I have a fragment of glass under the skin on my index finger on my right hand. It is a remnant from a really horrible car accident. 17 years ago, we were driving down the highway at dusk. A deer tried to jump over our car. Not sure if he was trying out for the Olympics, or what, but he didn’t make it. He got caught on the roof of the car on the passenger side where I was sitting. The force of the deer smashed the windshield on top of us.
I don’t remember the accident. I remember my husband looking to the side (apparently seeing the deer) and the next thing I know, his hand is on my arm getting me out of the car.
What I do remember are those next minutes and hours of fear, confusion and pain. And the days and weeks that followed. I had a broken nose and at least a hundred cuts all over my face and hands from the windshield. With how swollen my face was, I looked like Odo from Star Trek.
And I do remember all those painful and frightening things if I think about it long enough. The fragment of glass in my finger sends me a twinge of pain every few months. For just a moment. But the things I just told you are not what that twinge brings to mind.
When my finger hurts, I remember the medi-van that was passing by after the accident, the two people whose names I will never know that stopped and helped clean me up and told my terrified husband that most of the blood on me was the deer’s, not mine. I couldn’t even begin to tell you what that woman looked like. But I remember her presence. I remember her gentle hands and soothing voice, telling me it was going to be alright.
I remember the two nurses in the hospital, one on each side of me, carefully picking so many glass fragments out of my skin. I have no idea how long I was laying there between them, but I remember their gentle touch, even through the intense pain.
I remember months later, going to the salvage place to see the car. Somehow, I thought that would bring some closure to the whole ordeal. And I wanted to know what I had survived. You know what? I couldn’t find our car. I went all the way to the back of the lot and finally gave up. On my way out, I came from just the right angle and found it. I had walked right by it earlier, but it was so destroyed I hadn’t even recognized it. The roof over where I had been sitting had literally been peeled back like the lid on a can of sardines. I checked the back seat trying to convince myself that really couldn’t be our car. There were our things, laying on the floor covered with glass.
That glass in my finger is a constant reminder of God’s protection. That God is in control, no matter what life throws at us. No matter what crazy deer changes our course.
That glass in my finger reminds me that God has a purpose for me. He protected me that night. A night that could have turned out so very differently. But for the Grace of God.