Post-Crash Thoughts (Fear is an Ugly Thing)
If you know anything about ABC's Lost, you know that the story shared by Jack Shepherd here is a half-truth. In the actual scene, it was his father (the supervising surgeon) who told him to count to five and to get back to work. Nevertheless, the fear was real for this character. And on October 5th at 10:38 PM, my fear was very real.
While driving back from an excellent time away in Old Sudbury for Northern Summit with a few of our Master's College and Seminary First Year student, our van got a call from one of the students in the second van, letting me know that their van had gone off the road and into a ditch. I quickly turned around to make our way back to them.
As our students began to pray, my mind was filled with fear. Stomach-churning fear. How bad is the crash? What happens if someone is badly injured or worse? What do I do? What if...? What about...?
I don't know if there is a worse sight than driving to an accident and seeing red flashing lights, knowing that it is because of people under your care. Because we had almost fallen in the same ditch, we knew exactly where they were, pulled over and ran to our friends. I went to our driver and gave her a hug while repeating, "it's okay. it's okay." I looked at the van. Somehow, our driver was able to keep the car moving and got the car out of the ditch and if you didn't know, the car looked like it was simply parked there. The girls were scared and a little scarred but they were okay too. Still, I was afraid.
(SIDE NOTE: Isn't it funny how we can always make someone else's trauma about ourselves?)
I was asked to move my car and while I walked back, that's when it got me. I didn't know what to do. This job wasn't for me. I was going to get in trouble. These students would hate their experience. I was going to throw up...all that stuff. I got in the van and called Rich to leave a message on his phone, hands shaking. Then I did it. Counted to five. Sought God for guidance. Then got out and put in that work.
And when I wasn't afraid, neither were the students. In fact, they were better than I was: starting prayer meetings in our van while I drove like a maniac. Calling those injured to make sure they were okay. Moving stuff from the damaged van to our van. Never letting someone be by themselves. Calling the school to get rides for us. Writing notes so we knew where the van & ambulance were going. Keeping spirits up.
And it went beyond those of us on the ground. In San Diego, our 3rd Years caught wind of the situation and while placing a weird gnome in various places for pictures, they stopped to pray for us. Students on a travel team trip in Eastern Ontario did the same thing. And of course, our amazing students at 780 Argyle were standing for us too (Thanks for the Facebook posts too. I know you know you why we had to take it down but no one doubts your hearts and intentions!). It went even further having two great students drive out to get us our in Lindsay. And how cool was it to have Linda and Graham Gibson there to help us bring back our injured 4 back to the school and to help me stay awake:)
And it DOESN'T stop! Our president emailed into the night with plans, praise and prayers and his wife started her morning with encouraging tweets and notes towards us. And lastly, our students in the crash and on the trip were models of dealing with a crisis. Should anything ever negative happen to them while they pastor, they will be more than okay. I really do love them a lot and was proud of them all. Go #chosen12.
October 5th could have been the worst night ever, erasing an amazing weekend of ministry and relational connections. Instead, it was a night that pushes us closer together and further in our callings. Meghan, Sarah, Rebecca, Cassie, Jenna & Samantha : Your stories are now extended. Make good on God's faithfulness. Be our examples.
And show no fear.
(SIDE NOTE: Thanks #chosen12 for being so kind to me and for your loving encouragement. Glad that my first trip had you all on board!)