"Oh god mom. Thank god you answered. I love you. I love you so much!"
Every mother (and father) out there treasures each time their child tells them they love them. Makes your heart all warm and fuzzy and fills your soul with joy. However, when spoken in a breathless rush and in a tone full of panic and fear, the heart of the parent turns stone cold.
Just like mine did last night at 6:09 p.m. You see, while I was driving home from work, my son Frankie called me and those were the first words that tumbled out of his mouth when I answered. Even though my blood ran cold and my heart jumped into my throat, I did my best to remain calm and replied, "Well, I love you too, son. What's wrong?"
"I can't believe it. I just can't. We...me and Diane...we just had a wreck. A semi hit us on I-30."
I was in the midst of rush hour traffic and almost had a wreck myself when I heard those words.
"Where are you? And are you sure you're okay? Are the police there?"
"In front of Waffle House in Benton. Yeah, oh Jesus mom. It's a miracle. Neither of us have a scratch. Not one scratch."
I turned my emergency flashers on and weaved in and out of traffic like a crazy woman while I continued to talk to him on the phone. Never, in my whole life, had I been more happy to hear his voice. I could hear the sirens in the background and the noise of the traffic through the phone. I pulled out every trick a mother uses to maintain a calm facade as I spoke to him in a quiet voice, assuring him I was on my way and to just stay put until I got there.
As I pushed my car to it's limit on the freeway, zig-zagging through the other vehicles, he called back.
"Mom...meet us at the house. The tow truck is taking us home."
"Son, are you sure neither of you need to go to the hospital?"
"We are fine. Just meet us at my house."
My head spun. Hit, by a semi on the freeway, and yet no injuries or trip to the hospital? I thanked the Lord above out loud as I drove. In a few minutes, I pulled up at his house next to the wrecker that was unloading Diane's car in the driveway. Only minor damage to the front and back quarter panels, not a window broken or major damage. I felt my nerves settle a bit, assuming that the terror of being in an accident tainted Frankie's views on the magnitude.
That was, until I walked up to the gentleman who had just finished unloading the car. He said he'd seen the entire accident unfold in front of him (he was about 1/2 mile behind Frankie and Diane on the freeway) and saw the entire thing. The semi had come up fast behind their car, then swerved over into the left lane to pass them. Then, without warning, the truck drifted over and slammed into the left driver's side quarter panel and the little Pontiac spun completely around, bounced off the divider wall, caught the tail end of the trailer on the semi, completed another circle then came to a dead stop--facing oncoming traffic.
I didn't listen to anymore. I just ran inside and grabbed my child. My 6' baby was shaking like a leaf, his face still pale. We both collapsed into each other's arms and sobbed. He, for his near brush with death and miraculous survival and me for still being able to hold him.
Once we stopped crying, he and Diane recounted the entire horrific tale. I sat in his living room and tried to absorb it all while I listened, tears streaming down my face at the knowledge of just how close I came to losing my only child. When the story was finished and the reality hit home that a miracle had happened, Frankie told me the last, but most important, piece.
"We were almost home and I looked over to my right and noticed a new billboard that said, 'Have you lost your faith in GOD?' and thought to myself, 'Nope' but before I could even comment on it to Diane, the truck hit us. In those split seconds, while we spun and screamed, I thought it was my time and that I would never see you or Dad again. I prayed inside my head for God to spare us. And He did. So no, I haven't lost my faith at all. In fact, it's stronger than ever."
And believe me, so is mine. Thank you Jesus for the early Christmas miracle.