Bessie might have fared a bit better than my Silver Bullet in my collision early October at the intersection of Versailles Road and Pisgah Pike. After all, about a year ago, Bessie fought the deer and my Bessie won.
But geesh, look at this poor ghetto van with over 325K miles! She runs like no tomorrow, but now she has spiked an attitude that's quite lopsided, but impressive nonetheless.
Ask Matthew and Colton. These young men take one in the chin as they float down the road in Bessie a couple of days each week, music blaring, windows down, chomping on sunflower seeds, heading to BCTC like two handsome studs with their sheepish grins and sparkling eyes. We call the boys "Lady Magnets" because they have that Bessie advantage! The ladies stare at them all right--well, not only the ladies, but er... just about everybody. Like I said--Bessie's copped an attitude after her run in with the deer.
I suspect Bessie would have roared back a bit had I been driving her when the lady ran the red light at 55 MPH and t-boned my Toyota Corolla at the driver's side front wheel sending me spinning clockwise this side of Sunday.
A few weeks ago, I sat in the Silver Bullet at the Blevin's Tow Company lot in Versailles. I had to bid her farewell and to take a moment to breath in the reality of what could have been a different story in my life and my family's legacy. Tears rolled down my face like memories begging for more.
I touched the shockingly thin, paper-like airbags that saved my head and chest. In the seat was the neck brace the first responders had used. The keys were still in the ignition and she was locked in Drive. The horrific smell of exhaust fumes and engine fluids had dissipated by this time, but that day of the wreck they nearly choked me to death.
And just like the moments in the ambulance when the weight of what could have been bore down mightily on my mind and soul, I felt so grateful that I have a mysterious and mighty God to thank. I am learning not to ask Him so many questions, but instead to surrender and accept what I cannot explain on my own. My strong suit has been one of striving, hard work, control, type A, find a way, make a list, get a plan, do it and do it again.
Regrettably and so sadly I confess that over these past few years I have pushed God to the recesses of my mind. I have held a fist to Him because He refused to cooperate with my plans for earthly contentment and gain. I heard someone say once that if you search for happiness, you won't find it. But if you search for God, you'll get both. I had bullet-pointed how to find my version of happiness, but in the end I only gained bitterness, discontent, and a grumbling deep in my soul.
Despite my disobedience and arrogance, God tenderly calls to me to see through the "wreckage." He whispers to me to humble myself like never before, to hear and obey His voice, to lay down my agenda, my hopes, my dreams, my attitudes, my strengths ... only to really, sincerely experience the unshakable sweetness of His breath-giving presence.
I keep Scripture cards in random places: my purse, car, bathroom, at my desk.... Do you know what Scripture card was in the seat of my Silver Bullet when I opened the driver's side door that day after the crash?
This accident for me was a show-stopper that physically forced me to slow down and spiritually called me into account.
The NASB rendering is: “Therefore repent and return, so that your sins may be wiped away, in order that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord." "Refreshing" means a time of recovery of breath. The toxic fumes of sin (whatever the fragrance) start with a slow draw and then they become our mainstay. And "presence" means face-to-face. Sometimes we must undergo a face-to-face revival in order to find the freshness and freedom that are found only in God's presence.
Had the driver hit my vehicle about 12 inches to the right, my story would be quite different. These kinds of trials rattle us deeply to the core and serve as catalysts for change IF we are so wise as to let them.
And now, guess who has reclaimed Bessie until said looker can find another Toyota to add to the family? I smile every time I unlock the driver's door (from the back hatch lock), glance at her rusty beauty, admire her uneven crumpled hood and missing grill on her front side, and see the gas tank beneath her suspended by a zip tie. And once inside, gratitude overwhelms me like warm waves of sunshine as I put the key in the ignition and shift her to drive.
Let's do it, Bess.
PS: Toyota, you really know how to build them! My Corolla performed perfectly in this collision, literally saving my head and body from more serious injuries. The engine area crunched together as planned and stayed on the outside of my cabin. And, of course, there's Bessie. She runs like a charm having now outlived her rival.
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