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He Was Watching
Monday, August 3, 2009 was a day I will never forget. The outcomes from that night are still very consequential to me. I remember that night as if I were still living in it. What started out as a perfectly innocent night turned in to a nightmare that I will never be able to shake from my mind.
It was a Monday evening. I had just spent three terrifying hours helping teach Bible school to a bunch of fifth and sixth graders. I have never met a group of kids that could make themselves more of a nuisance than these children. I doubt that the mischievousness of these kids could ever be surpassed. I was definitely in the need for some calming time.
Kenzie and I had decided that we were going to start her Bible study that night after Bible school. Kenzie, who had just been saved at church camp two weeks before, had asked me to lead her Bible study and since I lived in Berne it seemed fitting that we should go to her house to do it. Driving my 2001 Mercury Mountaineer, I followed her out to her house.
It seemed like a perfectly innocent decision to me. I would just go over to her house for a little while and be gone by ten, I told myself. There was a major flaw in this plan. Every time I go over to the Keen’s house, we always get sidetracked. We deviated from our original plan. Instead of working on her Bible study, we ended up playing Rock Band and rounding up her brothers, Preston and Ritchie, to play Euchre with us. After we had completely kicked the boys butts at Euchre, their mother Staci came into Kenzie’s room and started lecturing her about her accident she had earlier that morning. Kenzie had backed her mother’s minivan into a mailbox. I had laughed so hard at her when first hearing this news, but I would find out later that I would regret this action.
Once Staci had finished her lecture and then turned on her nice person mode to greet me, I looked down at the clock and was frightened at what I read, 11:30 P.M. My mother is going to be furious was my first thought. I had an instant replay moment from earlier that week, just then.
“Donna just because you are eighteen does not mean you can stay out at all hours of the night! You need to start telling me everywhere you go!” My mother lectured me.
“Okay!” was my simple reply. Later I would realize that maybe the whole commandment about obeying your parents was more than just a nice suggestion.
I quickly told Kenzie and her family good-bye. I then, got in my shiny, maroon Mountaineer. It was a decently cool September night, so I rolled down my windows and pushed the button for the sunroof to open. I hurriedly, but carefully backed out of Kenzie’s curvaceous driveway. I turned left onto 350 S and said a silent prayer. I was counting my blessings for the fact that my mom had to work that night, so she would not know I was still out.
I turned left onto 100 W, and then I continued down the road and turned right onto 275 S. When I had braked to turn onto 275 S I noticed a shimmying vibration that originated from the front end of the vehicle. I decided to write that off, explaining to myself that it was just because of the gravel.
I made it around the first curve, but when I started to approach the next curve that was when the problems started. I had already started to slightly angle the Mountaineer to the right and started to slow down, but then I felt the vibration again but magnified to a frightening power. I tried to slam on the brakes but what I discovered was that it did not stop. I tried to angle the Mountaineer more, so I could make it around the curve, but I could not. A terrifying realization had just occurred to me. I could not stop or steer the Mountaineer. I also realized that I was not going to be able to make it around the corner. I looked ahead to see where I was going to end up. I saw a huge tree. I knew there was no way I was going to clear it. I tightened my grip on the steering wheel and said a short prayer. A second later, I saw the tree flash by me an inch away from my driver’s side mirror. I was so shocked that I could barely comprehend the fact that if the tree did not stop me that meant I was heading for a house. I closed my eyes, preparing for the impact. “God please help!” was my only thought. I opened my eyes when I it dawned on me that I should have hit the house by then. What I found when I opened my eyes was astonishing. Somehow the vehicle had shifted away from the house. Looking ahead, I saw a small tree and a second later I felt the tightening jerk of my seat belt as my body slammed into it. I felt my entire body thrusted forward due to the impact, and then pushed back due to the seatbelt. I heard the skipping noise of my Maroon 5 CD playing “She Will Be Loved”. I noticed the ever so slight darkening outside that resulted from my driver’s side headlight being shattered apart by the tree. I felt the dirt that had flown in through my windows and sunroof.
In a moment of panic, I shifted the car into reverse and tried backing out just to discover that there was no way the Mountaineer was going anywhere without being towed. I put the car into park and turned it off. I grabbed my phone and got out. I walked around the back and to the right front side, so I could see what the damage was. As I stared at the hanging bumper, the shattered headlight, the crunched in left corner, and the bent grill, the tears started streaming down my face. I hit speed dial number four and waited for my sister to pick up the phone. I was too scared to call my mom. I knew I would receive a well deserved screaming lecture, but I was planning on stalling it as long as I could.
Once I was done crying out the directions to my sister, I hung up the phone and sat down on the ground and cried. I was thinking at that moment about karma. I had laughed at Kenzie less than an hour before my crash. Did I deserve this? And what about disobeying my mother? Was God smiting me?
Now about two months later, I have had much time to reflect on what happened. I sometimes look back at the pictures my sister took the next morning of the crash site. The evidence of God’s mercy and power can be seen through those pictures. When looking intently at my tire tracks in the grass, it was clearly evident that something miraculous happened that night. I should have hit that first humongous tree, and when I missed the tree, I should have hit the house. There is a section in the grass where my tire tracks just disappear, the section where the Mountaineer somehow turned away from the house and headed for the smaller tree. So many things went wrong with my vehicle that night that it rendered me unable to steer, yet somehow the vehicle was turned.
I had questioned why I had deserved to be caught up in that predicament, but I have learned so much from my experience. God works in mysterious ways. I believe that He let me get caught up in that mess, so I could share my miraculous story with those around me. I might not have been here today if it was not for His amazing power and mercy. I cried out, and He helped me. I know that He was watching over me that night, and I thank God that I am still here to share my story of His awesome power!