Late Friday night...actually, really early Saturday morning, around 1:30 am, we received the phone call that parents dread coming from their teenagers. "Dad, I had an accident and there's blood all over". Phone died. Frantically, we rushed out the door, cell phones in hand, I called 911, Curtis tried to reach Derek again and again--finally he did and sort of had a location. We knew he was within 15 minutes of home, but didn't know where. We started driving, Derek called again and said he would try to walk to the road. At this point, we thought he went into the ditch somewhere. Finally, we connected with him and found him on the side of the road. He had fallen asleep and drove into a large ravine. My heart sunk. We could barely see the car from the road, it was that far away and Derek was a bloody mess, his face nearly unrecognizable because of the blood. We brought him to the emergency room.
It was obvious he had a broken nose. Other than that, we awaited some tests. They came back with multiple fractures to the face. Our hospital is so small, they decided to send him to the Mayo Clinic by ambulance. Another journey to the hospital--this time not for Gracie either. We spent several hours there in the trauma room W-3, they looked at him from head to toe. He did sustain multiple fractures to the face--at least 8 from what this non-doctor could read on the report. Both eye orbits are fractures at the bottom, his nose is broken in several places, his cheekbone, and four bones of his jaw. Most of the facial bones will just heal on their own, but the nose and jaw will require surgery in a couple of weeks when the swelling subsides. Overall, he is fortunate, completely fortunate. According to our hospital and Mayo, many, many professionals have told us how lucky he is. We don't believe in luck, rather in a mighty God who somehow cushioned his ride.
Yesterday was to be a tough day for him. He felt pretty well actually. His face doesn't look like the sweet Derek that it did on Friday night when he left our home, but it will. He spent yesterday with many friends...some right here in Charles City...and his new friends at his new home at Dordt, all of them with Derek by phone, email, prayers. The support system we have here is just amazing! Not only Derek's, but our entire family's. I tell my kids all the time, if you have one true friend, you are blessed. We feel so abundantly blessed by our friendships we have--our kids were all taken care of, dinner on our table when we arrived home, prayers be offered up on our behalf, rides, phone calls, emails...amazing!
I keep thinking of the verse in James that tells us to consider it pure joy when we face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverence. Perseverence must finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking in anything. To witness our 18 year-old's attitude of joy despite the trial--I'm amazed. He has not had a pity party for himself at all, but is not going to waste this lesson. We believe with everything inside of us that God has a plan for Derek's life. He is supposed to be here to accomplish something for HIM. Trials develop perseverence, which develops maturity...how I love to see these words for my son.
Throughout the unknowns of Friday night and Saturday morning, we all carried that peace that passes all understanding--we feel so blessed by that gift that can only come from the One who created Derek, the One who created us for a purpose. His power is so magnificent He calms the seas, He placed the stars in the sky, He commands all over all--He also had His hand on a little red Taurus with one of our greatest treasures in it--we give Him the praise and the glory. And the scars Derek may have, the pain he is carrying, it is not wasted, it is not in vain...but rather a reminder of what He has done in Derek's life.
This Monday, I am so thankful for my son. I'm also so thankful for the reminder of Who is in charge and freedom that goes along with that. And the joy...oh the JOY!!
Have a terrific day!