POSTED ON FACEBOOK EARLIER TODAY: Usually, when I post that I'm off for a ride, it's so that those peeps who might try to get a'hold of me over the next few hours--particularly my children--will know that I'm not ignoring them, I'm just off the grid for a while. Today, though, I was reminded that there are those people in my life who, upon seeing that Sam and I are going to be out and about, will always offer up a quick prayer for my safety--and the Saint's, as well, if I'm riding with him. Thank you. After today, I will never take that assurance for granted. This evening it is by God's hand--quite literally--that Sam and I are back at the Casita, safe and sound. Beyond a shadow of doubt, by God's hand, people. I'll post details later, but for now, again, thank you. And thank You.
As I sit here at the Saint's desk, hours on the other side of What Happened, I'm just now realizing that despite my usual ease with words, I'm a little afraid that I won't be able to capture and corral the right ones to convey what I experienced this afternoon. But I have to try; I feel compelled to try, so I will give it a shot. (If you know me, you know I am rarely at a complete loss for words, even at those times when I—and everyone around me—would probably be better off if I were.)
It happened in on Hwy. 35 S. in Alvin, and it was a good thirty to forty minutes later—somewhere on the outskirts of West Columbia—that I finally felt quite confident that I would not, after all, need to pull over onto the shoulder and throw up.
I don't know that What Happened was a near-death experience as much as it was a near-”terrible, horrible, no good, very bad day”-with-life-altering-crippling-and-maiming kind of experience. (Unless, of course, as the Saint, responded, “Well, if the truck behind you had then run over you . . . ”. Well, yeah, then I guess if you look at it that way, it could've been a near-death experience.)
An SUV pulled over into my lane. While I was still using it. (The lane, that is.) I almost wiped out. But I didn't. There. That's it. That's what happened. A near miss, but a miss, nonetheless. That's all it was.
But that's not all it was.
Or at least it sure didn't feel like it when I was in the middle of it. And even more so when I wasn't in the middle of it anymore. When I was just on the other side of it. When, at the next traffic light, after the driver of the SUV and I had spoken to one another through her rolled-down passenger window, I finally was able to pull over into a commercial driveway on the far right side of the road, where the Saint was waiting for me.
“DID YOU SEE THAT?”
“No, I just looked in my rear view mirror, and saw that you weren't there [behind me] anymore. What happened? Are you okay?”
“Yeah.” I wasn't, but I wasn't dead either, so the default response kicked in. “Yeah. I'm okay. But, ohmigosh . . . you didn't see what happened?”
And I tried to explain it to him. The SUV was coming into my lane. Not ahead of me but into the space already occupied by me and Sam. I kept thinking the driver would see me, but (as she later explained) she obviously didn't, and in that split second I had between letting her hit me and trying some other Hail-Mary maneuver, I couldn't think of where Sam's horn was for the life of me (almost too literally there). I grabbed the brakes with my right hand, hoping to slow Sam down enough to somehow give the SUV space to clear the bulk of Sam (who, it must be noted was bearing the bulk of me), even if it clipped our front tire.
YES! FRONT TIRE INTACT! OH CRAP! [Rough translation.] BACK TIRE NOW SKIDDING AROUND TO THE RIGHT AS IF TRYING TO CATCH UP TO FRONT TIRE. IN RESPONSE, FRONT TIRE LURCHING TO THE LEFT. I'll go for the shoulder. OH, CRAP. [Loose paraphrase.] NO GRASS ON THE OTHER SIDE OF THE SHOULDER—A FREAKING CONCRETE CURB! NO MERCY THERE. OVER-CORRECT TO THE RIGHT, AND WE'LL JACKKNIFE INTO THE ROAD, AND THE TRUCK BEHIND US WILL PROBABLY RUN OVER US. WITH NO CORRECTION, THOUGH, WE'RE GOING TO HIT THE CURB ON THE LEFT, AND DEPENDING ON HOW HARD WE HIT AND AT WHAT ANGLE, I'M HITTING THE STREET. [Notice there is no we beyond slamming into the curb—any kind of curb-hitting action means I'm going to be ejected from Sam in one direction or another.] ENGINE GUARDS DRAGGING ACROSS CONCRETE. FOOTBOARD DIGGING INTO CONCRETE. SCRAPING SCREAMS THAT WE'RE STILL UPRIGHT. MORE SCRAPING SCREAMS THAT AT ANY SECOND WE MIGHT NOT BE. HANDLE BARS CONCURRING, TRYING TO JERK AWAY FROM MY GLOVED GRIP.
And then it was over. I was back on the smooth asphalt of 35 S.
I was alive. Neither Sam nor I went down. We were okay. The shiny side was still up. And all I can think for that moment was How did I do that? How in the world did I do that?
And I knew the answer immediately: I didn't. I didn't do that.
The God of the Angel Armies—and the God of This Motorcycle Mama—had reached down and taken control of Sam, and all I had done was hold on for the ride. The laws of physics tell me so. The adequacy, but not expertise, of my own riding ability tells me so.
I know that some of you will think that I'm being overly dramatic here, but you weren't there. You didn't see what happened. Even the Saint didn't see it, and part of me wishes he had so that he could truly appreciate the incredibleness of it. (Of course, the other part of me is glad he didn't see it because had he seen what was happening, he might have become so distracted that he might have wrecked, himself.) But the drivers around me saw it. And either they think the old lady on the motorcycle is one bad-ass biker chick who has crazy-like mad bike skills, or they drove on thinking the same thing I did: Whoa! What just happened? I thought for sure that lady was a goner. And while the lady driving the SUV didn't see me before she changed lanes, she saw the aftermath in her rear view mirror, and, I think, understands what happened.
My staying upright on that bike was not of this world.
Not of this world. Sam has sported those decals since the second week I owned her. Initially the reason wasn't very spiritual. I dropped her the Pasadena parking lot of a Mexican restaurant the second day I had her, and when I discovered that the metallic maroon fingernail polish I bought to cover the resulting boo-boo wasn't going to quite do the trick, I resorted to the decals. They fit perfectly along the curves of Sam's front fenders where the injury occurred, they looked cool (remember, as the mom of three girls, I learned early that cuteness is everything), and I liked the message. My citizenship lies elsewhere. I am not of this world.
Not of this world.
That's something I've been talking about a lot with Papa-God lately—specifically what that Not of this world means for me. I've had to be honest with Him about my fear of what His answer might entail. (I don't do so great at being not of this world when it means a change in my comfort zone. Oh, yeah, I'm real big into the comfort thing. I like things my way. I want what I want when I want it. I'm don't get super excited about changing my agenda to fit His if His agenda isn't what I already had in mind, and . . . well, you get the picture.)
Today God spoke. And I listened. And we talked about what it might mean to be not of this world. And yeah, it was still kinda scary. But not as scary because I was reminded in a very tangible way that He holds me in His hands. And as an old song I love says, nothing there can touch me except Him.
Regardless of which side is up—shiny or not—I am safe and secure because I am not of this world.