November 11, 2008

Something happened that left me in shock, it made me shudder in fear, paralyzed my heart with guilt and worry, and possessed me with a protectiveness that I didn’t know existed so strongly in me.

I came home from work and was surprised to hear that Kirra, our 20 month old daughter, wanted to go to the swing. We had gone to the swings at our old apartments just across the way many times, but her interest had waned in the past weeks. Since it’s been awhile since she had been interested, I was excited to take her.

Coy and I needed to go to the grocery story and we figured it would be easy enough to stop along the way. We loaded up the car and drove the short half mile through the apartment complex.

Something as subtle as parking in a different place than normal could change the face of our lives as we knew them. You see, we typically would park just next to the sidewalk leading to the swing. Those spaces were full and Coy backed into a space just across the street from the park area.

As soon as we were parked I opened the door, picked Kirra up, and set her on the ground. I was holding on to her hand until I noticed a library book wedged in the seat. Stupidity and habit took over as I reached down to pick it up off of the seat. I don’t know what I was thinking or why it mattered.

Then everything happened all at once. I felt like time froze as it sped up faster than I could run.

I heard Kirra giggle “swing” as she drifted away from the door of the car.

I saw headlights in my peripheral vision and hear the sound of tires driving over a storm grate.

My mind tries to force my body into action as I hear Coy say my name.

I ran toward her to see her tiny frame in the shadow of oncoming headlights.

My only defense was a scream that came from the most terrified place in my soul. As the air left my lungs I reached out to grab Kirra from the path of a truck with wheels bigger than she was. I driver managed to stop about four feet from us. I grabbed her up as my whole body started to shake.

I couldn’t imagine. I couldn’t even fathom. It was like a movie that I had seen once had started to play, except this time God stepped in and did a miracle.

My heart.
Our hearts frozen.
Helpless.
Guilt stricken.
Grateful.
Sick.
Bewildered.
Encompassing grace.

I felt the tinge of irresponsibility. The guilt lapping over me like waves.

We made it to the swing but Coy and I sat silent as we pushed her. She seemed tired, as if she somehow felt the gravity of what had just happened.

On our ride to the grocery store there was silence. No one said a word as Kirra drifted off to a peaceful sleep. I asked Coy if he was OK. I didn’t feel OK at all. I felt like breaking down and screaming.

When we were walking the aisles in the grocery store I couldn’t think of anything to buy. “Do we need milk?” was all I could come up with. Finally, I said to Coy, “I don’t know if I could have lived with myself if Kirra would have been hit.” It was too close. It was too real. I felt like throwing up. I had a headache all night. Coy was feeling the same.

But there we stood in the grocery store, Kirra was right there with us, nestled safely in her daddy’s arms. How could I ever let her out of my sight?

There is still a heaviness in my throat and I’m afraid to fall asleep tonight.
There is nothing in the world I wouldn’t do for our daughter.

I can only imagine how God must feel toward us.

I can’t even comprehend the measure of God’s love right now. I can’t stop saying thank you for the way Kirra was kept safe tonight.

I peek in on her as she sleeps and want to pick her up just to hear her breathing. We have been given such a gift. Help us God to trust you and be present in every moment that you give us.

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