A Stranger

Matt Chandler always says "Your life can change with a phone call."
With that in mind, Tori called me this afternoon.

She had chosen to stay longer than usual this weekend to help with wedding decorations. We got so much done, and we were working until 9:00 Sunday night. She has class in Chattanooga at 1:00 on Monday, so she chose to drive back in the morning.

"Hello." I said
". . .Did you hear what happened?" She said in an unsettling voice.

- at this point in a conversation things run through your head at rapid fire. Every situation comes barreling down on you at light speed. I didn't even know brains were capable of such speed. I shut my office door and sat down all in one fluid, robotic motion. I had somehow analyzed that even Tori herself could have been in a tragic car accident, even though she was the one on the phone. Apocalypse, death, disease, explosion, heart-break. . . I don't know why we do this, anyways. You are clearly about to find out what happened in .5 seconds, but somehow our mind decides it needs to prepare itself. Maybe if you think of it first, it won't be as much of a shock to the system. Beat the system. . .
Nobody in my family died. Nobody in my family was injured physically.

Have you ever driven to Chattanooga? Seen the declines and curves and run-away tractor trailer ramps? Well, Tori was driving to school when a man in a jeep possibly drifted to sleep or checked a text and veered into the guard rail. He then began to flip back in the opposite direction until he ran into the side of the mountain, being ejected from his car. Tori was there, behind him, to witness and to help. She stopped on the side of the road. Called 911, and sat with him. As everyone drove by, nobody else stopped to help. They all left it to little Tori. They left it to Tori to run up the rode until she found a mile marker. To run back to the man and try to talk to him. To try and fix his head wound. To try and ask about his wife who will get a terrible phone call today. To pray for him.

When the paramedics arrived, they asked for her account of what happened, then sent her on her way. They sent her away without knowing what would happen to him. If he would live or die. When would his wife find out? Did he have kids? Did he know God? They told her to leave.

In these intense, adrenaline-filled moments our body goes into auto pilot. It's almost like it is hard-wired to deal with it. It knows what to do. Then when it is done, it doesn't seem to have happened to us. Was it real? How long did it last? Did I wipe off all the blood?

I am insanely proud of Tori today. To immediately stop and help without a thought of whether or not she actually needed to. I don't know what I would do. Would I have assumed someone else more capable would help? Do we ever consider ourselves capable of such a task? Sitting with a stranger while their life hangs by a thread? Whose task is this, really? What were the other hundred passer-by's thinking as they drove by? "They have it handled" . . . Yea, Tori had it handled. I am sure those other people would be ashamed of themselves if they realized they left this job up to a 20 year-old girl with no medical knowledge. Needless to say, she did it, and she will probably be forever changed by this experience and the stranger who she may, or may not, ever hear from again.

"I am only one, but I am one. I cannot do everything, but I can do something. And because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do the something that I can do. What I can do, I should do. And what I should do, by the grace of God, I will do."
Edward Everett Hale


In Eleven Days

Wait just one minute. When did this happen?? How is the wedding a week and a half away?
I can't fully wrap my brain around this. It is a strange feeling to plan a wedding for so long, that when it is no longer in the distance, but right in front of your face, it doesn't seem real. It feels like a mirage. All of the sudden we have so much to do, and so little time to do it. All of this is hitting me while Daniel is away at training, which totally adds to the bizarre emotions and reactions I am having to the reality of the wedding being eleven days away. Daniel isn't around for me to lean on. He can't tell me opinions on decorations or help with them. He is concentrating on being a leader, and a responsible man. I am sure succulents and chalk boards do not exist in Daniel's brain at the moment, and I am glad they don't. All he has to do is show up on time, and bring a ring.

"Sometimes on the journey toward marriage (or anything else one may want badly), our sights veer off the purposeful path when we set our passion on décor rather than the declaration of oaths and promises. We lose focus on what it means to be a good woman to a man and good man to a woman, in union before God. By exchanging words that seal the covenant, there is a glory in the transition from selfishness to dedicated selflessness—a sacrifice that is too important to not strive after and protect." The wedding isn't meant to be about mason jars and flowers. The wedding is about making a promise to each other, for the rest of your lives, that you will put the other before yourself and take the effort to serve them. For better or worse. For richer or poorer. In sickness and in health. When times get hard, you work harder. Isn't this the whole purpose of relationships? Learning that you are different from one another, with different flaws, and loving them anyways. It is hard work, but it is rewarding. This love is deep and honest. It is gentle, passionate, forgiving, and dedicated.
It resembles Christ's love for us. It is focused on God's grace and power, the Creator of marriage and of love. This is the marriage I will strive for. Imperfect, but forgiven.

This journey is glorious, and I can't wait for it to begin in eleven days.

Quote from Tracy Le