Out of nowhere, on Friday night, my throat started hurting something fierce. I couldn’t swallow and I couldn’t yawn; my neck was so sore that I couldn’t even turn my head; and, my ears felt like they had plugs in them. Needless to say, it was extremely painful and uncomfortable. Since my boyfriend was just getting over a cold, I automatically assumed that he had passed his germs to me. So, I popped some Cold&Flu pills and waited for them to work their magic. I waited… and waited … for two days. When Monday morning rolled around, I was still miserable and decided it had to be strep throat. Sure enough, when I went into the Urgent Care Center it took no more than 5 minutes to confirm my latest suspicion. I was prescribed antibiotics and told to take the next 24-48 hours to rest.
Yesterday, after sitting around the house for days, I decided to get out and do some light Christmas shopping with my boyfriend’s father. As we were driving to the mall, we drove past this awful wreck; the driver’s side of the small compact car was crumpled in like delicate foil and shiny glass littered the road. My mouth hung open in shock as I watched from the passenger window. “I hope they’re okay,” I prayed out loud.
My boyfriend’s father solemnly replied, “The person driving that car didn’t survive, honey.”
“How do you know?” I asked, hoping he was wrong.
“See the blanket hanging over the driver’s side? They only do that when there’s been a death– to conceal the body until the investigation is over.”
Her name was Debra. That’s all I know. She could have been a mother, a sister, a wife. She could have been a doctor, a receptionist, a stay-at-home mom. Maybe she was driving to the mall, like me, to get gifts for family and friends. And, now, she is gone–in the blink of an eye, one wrong move. What kind of person deserves to meet such a tragic end?
Since yesterday, I have been thinking about my own life. I was whining and complaining the whole weekend about feeling ill; I laid on the couch, feeling sorry for myself, while my boyfriend waited on me hand and foot. But, it was just a bacterial infection, a temporary illness. The person in the car is gone forever, not temporary. Permanent.
It shouldn’t have taken such an unfortunate event to make me realize the many blessings I have. I may get sick or I may have a bad day at work, but there are many people out there who have so much more to worry about. Every day on this earth is a precious gift and I think we all need to cherish that gift, because everything can vanish without a moment’s notice. As for that woman? I pray for her and for her family, and I hope she had the chance to enjoy life’s precious gifts before she went home to the Lord.