Yesterday I watched a man die. It was not someone I knew. This event was not planned. It just happened in a split second. Driving up a hill I slowed down. My friend and I were taking our children to the local community pool. She was following me. I slowed way down, thinking I had lost her at the last stop sign and there he was. He came out from a side cross street. I watched him enter the intersection on his scooter. I did not have to slam on my breaks, I was already at a snails pace. Perhaps that is what gave him the confidence to keep going through the intersection with out stopping.
The truck in the oncoming traffic was traveling down the hill. A hill that comes up and over and curves. There was no way she could have slowed down to even miss him. Had she swerved to miss him, she would have hit me head on. In a split second this man was hit head on by a large pick up truck and his body tossed like a rag doll. His scooter spread out all over and under the truck.
All I could do is tell my boys to start praying and stay in their seats. I jumped out and started doing something that only came from God. Directing. Directing passer byers to redirect traffic away from the accident. Telling the driver of the truck to go back to her truck and turn off her engine and put her hazards on. Making sure that another called 911. Sending another man to the side of the lifeless body that lay a good 40 feet from impact. I went to the man who lay in the road. His body twisted and blood pouring into a puddle at his head. I removed his wallat and checked for I.D. and person I could call. The number I found was ringning in the street. His cell phone. I went and picked it up, and then went to the driver of the truck and hugged her tight. Telling her that there was nothing she could do, it was an accident.
I went to the man's side. Laying there lifeless with his eyes open. The man I had sent to his side then told me he was a police officer on his lunch break in street clothes. I felt stupid for only a second, directing and telling him what to do, but he assured me I had done the right thing. And then looking down at this man. His crumbled bleeding body. I could sense the presence of the the Lord and a peace. Calmly I spoke this mans name. Rubbed his back, and told him my name. I told him that I was going to pray for him. If he could hear me, please know that help is on the way. I started praying, laying my hands on his still body. I did not care who could hear me, and I am not even sure what I prayed. A calm and collected manner, which is not my style kept me praying and caring for this man. He tried to utter something. The first breath and words we had seen or heard. He could not move and then the he stopped.
Paramedics and police came from all directions. I stepped back, gave my statement and my friend and I proceeded to the the pool. They boys asked many questions. They acknowledged that I prayed for this man. They watched from tinted windows. I told them to keep praying for Richard. He has a name. They immediately wanted to draw pictures for him to get better. We prayed for the driver of the truck and then went into our afternoon of swimming.
On the way home I spoke with David on the phone. He said he read the news report and the man had died of his injuries. My heart, now at home could cry. I had to take a shower to cry hard and sob over this tragic event. I was mad at God. Asking him why I had to see this. Why these images are imprinted on my brain. Images of a man being hit and thrown from the front of that truck. And then a peace, as I cried out to God in my shower. "I needed you there Elizabeth." The words just hung as tears, even now as I write. "I needed you there Elizabeth."
David has always said that he is amazed how I keep my head in a crisis. He says I know what to do, I am calm, and I can direct the situation without emotions in the moment. And then later when all is taken care of I go and I cry. Yesterday and then today I have cried a lot for strangers who quickly came and went in my life.
God needed me there. To pass through slowly, waiting for my friend to catch up. As this man in his 70's enjoying a ride on his scooter was quickly taken from this world. Laying my hand on him and praying. Praying comfort and peace. Did I pray this man into Heaven? My children want to know if he knew Jesus. I told him, that I was praying that he did know Jesus, and for only a split second while praying this man tried to utter some words and then he went quiet. Not one word from this man until he was being prayed over. Did he hear the prayers of my heart? Did he meet Jesus face to face?
I have had almost 24 hours to replay that scene in my head. Over and over asking questions. Praying for this mans family, praying for the driver of the car, who allowed me to comfort her, and to tell her that I want to pray with you. Even later in the evening she texted me and thanked me for comforting her and again I could share with her that I have some women praying for her as well.
"Trust in the Lord with all your heart and do not lean on your own understanding. In ALL your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight."
I know this verse by heart. Learned it when I was a kid. Today these words offer me such comfort. Comfort in knowing that, that is all I can do is TRUST in the Lord. It is not easy to acknowledge Him in ALL ways. How do you do that in a crisis and tragic moment? The only thing pressed on my heart was to pray for this lifeless man laying in the street with his twisted body. Then to show my own children Jesus through the process.
Dear Lord Jesus,
For the driver of the truck who now lives with the death of man on her resume of life, I pray comfort and peace for her. For the family who lost a husband, a dad, a grandpa and a friend I pray in the days ahead that they know you and can direct their hearts to you and Lean on You. elizabeth