I met a girlfriend for coffee in the middle of the week, snatched an hour before afternoon carpool to catch up. And we had a lot of it, catching up. A wedding, two teenage car accidents between us, and leaving the church where we met since the last time we talked. It turns out, timing is everything.
When she asked me how my daughter was doing, Murielle’s car accident didn’t even cross my mind. I was thinking teenage girl stuff, not trauma. November seems like a faded snapshot in the scrapbook of our busy lives. It was only two months since she narrowly escaped death and I’d already forgotten about it. Until I realized my girlfriend’s daughter had the same kind of accident with different results.
I’ve often doubted a few of the blurry-eyed decisions I made standing in the strewn fragments of twisted metal that night. Wondered if I should have said no to the thousand dollar ambulance drive they insisted she take to the hospital for a few moments with the doctor on call. The green scrubs with the furrowed brows who questioned why they brought her, when she seemed perfectly fine.
Her daughter said no to that ride. And the next day, she sat beside her parents in the hospital worrying about internal bleeding for the soreness and bruising. When she told me the bill was twelve thousand dollars; that her daughter struggled to finish her senior year and asked to see a counselor weeks after the accident, tears pooled in my eyes.
And I swallowed a lump of conviction floating on the surface of my latte.
I wasn’t convicted that my daughter walked away from the accident without injury. That she felt guilty about not feeling worse after being a literal inch from losing her life. Or that our bills were insignificant in comparison.
I was convicted that God doesn’t give us what we deserve. And for the way I’ve taken that for granted.
Amidst grocery shopping and meal planning, writing blog posts and leading bible studies, dusting and homework, I forgot. Forgot that every day I wake up with breath and hold my daughter on the couch after school is a gift.
Jesus gave the gift of extravagant grace in those moments He saved her life, more than I can earn in a lifetime.
I found my daughter curled up on the couch after that coffee date. Put my hand on her folded legs and told her the story about my girlfriend’s daughter. A reminder of how much God loves us, the way He illustrated that by saving her life that fateful night. We sat for a moment in silence and wiped our eyes.
Now I understand what Paul means when he says to give thanks in all circumstance, not for all of them.
How do your circumstances effect your ability to be grateful?