Friday, September 11, 2009

Defining Moments

Or perhaps I should've named this particular blog post, refining moments. We all experience them. They are those moments in our lives when we take a leap of faith to accomplish what often seems beyond our grasp. They are also challenging trials that stretch us beyond what we think we're capable of enduring. We're told, however, that we won't be tempted\tried beyond what we can endure. That said, evidently we are stronger than we think we are, considering what we often face in mortal mode. The true test comes when we push beyond our comfort zone to better ourselves or to help those around us.

I experienced one of those moments this past week. My husband and I went camping with some of his family during the Labor Day holiday. We left on Friday and returned home on Wednesday morning. (Which is why there were no new blog posts until now, but there I go again, digressing.) We came down for church on Sunday, but spent the rest of the time frolicking in the woodsies.

The camping adventure was an enjoyable time. We picked yet more huckleberries, what chokecherries we could find, and my husband caught brook trout to his heart's delight. We consumed delicious food and enjoyed spending time with family members. But as is always the case toward the end of these kind of adventures, I returned home exhausted. The weather change usually wreaks havoc with the rheumatoid arthritis and yes, I was limping a bit upon our return home. My lower back and hips were extremely unamused with all of the berry picking, four-wheeler rides, etc.

We came home, cleaned out the camper, and began tackling numerous tasks that awaited. Then, as I was headed to town to run several errands, wondering how I was going to find the energy to accomplish all of that, an accident took place. At first, I thought our neighbors down the street were burning leaves. I saw all of this smoke pouring from the corner. Glancing off to the side, I was puzzled by all of the scattered debris that littered the yard next door. Then the smoke cleared somewhat as I began to pull out onto the main street of our little town. That's when I realized that the smoke was pouring out of the engine of a truck---and the truck contained people. I saw a woman inside the truck waving frantically at me and it finally clicked: "Oh, no, there's been an accident!"

I pulled into a nearby driveway and ran for all I was worth toward the smashed truck. Another woman ran from her truck---she had seen the accident take place. While her mother called 911, this woman and I did our best to help the older couple who were trapped inside the truck. The driver's side was totally smashed---the only way out was through the door on the passenger side. We somehow managed to get it open, and helped the couple escape their smoking truck. All of us were afraid the truck was going to burst into flames, which explained the panic experienced by the wife of the driver.

We helped this woman into the shade of a nearby tree and tried to keep her calm until help arrived. It was a miracle that these two had survived this accident with only minor injuries. They were both bruised up, and the husband had sustained several cuts, so I ran to the the two houses that were nearby for the ice they were requesting, but no one was home at either place. I called my husband and asked him to bring up our first aid kit and some ice packs. He arrived at about the same time as the quick response unit, and after that, we turned things over to the professionals.

Long story short, this couple had been driving for hours, transporting some furniture to a distant destination. The wife had dozed off, exhausted, and the husband had followed suit. The bad news was he was the one driving. The truck veered off the main street of our little town, grazed a cement wall, hit into the side of two trees, knocked a garbage container out of the way (this explained all of the debris in the yard) and plunged through a fence and into a pole, which finally stopped the truck. The woman who stopped to help had witnessed the entire accident. As I mentioned earlier, the couple involved in this accident are lucky to be alive.

Later, when all of the proverbial dust settled, I received a couple of lectures. My husband pointed out that I had risked my life by coming to the aid of these people. My youngest son (who wants to become a physician's assistant) told me that it's not cool to move people who have been injured in an accident because the movement may cause further damage.

I understand what they're both saying, but I know it would've haunted me forever if I hadn't done anything to help and the truck had burst into flames before the professionals had arrived. What I learned about myself during that experience is---despite being exhausted, achy, and feeling like the last chapter, I found the strength to push beyond all of that to help someone else. I know adrenalin played a huge role in all of that, but I also learned that maybe I'm stronger than I think I am.

I suspect we all are. We all get knocked down by life. We experience trials that beat us down until we think we've given all we can give. It's tempting to throw in the towel and say, "That's it, I'm done." Or to give into temptation when it knocks upon our door. It's easy to reason with ourselves and give into self-pity. "Because this and this has happened, then I deserve this and this and this." These are defining moments and the choices we make are important. Lives are often at stake, including our own. We are the only ones who can decide how we're going to handle any given situation. Heavenly guidance can come if we choose to heed those promptings. Agency is a very real gift---it's up to us to make the most of it.

Some of you may be wondering why I selected the picture at the beginning of this post. If you'll look closely, you'll see that it contains ripples in the water. [Yes, this is another one of those annoying analogies.] ;) We all make ripples in life---good or bad---again, it's up to us to choose. But I am learning that when we push forward, taking that leap of faith, we'll have the help of heaven to survive all that life may throw our way.


Doran & Jody said...

Great post and kudos to you!!!

Amber said...

WOW- its amazing the people survived! And so scary- I love the way you look at things- it brings life into persective- especailly when we walk "blind" sometimes.

Cheri J. Crane said...

Thanks, Jody. It was quite the adventure. I'm just relieved no one was seriously injured.

And Amber, thanks for your kind words. Always good to hear from you.