. It envelopes your body and takes over all of your senses. It smells like burnt rubber and freshly plowed dirt. It has the salty taste of tears, and crawls down your spine like clammy sweat. It looks like flashing lights. And it sounds like your child crying over and over again, “I don’t want to die. I don’t want to die.”
Before I knew it we were surrounded by a barrage of rescue workers. The scene was completely chaotic. Looking up from the ground, I saw the man who hit Caleb standing by his car with a look of utter shock on his face. My heart went out to him. He had not been speeding, and there was nothing he could have done to avoid what happened. I remember thinking, “Oh, that poor man. He thinks he may have killed my son.”
I tried to get his attention and told him, “This is not your fault. He pulled out in front of you. There is nothing you could have done.”
The medics were working with Caleb, and very quickly told me that because of contusions to his abdominal area that he would have to be life-flighted to a nearby hospital because of the possibility of internal injuries.
My mind just went numb.
Completely heartbroken, I crouched on the side of the road, my face in the dirt beside Caleb as they strapped him to a gurney. I just kept repeating, “Jesus. Jesus. Jesus.”
It was all that I could think to say. I knew He was our only hope.
Caleb started going into shock as they loaded him in the ambulance that would take him to meet the trauma hawk that had landed in a field nearby. His body was shaking uncontrollably. They would not allow me to get in the chopper with him.
And so there I stood, watching as my son was taken away. There is not a more helpless feeling on planet earth.
Some friends drove me to the hospital. They prayed out loud as we sped down the road, but I still could not formulate a plea of my own. My mind just kept repeating that one word. Jesus. It felt like the longest ride of my life. I had no idea what news might be awaiting me when I arrived.
Our evening of horror turned into a night of miracles when, after cat scans and x-rays, it was discovered that Caleb had no broken bones and no internal injuries. He was one sore, bruised, road rash covered little boy, but he was alive.
We found out later that night the true extent of our miracle when my husband talked to the man who hit Caleb. He told us that every evening he drives a large service truck home from work.
But not that night.
On that night he was driving a little Honda Civic.
This past Easter Sunday morning I listened as “Your Great Name” was sung in church. I love that song. I suppose it is because the accident is so very real in my mind at this time of year that the words took on such special significance.
“Sick are healed, and the dead are raised, at the sound of Your great name.”
As I walked through this memory and recalled how His name was the only thing my traumatized mind could think to say, I felt the full impact of verse fourteen in Hebrews chapter four.
“Therefore, since we have a great high priest who has gone through the heavens, Jesus the Son of God.”
In the grief-stricken utterance of His name, He heard the cry of my heart.
The suffering and death that He so willingly endured allowed Him to take on the role of the Great High Priest. In the glory of His resurrection He has become the intercessor.
Every single moment in our lives when we feel the impact of the painful, sinful world in which we live, He comes running to our side. He crouches in the dirt and despair that surrounds us as our minds scream in desperation, “I don’t want this! I can’t take this!” His heart breaks when our hearts breaks.
And there as we struggle to survive our darkest moment, He stands before the Father on our behalf. His wounds strongly plead for us.
Every hope that we have is fulfilled in that one precious name.
“Jesus, worthy is the Lamb, that was slain for us, Son of God and man, You are high and lifted up and all the world will praise Your great name.”
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