I don’t remember much at all, other than the shock of it and the chaos. She was running towards me and I was expecting a hug, not a violent shove. I flew back several feet and skidded on the gravel. I remember a woman screaming and then I was picked up by someone and carried away. My mom told me today that woman was named Jody. After that, I really can’t remember much.
But my mom remembers it vividly.
We lived in the country, outside of town, and I attended one of the last few tiny school houses left standing. I usually walked home with my friends.
That day, my mom said she was in the kitchen when she felt *something* come over her. If you ask her to describe what this *something* was, she can’t. But it was strong, couldn’t be ignored. It wasn’t fear – it was more like a sense of knowing. But of what? A sense of urgency with no explanation. All she knew is that it had to do with me and she didn’t have time to waste.
When she pulled in front of the school, the *something* grew stronger. Not quite fear, but more like a command to snap to attention. My mom scanned the crowd of children flooding from the school. There I was, standing unknowingly on the school’s stoop. I happened to see her and made my way towards her. I must have been surprised – wasn’t I to walk home?
The path to my mom forced me to cross between two parked cars. That’s when, as if on cue, a large truck turned the corner.
We’re talking seconds now. She ran, she pushed, I flew and the truck hit my mom and rolled over her body.
Two big thumps dug her deep into gravel. She would be bruised from the neck down for a few weeks, but there wasn’t a single broken bone. Thank God for old, tiny school houses with parking lots made of dirt and gravel.
From then on, we’ve always been left to the mystery of that *something*. The same great something that has puzzled and intrigued mankind since the beginning.
Some might say it was a coincidence. Or perhaps maternal instinct. Like when a mother just knows when her child is gone and then the phone rings. Or maybe it’s that juice that kicks in when a 115 lb woman lifts a tractor off her child’s leg.
For me, I like to think of the book of Acts when Peter is asleep in a jail cell and an angel hits him over the head. Startled, Peter wakes up and sees his shackles are open. “Quick!” the angel says, “Get up!”
Peter thought he was in a dream, but he did was he told. My mom did too.
That story has impacted my life in ways hard to describe. I’ll be honest, it’s a gift to be aware you were given a second chance. My life is no better, no more precious, with no more purpose than any one else – I’ve just been given an experience that makes me realize there’s more than meets the eye. Like a person healed from a terminal disease, or someone who survives a plane crash – you have a secondary awareness. That *something* stays with you. It’s strong, can’t be ignored. It’s not fear – more like a sense of knowing. But of what? A sense of urgency with no explanation.
All I know is it has to do with me and I don’t have time to waste.