For I know the thoughts that I think toward you, saith the LORD, thoughts of peace, and not of evil, to give you an expected end. Then shall ye call upon me, and ye shall go and pray unto me, and I will hearken unto you. And ye shall seek me, and find me, when ye shall search for me with all your heart. (Jeremiah 29:11-13)
Tuesday, January 5, 2010
The Accidental Soldier
I got out of my car and met the driver of the Tahoe. It was a gentleman wearing an Army t-shirt. He immediately apologized and stated that he was out-of-town and running some errands for his sister. His niece and nephews told him he missed their road so he thought if he stopped quick enough he would still be able to make the turn but he couldn't so he thought he could back up enough to turn and that is when he hit me. He admitted fault.
I explained to him that since I was driving a newer vehicle I thought I needed to call the police so that insurance could be filed. But first I wanted to call my brother. The damages were minimal and I thought that my brother could come look at the car and tell me if he could fix the bumper. But my brother was out of state. He told me to call the police so that there wouldn't be any issues down the road about getting my car repaired. The gentleman was okay with that.
I dialed 911 and let them know there had been an accident but no injuries. Well, they weren't going to make haste in dispatching an officer to the scene. The gentleman and I talked for what seemed like forever. He let me know that he was on a 3-week leave and traveling the east coast to visit family that he hadn't seen in a long time. He was active military and the father of an 8-month old.
I began telling him how much I appreciated our people in armed forces and I let him know that I didn't want this accident to be a big deal. We began discussing what I might do because I really didn't want to file any insurance against him. I figured he was doing so much more to serve my country and the scratches and superficial dents were all cosmetic. There was nothing wrong with the mechanics of the vehicle. The body was still all properly aligned. He somehow hit the corner of my bumper and didn't even hit the headlight.
Then the Lord impressed upon me to share my faith with him but I didn't know how that would come up. And it hit me! The accident was at Laurel Road and I began laughing as I told the guy that I went to Laurel Baptist. I called 911 and explained the situation that it was a soldier on leave and I would just as soon let both of us go on our merry way without filing an incident report. I told the officer that I just wanted permission to leave the scene so that I would not be accused of leaving the scene of the accident. He asked me why I would want to do such a thing and I said: "Has this soldier asked any of us to repay him for his service to our country? This is the least I can do to show my appreciation to him." The officer told me that he would cancel the dispatch and said, "I can't believe there are still good people out there. God bless you and have a great year."
The gentleman asked me why I was willing to just overlook it all and I explained to him what I told the officer. "You're doing a lot more for my country than I can imagine. This car is only a means of transportation and nothing more." He wanted to give me a hundred dollars to take care of the damages but I declined. He was very insistent so I finally went to his vehicle and asked the children to take the money back. I told him to take the children shopping or hold on to it and give it to someone in need. I hugged this perfect stranger and told him thanks for serving my country. He looked at me in bewilderment and asked: "What makes you able to do this?" I told him that sometimes it's not about receiving a blessing but rather about being a blessing.
Will he remember me? Probably not. Will I remember him? Yes, I have thought about this accident throughout the day and think I am going to let that scratched bumper stay that way to serve as a reminder of today. I will be reminded of the day a soldier ran into me and how God used a bumper thumper to touch both of our hearts. It is my prayer that he will remember what I did and not to bring glory to me but so that he can know that there are people out there who appreciate our military and that not everyone is out for self gain.
John Homer Miller said: "Your living is determined not so much by what life brings to you as by the attitude you bring to life; not so much by what happens to you as by the way your mind looks at what happens. Circumstances and situations do color life but you have been given the mind to choose what the colors shall be."