Monday, September 19, 2016
Haydn’s co-op ends at 2:55 PM. Dad picks him up and then they sit in the Greenville Tech parking lot until 3:40 when my college class ends. Knowing this, you can understand my confusion when I exited the building to find the van nowhere in sight. I did not worry, at first. I was released a little early and they probably got stuck in traffic or something.
I walked up the sidewalk along the parking lot and stopped under the shade of some trees. I scanned and re-scanned the parking lot, just in case Dad parked somewhere else and I missed him. Nothing. I watched the Cross-Country team run from GMC to the field in front of the college where they usually practice. I noted that they are usually on the field when I leave so I must have been released earlier than I thought. However, as each minute passed, I became more and more tempted to worry rather than trust God.
It only takes 10 minutes to get from UHC to GMC and Dad is NEVER late so, even if there was traffic, this did not explain his absence. Determined to trust God and not worry, I looked away from the road and acknowledge the clouds floating above my high school. They were HUGE. As I stood in awe of God’s beauty I couldn’t help but imagine what a great picture it would make. Sadly, I did not have my camera (aka, Mom’s phone).
By now several minutes had passed and I attempted to calmly run through the day’s schedule for my family: after school, we were going to stop by Krispy Kreme for Pirate Day however, I drew a blank when I could not recall the final decision about who, how, and when. Dad and Mom planned on attending the 9th and 10th Grade Parent Information Meeting that evening at 6:00 and I made another mental note to remind them that we did not need to go. There was something going on in the afternoon, but I couldn’t remember exactly what. Again, I began to worry so I quietly sang the first worship song that popped into my head (I do not recall what it was). Finally, I sat down on a nearby bench and gazed at the clouds.
By the time I spotted Kaylee and Olivia (friends from my high school) exiting the college, I had already begun considering that something must have happened. What type of something? I only had one idea: a wreck. My eyes began to water. What if Dad is hurt? What if he died? I stopped. No. I thought. I’m not going to go there. I glanced at the road again and noticed Kaylee and Olivia walking on the far sidewalk. I hopped up, pulled on my backpack, and began walking towards them as they noticed me and waved.
I had planned on asking Kaylee if I could text my mom, but I never did. Before the whistle that morning (which is blown by our principal five minutes before the first bell) Kaylee had asked Becca if she could walk home with her. Becca said Kaylee could if Becca didn’t have to work. “Did you not walk home with Becca?” I asked Kaylee. No, because in the middle of first period Becca’s boss texted her asking if she could work. Of course, Becca said yes despite really wanting to go home in order to complete her homework and study for a college test on Wednesday. “I’d say we could take you home but I don’t know where my dad is,” I explained. We had a very short conversation about Pirate Day, they continued walking toward the high school, Olivia asked about the Geometry homework, they continued walking, and then I asked about the time: 3:45, much earlier than I had expected. Reluctantly I returned to the bench half expecting Dad to pull up right then and give a perfectly reasonable explanation for why he was late. But he didn’t.
I pulled out “The Kite Runner”, a book I was reading for Literature & Film, and began to read where I had left off in class that morning. My reading was quite bumpy as I kept glancing at the road to examine each passing vehicle. As each minute dragged on the feeling that my family had been in a car wreck became more and more prominent in my mind. I focused on the words I was looking at: “‘I’ll come back with your morphine and glass of water, Kaka Jan,’ Soraya said. ‘Not tonight,’ he said. “There is no pain tonight.’ ‘Okay,’ she said. She pulled up his blanket. We closed the door. Baba never woke up” (Khaled Hosseini, The Kite Runner). And then the sirens sounded.
Firetrucks and police cars, but (I prayed) no ambulances. Their noise was so loud I knew they were driving along the roads that box in GVLTC and GMC. I beat the feeling but, in the end, I could not ignore it: my family had been in a wreck. There was no other explanation.
My eyes began to water but I fought back the tears and prayed. Oh, what a desperate prayer I prayed. “Lord, please let them be all right. Please let them be all right.” And then I reminded myself that God has everything under control. Everything will be alright, no matter what happens. Everything will be alright… “God is good,” I whispered to myself, remembering a quote from God’s not Dead. “All the time. And all the time, God is good.” I blinked away the last of my tears, took a deep breath, and turned back to my book.
Moments later a red car came to a halt several feet away. I did not pay much attention to it until it honked and my mom got out of the passenger’s seat. She motioned me to come so I dropped my book into my backpack, zipped it up, and obeyed. Once by her side she gave me a hug and said, “We were in a wreck. Everyone is okay but Ansa is a little shaken up.” She then explained that “this nice lady”, the driver, had checked to see if they were alright and offered to come pick me up. Once introduced I was directed to the back seat and we made our way to the point of impact.
Mom and Ansa had picked Haydn up from UHC and then gone to Krispy Kreme for Pirate Day. From there they went home to pick up Dad (who was doing a podcast) and drop off their four dozen donuts (three for dressing up and one for sharing a picture on SnapChat). Then all for of them came to get me.
Despite being in a conversation about college, Dad missed the main entrance for Greenville Tech. Instead of taking the back way, he decided to turn around by taking a left into someone’s driveway. Mid-turn my family was T-Boned by a white truck Dad had not noticed.
Dad banged his head against his window, Mom was slung so hard that her sunglasses flew off her head and landed in the back, Haydn was thrown towards his window but caught himself before contact was made, and Ansa was tossed. By the time I arrived at the site, Dad had a headache, Mom felt as if she had been punched in the jaw, Haydn was fine, and Ansa was suffering through the first of many headaches due to a likely concussion.
The van was totaled. We will never drive it again.
After hearing of the minor injuries and examining the burst tire, missing window, jammed doors, and various other damages, I could no longer hold back my tears. God was with my family that day. He could have easily taken them all home but, instead, He answered my prayer.
I will never be able to fully express or justly describe my gratitude. “Thank You, Lord. Thank You.” The only words I was able to speak in between my silent sobs. Ansa, who was as pink as the shirt she was wearing, crawled into the back with me and we held each other as the tears continued to flow. God IS good. I thought. All the time. And all the time, God IS good.
To see more photos from this event, click here. Once in Flickr, click the arrow on your right to view the next picture. Thanks!