Thursday, March 8, 2012

Morning by Morning New Mercies I See

We pulled into the camp site that was nestled in a hillside. It was a beautiful little spot, nice and level and once the camper was set up, we had a nice view of the pond. We couldn't have picked a more suitable place except for one thing. A two lane country road ran along the top of the hill and the occasional car seemed awfully close. My husband remarked that he felt uncomfortable there, imagining a car leaving the road and landing smack on the top of our pop-up.

Once camp was set up, we went down the road to our adventure of the day. We were going to a Native American pow wow, something we had wanted to do for a while. My ancestors were, in part, Monacan Indians, and we were curious as to their ways and customs. We were gone the entire day, and when the boys began to make noise, we packed everyone back into the car and drove through the dusk back to the campsite. Everyone was scrubbed down and prepared for bed and as it approached 10pm, something happened that I would never forget.

Out of the blue, there came the most horrific squealing of breaks and the tearing sound of metal hitting metal. The night went absolutely silent, then the cries started. Growing louder and louder, the cries turned into screams and I knew I had to do something. We were the closest to the road, there were people in trouble, and we needed to help them. I grabbed up our still damp towels, told my oldest to stay put and watch his sleeping brothers and took off up the dark lane. My husband was in close pursuit, begging me not to go, afraid of what I might find when I got there. I told him I MUST go, and kept on running until the accident came into sight.

At the entrance of the campground, a minivan was crammed into the bank and on the opposite side of the road, a large truck was upside down in the ditch. A woman was staggering around in the road, calling for someone to help her husband who was pinned behind the wheel of the minivan, moaning and crying out to her and his son in the back seat. My mind wheeled and whirled. I didn't know first aid beyond the most basic...after all I was the mother of three boys...but this was big stuff. This was HUGE, and there I stood with a few damp towels and nothing else.

I went to the lady who was obviously in shock and led her gently to the bank where I got her seated. I wrapped my jacket around her to help keep her warm but by then she was shaking and I was shaking. My husband and another male camper went to the van to see what they could do for the injured man, but it was fairly obvious that they were helpless. They propped him up as best as they could and comforted him with words and prayers and I did the same with his wife on the bank. I did the only thing I could. I prayed and prayed and prayed, like I had never done before.

After a while...seemed like forever...a helicopter arrived along with ground crews and they took over. The trapped man was fading quickly and we got his wife to the side of his vehicle and they said their goodbyes and then they took him away in the chopper. He died in route to the hospital. His wife and his son were taken away to be patched up and taken away too. In the other vehicle, two people died and another was transported to an area hospital. It was all like a very bad dream and I thought such ugliness would mar me forever.

But....morning came. After a few hours sleep, I was up and making my way across a sun sparkled dewy field toward the bath house when these words came to mind. "Great is Thy faithfulness, Great is Thy faithfulness, Morning by morning, new mercies I see, All I have needed Thy hand hath provided, Great is Thy faithfulness, Lord unto me." The Lord had given me that bright and sparkly new morning and the wonderful words of that hymn to remind me that I can trust Him to make broken things new and to bring beauty from ashes.

I'll never forget that night and the horrors of the wreck. I'll also never forget the next morning and the wonder of a fresh day and a fresh start and God's enduring faithfulness.

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