As I climbed into the ambulance Friday night, I noticed one of the paramedics wasn’t wearing shoes. Busily tending to my daughter, she simply said, “One of the girls didn’t have shoes on, so I gave her mine.” The work continued.
After a brief conversation with my “baby” Sydney, a kiss on her head and reassurance of my return, I headed over to ambulance two. There, my older daughter Hannah sat, bloodied and talkative.
To be honest, I don’t really remember the order of events, or what kids were paired in what ambulances. What I do know, is that at 7:12pm on Friday night, as we had just finished praying in our home church group, Hannah called me. Before I even answered the phone, I knew what had happened. Somehow, God had prepared my heart, and there was a sense when the group had left after dinner to drive to the Crest to see the sunset, that something wasn’t “right”.
“Mom, we’ve been in an accident. I’m stuck in the car. . . ” The words tumbled out, and the next 20 minutes were a blur of facts, confusion and getting authorities involved. Four girls, two of them mine, had been coming down the mountain, and a few minutes past the ski resort, literally rolled off the side of the road.
By the time we got to the crash site, there were firetrucks, ambulances and squad cars all over the road. I was stopped by a Deputy who wouldn’t allow us to get closer, as rescue was working the scene. He was kind but firm. One firetruck, parked near the edge, had ropes tied to it and rescue workers were repelling down to get the girls.
After what seemed like a small eternity, the first of the girls emerged. It was Sydney. She was taken to an ambulance. One by one, the girls were brought to the road where they were placed in the care of those who could properly asses the nature of the injuries.
Fast forward an hour, when 4 girls, 3 families (because 2 girls were mine), and a waiting room full of love had taken over UNMH. We waited on CT scans and x-rays. We talked and nervously joked. We thanked God.
It’s now been little more than 30 hours since we returned from the hospital. There is healing that need to continue. Hannah was badly cut and has 16 stitches in her face. Sydney has glass shards in her feet and incredible bruising on her legs. The other two girls seem to be recovering well, so far as I know. No one had broken bones or severe injury. Yet, there is mental and emotional trauma that needs God’s healing hand. This life threatening moment has changed the girls. There is fear of cars and roads and turns. There are flashbacks and triggers. There is a journey ahead.
Yesterday, I shared a brief “poem” on Facebook that has now taken on a life of its own. It’s been shared and commented on more than any other piece I’ve ever written. So, in closing, I leave those words here. They become more implanted in my heart and spirit with every passing hour.
What does grace look like?
Grace looks like cell phone service in the East Mountains when my 16 year old calls to tell me she was in a rollover car accident.
Grace looks like four high school girls all wearing seatbelts.
Grace looks like my oldest friend standing just feet away when I got that phone call. This friend is a police officer and was instantly getting help en route.
Grace looks like prayer hurriedly spoken as we bolt out the door with our church family.
Grace looks like firefighters, officers, deputies and EMTs that took nearly an hour to repel down the side of mountain to rescue four girls from 150 feet below.
Grace looks like EMTs who gave the shoes off their feet and jackets off their backs.
Grace looks like doctors and nurses and technicians who care for the wounded.
Grace looks like a waiting room filled with those we love.
Grace looks like forgiveness and no finger pointing.
Grace looks like no broken bones or concussions.
Grace looks like 4 girls and their families leaving the ER at 2:30am.
Grace looks like God’s unmerited favor, and I am in the midst of it.