Tuesday, July 7, 2009

the story of sam

meet samuel jon. this is sam at a little over a year of age.

this story is very hard for me to tell, but i felt it was time to share it publicly. my hope is that others can learn what i learned, without having to suffer what i went through in order to learn it.

for the most part, gunther and i have a healthy relationship. yet, we are not without our problems. like most couples, there are those issues that we skirt around: things i bring to his attention that he does not see, areas of weakness in my life that my husband may point out, but I choose to disregard. the popular rationale tends to be that because the criticism comes from our spouse it must not be valid. after all, what does he know? he’s just being crabby, or critical, or it’s really his issue, not mine. right? are you with me? you know what i’m talking about, don’t you?

several years ago, gunther pointed out to me that i was afraid. me. afraid. whatever. i was raised to be a strong, independent, often adventurous woman. and i am. yet from time to time, as a result of something i would say, or do, he would express concern at an undercurrent of fear in my life. as the months progressed he brought this “fear” to my attention – often. it began to become a source of real irritation for me – and one of concern for gunther. i continued to disregard his comments and to insist that he was perhaps not seeing things as clearly as he supposed.

(look at the expression on this little man's face - gives you a clue into his personality!)

one weekend we went to a marriage seminar put on by our church. we like to “tune up” our marriage when we have the chance. bob and carolyn whitaker were the speakers. something bob said that weekend hit me like a ton of bricks: (paraphrased) “we tend to disregard the remarks made about us by our mate – when in fact, because our mate is the closest person to us, it is actually their observations that we should take the most to heart”.

immediately i knew. not that i agreed with what gunther had been telling me, but rather that i at least needed to examine whether there was validity before i just tossed out what he had to say. i remember feeling a little scared (hmm, that’s curious isn’t it?) and i offered up a quick prayer, “Lord, i’m sure my husband’s out to lunch on this one, but just in case, if there is any fear in my life, would You please show me?” subject closed. moved on.

fast forward a couple months. as a regular practice, each summer our entire family spends a week together at the lake. we love water sports and we love each other, and it’s a great time to connect and play and relax. this particular year we went to lake shasta. oh - i love that place. we rented a vacation home at the lake, and the fun began.

we came from all directions, and there were a lot of cars parked on the street in front of the house. one day, a couple days into the week, we were all taking a break after lunch, relaxing before the next wakeboarding run. i thought i would go out front and move some of the vehicles off the street. i wanted to park them more tightly on the driveway so the neighbors would not be upset with us (ask anyone who lives on a street where there are vacation houses – it can be a real pain for the locals).

(sam and his big sissy)

i moved the first couple of cars and was backing the 3rd car into place, driving onto a big pebbled portion of the drive, when i felt a bump. i stopped - curious – hmm – must’ve just been a bigger rock amongst the pebbles – moved again – again a bump.

then i heard the screams.

i could tell they were coming from under the car. i recognized the tiny voice as that of our then youngest grandchild, samuel. he was only 18 mos. old at the time. i opened the car door, my heart in my throat. some of our guys heard the crying and ran to the car – within seconds they had literally lifted up the car and pulled sam out from under it.

somehow samuel had followed me out of the house - unseen. he had been knocked down and scraped up. miraculously, there was a depression in the dirt, and he fell right into it. there was barely enough room between samuel and the undercarriage of the car. centimeters, really. quick examination proved that the tires had missed him – the car had driven over him, but did not drive on him. he was scraped, bruised and terrified, but physically okay.

i, on the other hand, was in hysterics. even as i write this the tears are streaming down my face. the shame. the guilt. the “what ifs”. the reality that i could’ve killed my precious grandson. gunther ran to me and grabbed me as i collapsed in his arms, sobbing. the first thing out of my mouth was tremendously revealing: i gulped through the sobs, “the thing i have feared the most has come upon me”.

and then again i knew. i was afraid. afraid that something might happen to someone i love. afraid of loss. afraid of accidents and peril. afraid of failure. afraid of fear. afraid.

fear is a terrible enemy. to live in fear is to invite all kinds of bondage and paralysis. it opens doors and access points to darkness and evil. that may sound extreme, but think for a moment – you probably know someone whose life is marked with fear. how has it affected them, and their family? the outcome is just no good.

i knew at the time of the accident that i would need help in identifying and routing fear in my life. so without delay, when we returned from vacation i set about immediately to get the assistance i needed. somehow i knew that if i put it off, i might talk myself into not following through. “i can handle this on my own”, “i don’t really want others to know what i did”, or “it’s not all that bad after all.” i am thankful that i was able to get support – and fast. i needed to face the fears, and deal with them - to address the guilt and the shame of having run over sam. i am grateful to those who helped me through the fear. grateful to my family and my children for their mercy toward me.

i am thankful for God’s grace, especially to forgive myself for what happened. you could’ve told me until you were blue in the face that i wasn’t to blame, but i needed to forgive myself nonetheless. i needed to allow myself to receive the mercy offered me so that i could find peace.

and i am thankful for our friend james. james had been housesitting for us in our absence. when he learned of the incident, he was overcome. for two days at the beginning of the week – he was so troubled that he literally could not sleep. he could not shake the feeling in his gut that something awful, something terribly horrible was going to happen to our family. he prayed, and he prayed and he prayed for God to protect us and to avert disaster. he prayed, until, at last, a sense of peace replaced the sense of doom. thank you my friend. thank you for fighting when we weren’t even aware there was a war. your goodness to our entire family has not been forgotten.

is there a moral to all this? maybe several. i still don’t like it when gunther points out my faults or my failures – but if i can’t take it from the one who loves me the most, who can i take it from? God in His divine care, will sometimes allow us to suffer so that He can work more of His character into our lives. and remember, God never sleeps. He’s got your back. no need to fear with a Guardian like that.