Monday, December 20, 2010


As I braked in order to slow for a red light, my car hit black ice and started to slide towards a busy intersection.

My heart jumped in fear as I turned into the skid, while my eyes darted towards the cars rushing through the intersection about twenty feet ahead of me.

Two thoughts popped into my head before conscious thought winked out and my mind went white with fear:

Huh.  Time really does slow to a crawl when you're facing imminent danger.

Thank God nobody else is in the car.

It seemed to take hours.  My front end turned left - into the skid - and headed towards the median strip next to me, while my back end shimmied out of control.   I admit it - I closed my eyes and braced for impact.  Two feet before the intersection my car suddenly spun 180 degrees and came to a dead stop, facing the wrong way, but shy of the cars rushing past.  I missed the median strip, too.

It took a moment or two for my brain to register that I was okay.  I was okay.  

The whole thing probably took 10 seconds.   I turned the car around, the light turned green, and I cautiously  made my way through the intersection.  I was shaking too much to drive, so I pulled over to the side of the road.  

I sat with my face in my hands, heart racing, and tried to slow my breathing.   Thank God there were no cars near me, I thought.   Thank God I stopped before the intersection.    Thank you, God. 

I was out on a snowy Sunday night because I had to go to Target to pick up baby clothes, blankets and diapers for our church's annual Christmas Charity Drive.    Maybe that's why my car stopped, I thought.   I was heading out to do some good in the world


Later that night I was still shaken.    Everyone else was asleep, and I sat in my darkened living room and basked in the lights from the Christmas Tree.

I kept replaying scenarios in my head, thinking about how narrowly I escaped being badly hurt, or worse.   What if the car hadn't stopped?  What if I had hit the median?   What if there had been cars in the lane next to mine?  

Careful what you wish for, I thought.   You just might get it. 

I had been feeling so flat lately.    Busy but bored, I had felt like a spectator in my own life.    I have been living under a pile of little details, busily sifting through each day to make the pile smaller, only to have it grow in the night.   Every day:  wake up, sift, sort, sleep. 

I don't pray very often, but I prayed last night. 

I get it, I thought.   My gratitude is back.  Thank you.


Thank you for all of the responses to my last post, too.   Every single one of them helped me; I am comforted to know I'm not alone in how I felt, and inspired by all you had to say.

I figured out, too, what the problem was:   my people-pleasing is showing.

I have been too caught up in writing about what I think people want to hear, instead of what is coming from my heart.     I'm focusing on the external again, something I have worked hard to avoid.    It's probably because I'm stressed, I'm tired, and I haven't been able to get to many meetings.    Left alone in my own head, those voices that like to tell me how I don't measure up come alive.    For years the only antidote I had for those voices was to ramp up my people-pleasing:  Don't like yourself?  Make sure everyone else likes you!   

I never used to worry about how blog posts will be received; I wrote because I needed to.   Somewhere in the past month or so, as I became disenchanted with myself, I lost the melody to my heart song, and I lost my gratitude.   I was sleep walking through my days.

It took a near death experience and kind words from all of you, but I'm back, now.

I'm awake.


  1. Oh, I am so glad to hear you are okay! We were once in a nasty car wreck, and I remember thinking similar things in mind as it occured, "Wow, this is really taking a long time! Oh, I'm glad Jason is driving! Yuck, that red Slurpee is really going to leave a stain..." Then it seems to come all rushing back-- as if time then speeds up for a brief period to catch back up to where it was supposed to be. My husband, however, had a very different experience: he told me that it seemed like the whole thing was over in a microsecond-- that he hadn't even had the chance to think, just physically react. It's wild how we each deal with those perceptions differently.

  2. I find that getting too wrapped up in my own mind and my thoughts can be dangerous. Letting those thoughts pour out through writing makes such a difference.

    I'm so glad that your scary experience turned out okay. I have been in one really bad car wreck in my life, and I wasn't able to get back behind the wheel for several weeks without having an anxiety attack. I just remember that it happened so fast...and so incredibly slow.

    Gratitude is a beautiful thing.

  3. Wow. This made my heart stop. It's amazing what we can receive when we are open, isn't it? And you, lady, are open. I know that if I know anything. xox

  4. So so so glad you're OK. I saw the freezing rain start while we were looking at our last house, and the hubs was not taking me seriously until we were on the road about how bad it was going to be getting home...

  5. How frighteningly wonderful... if that makes sense. Glad you're ok...

  6. So glad you're okay! Near tragedy makes us reevaulate our situation and give thanks for how awesome our lives truly are. I'm glad that you received your message from Him. He truly does work in mysterious ways.

  7. I blogged about a similar experience last week when I HAD to get my son and I home from daycare and an ice-storm descended on our area. It was intense, to say the least. I'm so glad you walked away from your experience unscathed and with a fresh perspective.

  8. Funny I was just talking with a friend about this today. Last Feb I was in an accident on a major highway. Another vehicle was spinning across our 3 lanes and somehow stopped perpindicular in my lane and I tboned him. I remember soon after the accident telling how it was slow motion....the thought before of "wow so this is how it ends?"

    Frankly I'm still not recovered (soooo glad you are fine) but I feel that God was slowing me down and getting my attention. Focus is the important part for me.

    I also find it amusing that you're talking about worry about others recent blog topic was just that ;)

    Thanks for sharing openly.

  9. Loved reading this. I love when this kind of thing happens, but even more so when the person it happens to is aware enough to take something away from it!