In the Old Testament of the Bible, people were encouraged to make memorials at places where God did miraculous things. Often, these were made of stone and meant to be permanent reminders for future generations of what God had done in that place.
I think we are wise to create similar memorials in our own lives, whether tangible markers or written words, spoken tales or photographs. It is good to go back to places we have been and say, “This is my story. This is what God did for me. Let me talk about this, so that we never lose our sense of awe and wonder over the amazing things God has seen us through.”
July 6th is a memorial stone for our family because one year ago today, I almost lost my oldest son Zach. He was in a serious motorcycle accident in Melbourne, Florida. He lost control and hit the corner of a house–with his head. If he hadn’t been wearing a helmet, he’d have died on impact. We later found out that the first responders were told to prepare the scene for an investigation. I don’t remember the exact terminology my EMT friend gave me, but it was something used only when they expect a fatality.
We’re wrapping up another Florida vacation now. I made sure that we took a detour around Melbourne. I have no desire to ever revisit that stretch of highway that I sat on for hours, stuck in traffic, trying to get to my injured son, my husband and other kids who had all been visiting a relative when the accident happened. I don’t ever want to go to Melbourne again.
I don’t need to rehash how horrifying it was to see my son unconscious, blood-soaked and intubated. What it was like tag-teaming at the hospital so far from home, and seeing your child struggle so hard to regain what he lost. It’s been a long, hard year in many ways. I’m not going to go into all of that, either.
What I will do, though, is focus on the awe and wonder of God sparing my son. Life is so dang fragile, so short. Yesterday, a man was lost at sea, almost directly in front of our resort. A friend’s husband died of a massive heart attack yesterday, too. They all woke up yesterday thinking it would be a normal day. Just like I woke up July 6th, 2016 expecting a normal day on vacation. We just never know what the next minute holds. This moment–this one–it’s all we have.
I think about how different all my moments would’ve been if we’d lost Zach a year ago. It’s really unimaginable, though I see it in the lives of those around me who are trying to find a new normal with a huge piece of their hearts now gone. I’m so grateful that isn’t me, not now, not today. I feel absolutely terrible for saying that, but I know how it feels to come so close. None of us deserve the blessing of being spared that pain.
All we can do now is say thanks to God by the way we live our lives, living the remainder of our days through Him and for Him.
For if there is one thing I can say about my God, He is a good, good Father.