Thursday, May 12, 2011

Getting in the Way by Sharon Lurie

© 2011 David's Harp and Pen

Mood: Sober

DISCLAIMERS: This blog is based, in part, upon actual events and people. Certain actions and characters have been dramatized and fictionalized, but are inspired by true events and real people. Certain other characters, events, and names used herein are entirely fictitious. Any similarity of those fictional characters or events to the name, attributes, or background of any real person, living or dead, or to any actual events is coincidental and unintentional, so I don’t want to hear from the Department of Transportation or any kind of Motorist Safety Groups. Just to be on the safe side, however, I will state now: please do not attempt any vehicle stunts such as described in this blog unless you are a professional (or from New Jersey).

Wednesday, March 18, 2009, 9:25 PM. I was sitting at a red light at the end of an exit ramp off the interstate waiting to turn on to the road on which my job was located. As was my ritual when heading to work, I stared at the clock on my radio, hoping that if I focused all my mental energy on the clock, I could turn back time. As I once again engaged in this always-fruitless endeavor, I heard a crash. I looked up and saw a black pickup truck flying to the right of me, a large wheel coming straight towards me, and a Jeep Wrangler, spinning and flying, heading for the front driver’s side of my car. Even though the collision did not cause my air bag to deploy, I was convinced my car would not be drivable. A three-ring circus of law enforcement, emergency medical crews, wreckers, frantic phone calls, and emotional statements ensued. After about 30 minutes, my neck and back began to stiffen up, and I knew a trip to the emergency room was inevitable.

I waited patiently as the police and EMTs attended to one of the passengers in the Jeep who was very seriously injured. My eyes kept getting drawn to the small ditch on the right of the exit ramp, where the force of the Jeep hitting me could’ve easily sent me. The wrecker crew had to detach the Jeep from my car before they could assess the damage to mine; they were finding it difficult. One of the wrecker drivers asked me to try to start my car and see if I could back up. To my surprise, I could do both, and doing so allowed them to extricate the Jeep and get it hooked up to the wrecker. I then pulled my car to the side, got out, and walked to the front to examine what I was sure was going to be a giant eyesore. Instead, all I found was a cracked headlight and a dent in the front driver’s side quarter panel.

“I don’t understand,” I said to the wrecker driver and police officer who had walked up next to me. “Shouldn’t there be more damage?”

“A lot more,” the wrecker driver replied.

“You’re blessed, ma’am,” the cop chimed into the discussion.

“I guess I am,” I responded.

I drove myself to the hospital. The diagnosis was nothing serious: some whiplash. I missed a week of work and had to go to physical therapy for five weeks.

It’s been two years since the accident, and nothing has been settled. Although the police and all insurance companies involved agree that the accident was not my fault, they are bickering over who was at fault. Both the Jeep driver and the pickup truck driver claim they had the right of way at the intersection. In the meantime, I have still not seen anything for my lost wages, damage to my car, or medical expenses I paid out of my pocket. I was summoned to be deposed last week in order to go on record with my version of what happened. I set out that morning with a chip on my shoulder and a bad attitude, hoping the day would end with resolution and possible compensation. What I got instead was badly needed perspective.

First of all, my GPS went fakakta, so I had trouble finding my way downtown to the attorney’s office where the deposition was being held. Upon arriving, I made my way into the building’s adjoining parking garage. I won’t elaborate too much on why it took me almost 30 minutes to park my car and make it out of the garage, except to say I hope the crack smoked by the engineers who designed the parking garage was worth it. When I got to the attorney’s office, I found out that not only was I scheduled to be deposed, but the driver of the pickup truck, the driver of the Jeep, and one of her passengers were also supposed to be in attendance. The pickup truck driver never showed, which was bad, because everyone more or less believes he is the one at fault. This, of course, means that if his insurance company can’t get him to cooperate, I might have to wait to get compensation until Jesus comes back…or longer. Another problem is the driver of the Jeep and her passenger couldn’t even agree on whether they were trying to enter the interstate or if they had just exited the interstate when the collision occurred. As I sat and listened to the Jeep people give their statements and the three attorneys do their attorneying, I felt my blood pressure begin to spike, until one of the lawyers said, “The force of the pickup truck hitting the Jeep took off its wheel and sent it into Miss Lurie’s car. In fact, if her car had not been there to stop the Jeep, it would’ve rolled, and everyone in the Jeep could’ve been killed.”

The revelation gnawed at me for the next few days, sending me into loud, obnoxious crying fits. I pray all the time for God to use me, to make a difference in people’s lives, and to do things that will matter for eternity. I see now that my vision of being God’s instrument was very narrow. I was the only thing between that Jeep and a roll down into a ditch, which might’ve meant death. The driver of the Jeep was only 17 at the time, and her passenger is a wife and mother of four. I suffered a little pain and a little inconvenience. In return, a girl gets to become a woman and a young family is spared the pain of having its heart ripped out.

With the season of Passover and Easter upon us, I thought of how I was the flying, spinning, rolling out of control Jeep, and the Cross was the barricade between me and the pit of Hell that enabled me to pass over from death to eternal life. On that March evening two years ago, I got in the way, so total strangers could have another two years. On an August evening 24 years ago, Jesus got in my way so I could have life without end. I pray I will keep His Example before me daily, and get in the way of those who don’t know Him more often.



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