May 09, 2012

the day I should have been widowed

At around 6 a.m. today, Daniel's strong arm slipped behind my neck and he kissed my forehead goodbye, waking me up, if only just a little.

"Goodbye," I muttered, rolling over and pulling the covers back over my shoulder.  I heard him leave the room and then the house, and I went back to sleep, sure that I would see him in three days, as planned.

About that same time, Xiao Fu and her husband were asleep across town, under the comforter that we gave them for Christmas last year.  She woke with a start, a gnawing feeling in her spirit that wouldn't go away.  Her husband laid his hand on the top of her head and they prayed against whatever evil was causing her unrest.

At just before 7 a.m., less than an hour outside of our city, Daniel and John noticed a vehicle blocking the highway ahead.  Daniel was able to come to a complete stop, glad that calamity had been avoided.

But it had not.

Two cars back, a heavy cargo truck loaded high with stacks of empty concrete bags barreled into the car directly behind Daniel, pinning that car against the guard rail, which then sent the cargo truck up and over, landing on Daniel's van, crushing every part of it but the very place where Daniel and John were sitting.  Then, our van with the cargo truck on top of it smashed into the log truck in front of Daniel, tin-canning the rest of Daniel's van.  Daniel and John looked at each other and Daniel yelled, "We've got to get out of here!", not knowing if more cars were going to pile in on them.  They tried their doors but could not open them.  Daniel kicked at the shattered windshield in an attempt to escape, and John started kicking at the passenger side door.  Someone was on the other side of John's door, pulling at it while he kicked, and eventually the door came open.  People began to gather, sure they would see dead bodies.  There were none.  Had our guys even been hurt, they could have bled to death waiting on the emergency vehicles, which took almost 2 hours to arrive. 
See that white-ish thing on top of our van that has hooked itself into the cargo truck's load?  That is our brand new dining table, just delivered last week, and it is stopping that truck from sliding over the driver's cab and killing our husbands.  Daniel and John were on their way to our new city when this happened, to tie up some loose ends and deliver our more valuable belongings, to save a little money with the moving company.  The table, which we paid for with the earnings from our moving sale and which we were thrilled to have because it was big enough for our family of six plus two guests, had been carefully wrapped (by Daniel) in cellophane and strapped to the top of the van.  Daniel didn't want it to get damaged if it were to rain on the 12-hour trip.  A bit ironic, huh?

Our new dining table was not all that was lost.  Our van is totaled, obviously, and "insurance" is a loose term over here. Daniel has been texting me all day from the "trial" in which he and John are testifying, completely in their second language, mind you, about what happened this morning.  Thankfully Xiao Fu is standing there with them, and let me tell you, she might be a sweetheart, but if someone tries to mess with her friends or family, she will throw down!

This wreck was so bad that mine and Alisa's stand mixers - which were riding in the back and were so heavy and solid that I could not lift mine by myself - were both cut in two.  When I think that Daniel's body came within a foot of being cut in two, I get goosebumps all over.  Its been coming in waves all day.  I'll be sweeping crumbs from under the highchairs or pouring juice into sippy cups and I'll just take a knee, right then and there, overcome with gratitude that my husband is alive.

It's crazy.  When we were having our moving sale last week, someone talked Daniel down to 65 kuai for our coffee maker, and I was like, "Oh, Babe, we could have SO gotten 100 kuai for that!"  It makes me feel sick to recall it now.  Gosh, it's all just stuff, and it can burn as far as I'm concerned!  Alisa and I have our husbands, and they aren't even hurt. Look at these pictures.  They should have been rendered disabled at the very least, but he and John just walked away, a bad sunburn from a day on the roadside and some flecks of glass in John's shins being their chief complaints.

Right after it happened this morning, after the kids had been fed their breakfast, we opened our devotional to none other than a teaching on Revelation 21.  Coincidence?  I think not.  No more coincidence than Xiao Fu waking up to pray for us before dawn, even if she didn't know she was praying for us exactly.  Friends, Revelation 21:1 reads, "Then I saw a new heaven, and a new earth, for the first heaven and the first earth had passed away..."

All of this will burn one day.  None of our dining tables nor minivans will last.  All of our money will get used up or become worthless.  All of our degrees and awards will be forgotten.  All that will pass from this world into the next are people.

Hold your people.  Look your people in the eyes.  Forget your stuff.

I should have been widowed today.  Instead, I will warm up a huge plate of leftovers for my husband when he finally gets home, holding him tight and praising G0D for one more day.
That is the cargo truck, less than 18 inches from Daniel's head.
The crush was so powerful that it lifted Daniel's corner of the vehicle that far off the ground.
This is our van, after the truck had been removed from atop of it (with a crane).  That is the roof-rack that Daniel designed, which paired with the wrapped dining table, acted like a press, turning our van into a pancake.  Daniel said the van's frame buckled just behind their heads.
The miracle seats.  Look where that roof stopped falling, literally where Daniel's head starts.
That is John and what is left of our van.
That is the crane removing the truck from the top of our van.  Daniel and John walked away from this.