Last week there was an accident across the street from our local elementary school. Henry and I saw the aftermath when we drove by lots of police cars and officers. Initially we worried that there had been an active shooter at the school, but fortunately that was not the case. Instead, a woman lost control of her car due to “a medical emergency” while dropping off her child at the school. As you can see in the photo above, she drove through a cinderblock fence, went across a yard, and took out one corner of a house (where you can see plywood in the photo).
One neighbor reported that “everybody is OK and no one was injured.” That may be somewhat true on a bone-breaking, physical level, but deeper hurts happened. I have found myself praying for that mother and child—and especially the child, who most likely witnessed the crash, whether or not they were in the car with mom when it happened. I can imagine lots of adrenaline-related stress response, shock, and fear. I imagine trauma, resulting in future fears about getting in or being in a car. I wonder about the child’s ability to trust mom in similar situations.
I also wonder about the mother’s response and fears. Whatever medical issue caused her to lose control of the car, she may fear that it will return and she will lose control again. She may fear driving, have nightmares about hitting a child (fortunately, that didn’t happen!), or face other concerns. She also has to deal with the insurance company and perhaps a fearfully angry spouse, all of which will have an impact on her body, and her soul, and her spirit.
She also may not have control over what caused that medical emergency. Lately, I’ve been pondering my own lack of control over medical issues that are arising for me. For years, I’ve had a diagnosis of osteopenia, and this year it’s finally shifted to osteoporosis, despite my best efforts to exercise regularly, eat healthfully, and take calcium. Osteoporosis runs on both sides of my family, so it seems to be part of my genetic inheritance—and thus outside my control. I can ignore and deny it (and I recently learned about an in-law family member who did just that and is now suffering from very breakable bones), or I can take medications and learn new forms of exercise. I’m choosing the latter.
I’ve pondered our lack of control in the past, from cultural and technological perspectives. We don’t always have control over our medical lives, but we do have control over how we respond. It requires being conscious about how we live our lives and embrace our community when we need support on the journey.
I pray that the mother and child will get the help they need, medically and emotionally/spiritually, to recover from this accident. I pray that there won’t be any additional headaches for the retired homeowners whose house and wall were damaged. I pray that I will have patience and perseverance in taking control of my response to the reality of osteoporosis in my life.
What similar prayers do you need to be embracing in this season of your life?