Thursday, December 7, 2017

Bruised But Not Broken

Last night, while driving home from Goldsboro, NC, I was in an accident. Outside of a scratch and some soreness in my shoulders, back, and neck, I walked away from an incident that could have been much worse. 

It was about 9:30 in the evening and I was only minutes away from my destination when a large deer suddenly appeared in the middle of the road. In response to this new information, I quickly applied the brakes hoping that I could decelerate the vehicle fast enough that I wouldn't run directly into it. With only seconds remaining, I attempted to move over into the left lane and avoid a collision, but then the car started to swerve from the rear. To correct the vehicle, that was now heading toward a ditch, I turned the steering wheel in the opposite direction to compensate for the fishtailing effect that was in motion.

Unfortunately, there wasn't enough room on the highway to apply corrective action a second time because the car was now sliding sideways toward the guardrail. Eventually, the front corner of the vehicle banged sharply into the protective railing and whipped the vehicle around where the backend of the car then slammed into guardrail. Still in a continuous motion, the 2005 Chrysler Pacifica finished its 360 degree spin and then limped across the highway until it came to a complete stop in the median's ditch.

I sat there quietly while the car continued to make various dying sounds. The lights were flickering off and on while a dinging noise alerted me to a message in the dashboard. I could see steam escaping from the front of the vehicle, which smelled like the remnants of the car's coolant hitting the hot engine.

In all of the craziness that just transpired, I begged the question, "Why is this happening now?" It felt like such an inopportune time knowing that I would have to buy a newer vehicle with money that I did not have.

Not understanding the bigger plan, I gave up trying to comprehend the purpose of it all and just sat there peacefully in my seat while saying a prayer out loud. "Thank you, God, for keeping me safe and protecting me from something worse. I don't know why this is happening, but I trust that you will bring me through this. In Jesus' name I pray. Amen."

Once the prayer was over, all I could do was laugh. It felt unreal that all of these apparent misfortunes would be happening around the same time. Just as we get through one situation, another one popped up in its place thus adding to the weight that I'm having to carry. For a moment, I thought about Job from the Bible and all that he had to go through. Thankfully, I'm not dealing with the extensive issues he dealt with, but I understood his pain. In those moments when everything seems like it's going horribly wrong, it's then that I feel led to simply thank the Lord for what's right, for the lesson, for the opportunity to grow and improve.

I don't know why or what the plan is for all of this, but it's not for me to worry about. I've placed my fears, concerns, and anxiety on God and trust that he's going to order my steps and find a way where there seems to be no way.

Over the next hour or so, I was accompanied by the North Carolina Highway Patrol and my girlfriend, Brandi. Together, we game planned our next few moves. I would call my insurance company, State Farm, and arrange for the car to be towed to my house where they would later come and pick it up for further assessment. In the meanwhile, Hertz reserved a rental car for me, which I could pick up the following day.

In the time that I was waiting for the tow truck to arrive, Brandi pulled out her small first-aid kit and started cleaning the cut on my face. With a brown band-aid now positioned near my left eye, I walked around the car, took a few pictures, and then began removing personal items that lay scattered around the interior cabin.

While I tried to remain calm, I felt a bit scatterbrained at times. I found myself taking extraneous steps around the incapacitated vehicle while trying to organize myself. What should I be doing now? I asked.

At one point, I walked over the scene of the accident in an effort to remember the particulars of the event. When people say, "It happened so fast" I can totally relate. The street told the complete story as the tire marks outlined the path of my vehicle. I walked the curved lines and replayed the car hitting the guardrail and littering the street with coolant. Dirt and auto parts lay dormant on the pavement leading to the car that rested silently in the dark.

Eventually, Brandi took me home and held me in her arms. Few words were spoken for the remainder of the night. While I knew that the course ahead may be rocky, in that moment I just wanted to focus on the here and now. I can't change what happened and there is no point in asking "why" when rebuilding is far more important. So, I allowed myself to ignore everything and breathe.

At one point, Brandi repeated the words, "One step at a time..." to which I completely agree. With the Lord's help, we've overcome other challenges and we will soon overcome this one, too. Using the words from Pastor Matt Fry, "If he's done it before, he'll do it again."

As I write these words, I just wanted to share with you my story. Yes, it's easy to feel sorry for ourselves and focus on everything that's not going right, but that's fruitless. Instead, I've decided to take a shower, get dressed, make my bed, and go into the next minute with a positive mindset. I'm still here. All is not lost. Yes, things have happened, but it's not the end of the world. Focus on what you can do with what you have and allow the Lord to take care of everything else. Trust that everything will be okay and that there is a reason for it all.

Before I bring this post to a close, I do want to openly thank God for his protection and movement within my life. I also want to thank my girlfriend Brandi for being there during all of the difficult times we've had to face. I would also like to thank State Farm Insurance, Hertz, and the NC Highway Patrol for aiding me when I needed a helping hand.

Moving forward, I'm going to have to find another vehicle. While the rental car will provide some short term assistance, I'm in need of a longer term solution. I guess that part of the story is still unwritten, but know that I will share it with you as it unfolds.

Until next time...


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Damond L. Nollan, M.B.A.

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