THREE YEARS AGO.
A hand full of us were at the church for Worship Team practice, waiting for Tony to show up. He was always the early one, so that was definitely unusual. None of us could have imagined what his delay involved.
All at once, he burst through the sanctuary doors, sobbing. "Christi just called. There's been a terrible accident! I don't even know where they are -- somewhere between Pittsburg, KS & Kansas City". My blood ran cold. His daughter, Christi, was and is one of my dearest friends.
We all gathered around Tony and fervently prayed. As soon as we were finished, he headed for the door to go home, pick up his wife Sue, and pack a quick bag. I felt an overwhelming, urgent need to go with them. My dear friend was facing tragedy, although none of us had any idea of the extent.
The next thing I knew, I was in the back seat, headed towards Kansas City. We were in a constant state of prayer, holding our breath every time the cell phone rang. Words like "life flighted" were being used, and we knew it was bad. Really bad.
We were desperate to get to Christi, who had been taken to a hospital. Her son, Josiah (age 2 at the time), had been taken to a different hospital, over at Children's in KC. No word on the husband, Ian, who was driving, other than he had been bleeding from his ears. Not a good sign at all.
The miles stretched ahead in agony. Every single mile seemed to pass in slow motion.
Then we got the phone call we all dreaded and hoped not to receive. "Ian didn't make it." No words can express the blow those 4 little words carried. Raw sorrow. We knew that Christi's husband was gone before she even knew. And our desperation to get to her suddenly doubled.
Before we could get to Christi's hospital room, she had received the news. I can't imagine how alone she felt hearing those words that would forever change her life. Wondering how her little boy was faring over at Children's Hospital, with head injuries and possible broken bones.
Miraculously, Christi had virtually escaped the accident without injury. A few cuts & bruises was all. I remember helping her get out of her hospital bed, and brushing away chards of glass that were left behind on the sheet. We made a quick trip to their apartment, so that Christi could shower off and hastily pack a bag, then we headed straight to Children's Hospital.
Christi held Josiah close & rocked him for a long time. All he wanted was his mommy. God's hand was on that little boy, protecting him from a more serious injury one would have expected. If you could see a picture of the wreckage, you wouldn't think anyone could have survived that accident.
It was a day that would change many lives forever. Including mine. Through it all, Christi has maintained a beautiful testimony for Christ. You can read her first hand account here. The moral of the story is: appreciate your loved ones now, as none of us are guaranteed another single breath.