Tuesday, November 11, 2008

She Called Me Angel

I went to college in Montana. During the summer of 1992, some friends and I drove to Glacier for a camping trip. The roads were winding and beautiful. After a fun week of camping, hiking, and rock climbing ... we headed back home. Our journey home was long, but the scenery was beautiful and we didn't mind the drive ahead of us.

I remember sitting in the passenger seat of our car, staring at the back of the motorcycle in front of us. I noticed how close their foot-pegs came to the ground around the many winding corners of the highway. But I just stared in silence, never making my thoughts heard.

We made a pit-stop for a quick refuel along the way, and lost sight of the motorcycle. We thought nothing of it.

After about 15 minutes back on the road, we rounded a corner and our hearts stopped.

There was the motorcycle ... laying on the side of the road. The motorcycle we had been following.

The man was laboriously getting off the ground and brushing himself off.

The woman was no where to be seen.

We immediately stopped and the four of us jumped out to help. The two guys I was with ran over to help the man up, while my friend Amy and I frantically looked for the woman.

We found her.

Laying face-down.

In the ditch.

She was laying on arms.

She was moaning, crying, disoriented, delirious. and could not move.

I'm not sure how long it was that Amy and I stayed in that ditch with her. I'd guess about an hour. We were in the middle of nowhere. We had to wait for a car to pass us and get to a phone to call for help.

We rubbed her back. We played with her hair. We talked to her. Made sure her body was covered with our blankets. We listened to her stories. Learned about her kids. What she did for a living. Places she had traveled to. Comforted her in her pain. Encouraged her to stay still. Not to move. Kept her updated on how her husband was doing.

She asked us questions about ourselves. Our names. What school we went to. Where we were from. How old we were. What our families were like.

As time wore on, it became more difficult. Her pendulum swung between complete hysteria & fear to shock & passing out. Amy and I were so scared.

I honestly thought she was going to die.

Amy and I had to take turns walking away so she wouldn't hear us cry. I started thinking, "How would I want to die?"

With someone by my side.

Laying in the ditch with me.

Listening to my stories.

Listening to their stories.

Feeling loved. Cared for. Important. Valued.

So ... that's what we did. We loved her. Cared for her. Listened to her stories. She WAS valued and important.

There was a brief moment before the ambulance arrived when she got very quiet. Every time she did this, Amy and I would look at each other and wonder.

In her weak voice, she said, "Lisa, Amy ... you are my angels on earth. I just know it. There was a reason you found us here. Thank you. Thank you."

She and her husband were taken away in the ambulance.

We collected ourselves and continued on our way home.

About a month passed, when Amy and I both received a card in the mail.

In all of her pain and fear, she had remembered where we went to school.

And sent us a thank you card.

I wish I would have kept it.

I wish I could remember her name.

I wish I could remember her face. I only saw her face for a brief moment when she was flipped over on the board to be taken into the ambulance.

We stayed in that ditch. Loving her.

Never seeing her face. But knowing her strength. Her story. Her love.

I remember her hair. Her back. Her voice. Her tender disposition. Her gratitude.

I also remember what's most important.

Helping someone in need.

Those feelings. The sadness. The empathy. The desperation.

It's an odd feeling to feel like you're helpless ... when really ... your helping by being.


Eve said...

Lisa that made me cry!

Diane Davis said...

wow. what a beautifully written recollection. you just stirred so much in me. and i have two thoughts about that: DAMN and THANKS.

Suzi said...

Wow. Just, wow.

Jodie Howerton said...

Holy crap. I have known since the day I met you that you were awesome. This just confirms all that instinct I had when you took my firstborn into your classroom.

You rock.

Baylee said...

Camping trip to glacier…. It's great.

Kelly McPherson said...

Wow, Lisa. I'm sitting by you in the car! I'm so excited to be traveling and serving with you!

Ashley Julian said...

Lisa D...you are an endless source of WOW! Beautifully written, too!

Lisa said...

ashley ... i don't know about THAT (but thank you) ... but i will have to say that i HAVE found myself in interesting situations like that quite a few times.

Anonymous said...

I'VE MISSED YOUR BLOG!!!! Then tonight I saw you were on facebook so I straight away checked to see if you had updated your blog and you had!!! I LOVE IT. I love reading it. I'm hooked. I just read this entry. I was moved to tears!!!! You were her angel. How incredible! It's amazing what an impact that hour had on your life, and hers. I believe God puts us in places or in peoples lives for a reason. God Bless you! xo Hugs V

"Lucky" said...

Word. No wonder I like you.