Friday, August 03, 2007

The End Was Our Beginning

There are moments in your life when you must make a choice. A choice to live, a choice to harbor past pains or to forgive, a choice to believe. Choices are not chance or fate, they are not a flip of a coin or a lucky number.  Choosing is a deliberate act often made solely in faith. H and I became starkly aware of the reality of our choice on our way home from Hua Hin.

We left Hua Hin somewhat relieved. This part of our journey was coming to an end and there was nothing more that we could do in Thailand to better acclimate Prim to us, her new family.  We knew that the end of this trip was truly the beginning for our family and we were anxious to begin the long trek home.

Our ride out of Hua Hina and into Bangkok began uneventful. We were driven once again by a local man whose family will always hold a very dear place in our hearts. We talked about his job as a General select in the Thai military, the future of their country with an aging, beloved King, local history and historical anecdotes to pass along to Prim. It only took a single moment and a small pothole for him to lose control of the car.

At 65 miles per hour the car skidded from one side of the highway to the other as the Colonel struggled to regain control of the vehicle.  We crashed into another vehicle, pushing it out of its lane, as motorists around us frantically tried to avoid the collision.  In a matter of seconds we were turned around in a full tailspin while skidding to the opposite side of the highway.  In that last moment, as we slid towards a steep embankment that separated one side of the highway from another, I saw each second in a calm, almost movie like slow motion.

As our car neared the ravine we could feel that one side of the car was no longer gripping the road, and as we began to overturn, H turned around in his seat and screamed at me to hold onto Prim. I will never forget the look on his face as he sat helpless in the front seat.

It's funny the things you remember when your body is confronted with a crisis. I remember as we jerked from one side of the highway to another that I made a mental inventory. G in a lap belt but not safe in a car seat. Prim sitting on my lap, no seat belt. Hung in the front belted along with the Colonel.  The tires screeching were louder than I would have imagined.  I remember a feeling of warmth and heaviness come around my arms as I held tight to Prim.  At some point I tried to reach over and put my hand on G but I was too far away and I thought to myself he's going to be scared.  I remember, when the car settled itself upside down, taking a deep breath because I was still holding Prim even as I was upside down and shaking in my seat . 

H and the Colonel got out of their seat belts with lightening speed. There we were, suspended upside down and all I could do was thank God for helping me hold onto Prim.  As they took the kids so I could free myself and finally on the ceiling of the overturned car, my senses became electrified with fear. All I could smell was gasoline.  It was so strong that it made our space feel incredibly small. I looked at Hung, probably frantic and said I smell gas to which he nodded while obviously looking for a way out. We scrambled to open the doors while trying to remain calm to no avail.  The way the car had landed made it impossible for us to open the doors from the inside.

I don't know when it happened but suddenly my passenger door was wrenched open. Unbeknownst to us many people had stopped to assist us and as soon as I saw hands come through the door I shoved Prim towards them, grabbed G and then thrust him towards another pair of anonymous hands.  I crawled out on my hands and knees, barefoot with H and the Colonel following behind us.

I was so relieved and overwhelmed at the amount of Thai people who stopped to help us and were sharing their umbrellas to shade us from the hot afternoon son.  A small, kind-faced woman had been holding Prim and I remember grabbing her from this woman's arms and holding her tight. I couldn't even catch my breath enough to say thank you. I could only hold my children tight and thank God for keeping us safe.

I am still amazed by the miracles that we witnessed that day. We walked away from a serious accident without even a scratch. Not a bruise, not a bump. I  believe that God wrapped his arms around my daughter that day. I do not know how I held onto her during those precarious moments. He prepared us only days before for this accident with a five minute conversation. On the way to Hua Hin H and I had a discussion about how we would seat the children in the car because of the absence of many seat belts and car seats in Thailand. I had been adamant about belting Prim in with me and H insisted that she not be belted at all because the force my body would make against hers in the event of an accident.  I did not agree but allowed H to make the final decision and I will always be thankful for his wisdom.  I could not have been suspended upside down with her sharing my lap belt without causing her serious if not fatal injuries. 

On the side of the highway outside of Bangkok, we bowed our heads and thanked God for His mercy and protection.  A long time ago, for both of us, we made a choice. A choice to place our lives, our trust, our faith into the hands of a loving and all knowing God and his Son, Jesus Christ. We know that this choice doesn't exclude us from heartache or disaster. We aren't automatically exempt from trials and tests of faith and courage. But what we were given was a promise. A promise of eternal salvation. The promise that regardless of our earthly wants, desires and hopes, that God in Heaven awaits us. The promise that in life or death God will be there in the midst of it all.  That regardless of our circumstances, we are covered by the Blood shed for us on Calvary.

In the end we found our beginning. We boarded planes, came home and began our life as a family of four. We know there will be heartache, laughter and tears. But more importantly, there will be miracles each and every day if we look hard enough. There is a new life to shape and love, a little boy to teach and grow into a man. A family to grow in service to Him and His kingdom.


Anonymous said...

Oh April,H, G and Prim,
My first reaction of course was sheer shock and terror as I read your story. My second reaction - to pray to God with all gratitude for protecting you all and keeping you safe. My third, tears.
I cannot begin to imagine the terror you all experienced, words cannot express how sorry I am for your experience, but also how Thankful I am that none of you were hurt.
You wrote with such feeling, and you so gracefuly and precisily described life, it's miracles, the choices and gently reminded day at a time...this moment is what matters...don't take anything for granted...believe and have faith...
Thank you April.
Our thoughts are with you all, our prayers in appreciation for your safety, and our blessings as you begin your 'new' journey as four.
Sharon, Mike and Nong Ex.

Hannah said...

April - I'm sorry you had to all go through that. I do not practice the same faith as you but your words are beautiful and I find it hard to not see a greater hand being with you. I'm really happy you are all home safe and sound!!!!!!!

Anonymous said...

a miracle, i dont know what else to say, just so very glad you are all safe. Gem x

A Special Family said...

I have tears in my eyes. I am so glad that you have Grace, only wished I had been online to watch it unfold. Will definately be checking in regularly now. So glad you are all safe.

Robin and Kyle said...

You had me very scared reading your entry. We are so glad your family is safe and sound. Welcome home.

Anonymous said...

Okay, I was so scared reading this and still can't get over what you all went through. I am just so glad that everyone is okay. Love, Lynn

Missy @ It's Almost Naptime said...


Just, WOW.

And praising God, who would NOT let his plans be thwarted by an Satan-engineered car accident!!

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