Traveling Mercies: love the journey, God is with you, come home safe and sound.
[The first part was written the night I arrived at the hospital, a bit loopy on pain meds.]
Tonight I was crossing the road on my bike, when out of nowhere, a Ford F-150 smashed into me, and drove off, causing me to fly off my bike and slide across the road. I immediately heard a bone break, looking down to see my foot hanging limply, like a rag doll. Everything started to spin. My leg was on fire. I couldn't get up, but was still laying in the middle of a busy intersection, my bike and backpack contents scattered across the lanes.
I started to cry, feeling terribly afraid and alone. I knew I needed to get up, but my leg was on fire and the connection between my brain and my body was broken, like my body had her fingers in her ears while my brain was screaming, GET OUT OF THE ROAD! Then, in the middle of my panic, I heard a voice above me. I looked up. There I saw a tall young man, with gold teeth and dirty clothes getting down on one knee. He looked rough, and smelled like cheap beer and pot. I was a bit nervous seeing him over me; I would have rathered a middle aged "dad" type or even better, a paramedic. But he took charge, and shouted at another man to call 911. Before I could stop him, this stranger picked me up like a small child, and cradled me gently, my head against his chest. He held my lightly, like I was glass, but securely, and walked across the street to safety, lowering me on the stoop of a his rundown house. With one hand he elevated my leg and with the other he squeezed my hand, calling to a nearby kid to go in the house and bring out a chair and a cushion. Gently, he propped my leg up and got me a glass of water, all while never letting go of my hand, speaking soft words of encouragement: "You're so brave. You're doing great. I can't believe that jack ass drove away, Imma kill him for you".
A crowd started to gather, but my friend never left my side. Suddenly, the sound of a siren gradually got lounder, and I felt so much relief to know help was coming. My new friend looked alarmed. "I gotta go. There's a warrent for my arrest and they're gonna recognize me," he said as he fist pumped me and smiled, "feel better soon miss. Imma look out for that truck! He better hope he doesn't run into me!"
Rewind to minutes before the accident, I biked past a little book box, where you can take a book and leave a book. I love those kind of things, so I stopped and looked inside, but didn't find anything interesting until I saw Traveling Mercies by Anne Lamott, which is my all time favorite book and has been my biggest comfort these past few years. It made me smile to see, so I took it and put it in my bike basket. Five minutes later, I was hit by a truck and the contents of the basket were scattered all over the road. I was being put into the ambulance, when a stranger came up to the truck and said, "ma'am, I found this book in the road and I'm assuming it's yours. Do you want it?" Tears ran down my face; not from pain but because Jesus is so sweet and let me carry a copy of Traveling Mercies in my lap all the way to the hospital. It was such a comfort since I was all alone in a strange city and absolutely terrified and in so much pain. The whole way to the hospital I held on to the book and talked on the phone to Rachel and Jimmie Gillespie, and somehow felt so much peace despite my circumstances.
The first night in the hospital I was so upset. I just lost it because the room I'm was in had no windows; it felt like a dungeon and I was in a lot of pain. Every time I closed by eyes I saw the accident, heard my bone break, but Holy Spirit totally surrounded me, like in Genesis 1 where it said she was hovering over the waters, like a mother hen broods over her chicks. I felt that. I was surrounded by feathers; I felt so much peace and ended up falling asleep with no bad dreams.
A few days after being in the hospital, two people named Paul and Cynthia came to pick up the keys to the house I was staying at. When they arrived, Paul sat next to me and held my hand, and started to cry as he told me that Jesus wanted me to start this journey cradled in someone's arms. And thats what it's felt like the whole time, right from the beginning when I was carried across the street.
I have so many stories and they'll come, but I'm taking my time. Right now I'm running a marathon, not a sprint, experiencing traveling mercies the whole way.