Time slowed. The sound of metal against metal was excruciating on the ears. It was over in seconds. But the thoughts that had been running through my head while it was happening were complex and detailed. It was like I was in a scene from a movie. Choices, actions, reactions and then – impact!
I was driving below the speed limit straight along the perfectly straight road. With disbelief I saw the car turning from the side street towards me and into my path. I saw the look of shock on the driver’s face as she realised she was going to hit me.
All I could think about was my 21 year old daughter who was asleep in the passenger seat next to me. My thoughts were entirely protective. I felt like mother bear protecting her cub. Something primal and energy filled roared within me, yet kept me calm and rational, as I determined my options. This was more than an emotion, more than a feeling, it was like an energy force.
In that second, which split into multiple slow motion frame shots, I had more time to think than it took me to articulate my thoughts later. I calculated that the car coming towards my side was on target to directly hit me in the front passenger door. I looked in the lane of oncoming traffic and noted that there was nothing coming towards me so I could swerve into the oncoming lane without causing further problems. I remember recognising that there was nothing I could do to avoid being hit so I had to minimise the danger. Fortunately, she was moving from stopped so she wouldn’t be at full speed. I considered my options. Would it cause less harm to speed up or slow down, to speed up she’d hit the rear of my car, to slow down she’d hit the front passenger door. I had choices. I remember thinking that my daughter was off on her big overseas experience in two days and had already had a few challenges she’d had to climb over to go… I was not going to let this stop her! So I took the action I’d determined and swerved into the oncoming lane, slightly sped up… and braced myself for the inevitable impact!
My rear passenger door took the brunt of the smash. The other car slid along the side of my car causing three panels to be affected. Both cars stopped in the middle of the road. We were unhurt. The driver of the other car was unhurt. Shaken. Jittery. Shocked. Unhurt. My head replaying the images over and over. I’d lived longer than the seconds it took for the incident to occur. My daughter woke up with the sound and our sudden stop. “What happened?” “You’re alright!” I assured her. I drove off the road, out of the traffic and walked back towards the other car. I felt sorry for her, this other driver who’d made a wrong choice. “You’re alright!” I assured her.
Afterwards I articulated the events from the moment I saw the other car coming towards me to the moment we hit. It took minutes to describe all the thoughts that had gone through my head. Where did this energy come from? Where did this huge tidal wave of love roaring within me come from? Where did the calm, orderly way I’d reasoned and made decisions come from? How could it be that I had thought all these things in what must have really been at the most a 4 second period of time? How does time stand still? How does love energize? It was almost spiritual – something outside of my ordinary experience… a picture of God’s love which transcends time and place. God’s love which is far greater than we can give to our fellow human travellers. God’s love which is for everyone in our world.
A mirror moment. How often as Christian’s do we think we’re a cut above the rest? How often do we see ourselves as being greater in God’s eyes than those of other faiths? How often do we try and determine whether someone is ‘cutting it’ or not? How often do we fall short of reflecting God’s love to others?
Hmmm… doesn’t the bible say a lot about God’s greatness, power and love….
Read Psalm 136
and the famous John 3:16
God loved the people of this world so much that he gave his only Son, so that everyone who has faith in him will have eternal life and never really die.
God’s love. So great. It’s impossible to truly understand it, let alone truly reflect it!
Mirror moment – when in front of you, you see reflected your inner self staring back at you. And sometimes what you see makes you stop and think and change!