A tragedy transformed
This is Part 5 of my personal reflection series 35 years a saint. You can read my introduction here.
“You stay there, Danny. I’m just going to straighten it out.”
I live in a semi-rural neighborhood composed of a conglomeration of small farmhouses on multiple acres, slightly larger homes on less than an acre, mini-mansion developments, and just about everything in-between. So it’s not unusual to find a small bungalow with a gravel driveway next to a spacious home with a paved parking lot.
This home with the parking lot is just a few doors down from me and 35 years ago was owned by a family with 4 children, the youngest two a 15-year-old son and a two-year-old little boy. Anxious to get his driver’s license, the 15-year-old would practice his driving and maneuvering in his own driveway and sizable parking area and this one day in 1986 let little Danny ride along as he drove up and down, forward and reverse.
When it was time to go in he parked the vehicle and they both got out, but Danny’s very sweet and loving big brother noticed that he had parked it a little crooked. Telling Danny to stay put, he got back in the car to park it properly perpendicular to the front edge of the little lot.
Let this be a lesson for all of us.…two-year-olds should not be left unattended near a moving vehicle no matter who is driving it. Danny did not understand the danger nor why he should obey his brother and probably thinking he should be along for the ride again, did not stay put.
Another neighbor told me about the accident a few days later, how Danny had gotten run over in his own yard by his own brother. And that he was already home….and recovering. His pelvis had been crushed but he required no surgery, only to be wrapped and bedridden for about a week. I don’t throw “miracle” around very much but I think Danny’s return to being a healthy, active, happy child within a few weeks after getting run over by a two-ton machine might qualify.
Though I had only met this family once when they hosted a neighborhood “block party,” I sent flowers and a balloon with wishes for a speedy recovery, which was not typical of me. Even now I don’t often think to send flowers when even a friend or family member is sick. Might that have been God’s doing, to get me in contact with Danny’s mother? Well, my contention has been that he was doing something in my mind and heart to stir me up to seek him, so for him to put a particular thought or idea in my head is not inconsistent with that.
Perhaps, then, God also prompted me to ask my neighbor when she called to thank me if I could come visit her. Or maybe I simply recognized it as the natural next step in my quest, because when I talked with her at their block party I was attracted and intrigued by her genuine, unaffected, integrated faith. Whatever she had, I suspected, was what I was missing.
This neighbor figures largely in my story, as I’ll explain next time. A horrible accident that could have been totally tragic, destroying several lives, resulted instead in much life-producing fruit.…in me, my children, and Danny as well. He and my sons became best buds, formed a band together, and are still good friends, though they each live in different states. A few years ago at Dan’s wedding when the time came for the toast, his brother tearfully recalled the accident that could have killed him. And he mentioned me, because he saw how God used that terrible time for eternal good. How he took deep anguish, pain, fear, and brokenness and brought healing, and wholeness, and life.
Related post: https://caroline-smith.com/2015/01/13/my-testimony/