Tuesday, September 11, 2018

Another Chance at Love: A Story for 9-11

As I stared out the car window, Kevin’s words jolted me alert: “Today is the tenth anniversary of my crash into Sugar Creek.”

I sucked in air, blinked. “Oh, wow. I’ve been thinking so much about 9/11, I forgot that just a few days before, I almost lost you.” My sigh filled the front seat. “I’m so thankful you lived…”

Ten years rushed back. Kev and I stood on the bridge over Sugar Creek, our arms tight around each other. We watched, numb with shock, as the towing crew worked for hours to drag our overturned car under the bridge and up the bank. A copse of trees along the bank nearest the car blocked the way for them to tow it up that side. It was between those trees and the bridge railing that Kevin had sailed, flipping upside down into the creek.

“I remember thinking, ‘I need to get control of this car,’” he told me. “I must have blown a tire, but I felt like I was driving on ice. The next thing I knew, I was covered in water from my waist up. It took me a few seconds to realize I was hanging upside down by my seatbelt. The water had come in through the open window.”

My husband does not swim. If the crash had knocked him out, he’d have drowned. And because the car settled under the bridge, no one driving along would have seen it. He might have lain there for days before anyone discovered him.

I shivered at the thought. “How did you get out?” I said.

“I wrestled my seatbelt open and crawled through the window. I couldn’t find my glasses—the impact knocked them off. But I managed to crawl up the bank and walk down the road to Bill McConkey’s. He called the sheriff to report my accident.” I looked up at his eyes, clear brown and alive, then down again quick into the murky water.

Not until later that night did I let the tears flow. I sobbed my remorse to the Lord for the creekful of times I’d been impatient with Kev, the harsh words, the stubbornness. I admitted how I’d taken him for granted; not appreciated how he enriched and nourished me. And how quickly a single act can snatch a loved one from your life.

9-11 might have been Kevin’s burial day. For many it was.

I won’t pretend to understand why thousands had to say an early goodbye to loved ones that horrible September day, and I circumvented that grief. I know God didn’t will the horror of 9-11. Evil men planned it, and He never allies Himself with evil.

But just as He caused gardens to grow from the rubble and gave hope to broken hearts in the aftermath of 9-11, He has given me another day, another decade, another chance to love. I don’t need to figure it out to say, “Thank You” for that.

What are you thankful for today?