Several years ago I got into a terrible car accident. I had taken my eyes off the road ahead of me, and failed to see that the construction traffic had caused the highway to stand still. My car plowed into the car in front of me, and crashed over the median – end over end over end over end over end, until it landed upside down in the oncoming traffic lane. I remember bracing for the unavoidable impact, closing my eyes and putting my hands over my head in the fetal position, waiting to die. And with every flip, my conscious took note: “I’m still alive.” (7 times the car rolled).
Still alive. Still alive. Still alive. Still alive. Still alive. Still alive. Still alive.
Life on the other side of loss, is a frozen hallelujah. It is after the long, cold winter of sadness – when in the discovery of a heart that somehow keeps beating, you realize that life is unfinished.
And this unfinished journey is exhausting. You’ve lived through self-destruction, the terror of confession, the experience of rejection, and the hope of new beginnings. You lament the concrete basement, but find new mercies every morning. So you get up, again. And again.
Many of my friends have asked about my whereabouts and my what nows. I have a tendency to resurface at random times to gasp for air, only to sink again into the ocean of grace that has swallowed me whole. I have activated, deactivated and reactivated my social media accounts, depending on the latest flurry of emotion. I have joined the choir from the back room of anonymity, and found my voice singing off key – over a bridgeless chorus, and like a runaway train or a run-on sentence with no period
You can find me these days working full time with a small group of clients with Special Needs. I’m listening to laughter, brushing away tears, and teaching the Least of These how to tie shoes, brush teeth, and sweep the floor. In return, they are teaching me that joy is found in coloring books and animated movies and community breakfasts. We volunteer at local homeless shelters, feeding the hungry, and cleaning the toilets. I drive my disabled friends around in a van, and every day we find a new adventure…
I am learning that the ever-present absence of God is being rediscovered in a burning bush. The sacred in the common; Jesus at the Table of Mercy – eating macaroni and wiping the drool from paralyzed chins. Here, at the bottom of despair, is a victory march.
I have no sermons to preach, nor songs to sing. But sometimes when I close my eyes, I can still see the upside down world outside my shattered windshield, and although I will forever walk with a spiritual limp – I’m still alive.