Friday, August 5, 2011
Eternity can be found in a single moment...
There's a standing conception that time seems to slow down during an accident. I'm here to confirm that to be true. A leisurely ride on a gorgeous Saturday afternoon suddenly found me flying solo through air down a ditch line doing my best Luke Skywalker on his legendary Death Star run.
I was just cruising along a country back road with no place to be and no place to go. As I started up a very gentle incline that slowly curved to my left, a rather portly groundhog started making his way across the road up ahead of me starting on my side. The rodent stopped dead center in my lane when he saw a pickup truck coming in his direction from the opposing side. Could I have ran him over? Probably. But I didn't want to risk losing control of my bike and slamming head on into the truck, so I adjusted course to go around him on the shoulder side. I would quickly learn...a soft shoulder at that.
As soon as the weight on the back tire of my Shadow 1100 left the payment, I might as well have been riding a train on tracks. My direction was now being predetermined. Fighting the weight of the bike in a vain attempt to correct my path and stay out of the ditch was futile, so I decided to control where and when I would lay down my ride. I wasn't going fast, but still the thick woods directly ahead was very troubling. Simple physics dictates- 25mph+hickory tree=rapid deceleration=eating through a straw...if I was lucky.
So I steered into the ever deepening and narrowing ditch on my side and started slowing down. Just a few feet into the new course, my motorcycle suddenly came to an abrupt stop as the weight bogged down in soupy quagmire of recent rains and mud. Perfect. There won't be much damage to my ride. Then physics once again came to play because while my motorcycle came to a sudden stop...I, on the other hand, did not. So now I'm airborne...
Trees, large rocks and stumps were all in my vision ahead. My flight literally carried my over 20 feet down the trench before an Evel Knievel/Wide World of Sports type finale. I ended up feet-first on my back in another section of soft goop. Dazed and looking straight up at the beautiful sky. I'm not sure if I ever lost consciousness or not, but I do know I felt absolutely no pain...but that would soon end too.
There are so many things that could have gone different in those seconds that seemed like minutes to me. But, I had survived only the second motorcycle wreck in my life with no broken bones or permanent damage. Note I didn't say injury-free. Slamming into the ground even into a soft landing spot still hurts like the devil. Add the fact I was north of 35 years in age and the situation grows increasingly more complicated. The 20 minute ambulance ride to the emergency room was nothing short of self-induced torture as my back and joints revolted in searing, punishing pain. I was sore and stiff to the point of incapacitation for the week that followed, unable to get myself into or out of a chair or bed without assistance. I lived alone with my elementary school aged daughter. All 50 pounds or so of her. For one of the very few times in my life, I was forced to rely on others to just make it through that week. It was a tremendously humbling situation...one that my life desperately needed.
It would be less than a year before the coming night I would fall to my knees and beg God to forgive my self-absorbed, temporal lifestyle. The night I became the prodigal son returning with not just my hat in hand...but completely naked and broken. God knows in my heart I wish that transformation had taken place as I suffered through the injuries of that motorcycle wreck. No. The truth is I wish that transformation had never had to take place at all. That my continuous work for the Kingdom was well displayed from the moment of my salvation. If only...
I still had the broken helmet from that day until recently. The motorcycle was sold years ago (another interesting story in itself), but I kept the helmet around as a reminder of the humility I endured from the results of that day. Yes. I still need to be reminded from time to time that humble is a virtue we are all called to be. God just later gave me two more precious daughters...so the helmet...well...kind of became redundant.