I Should Have Listened!
It was a beautiful day to be out. There was a chill in the air, but gloves and long sleeves made it comfortable. We started off in usual formation: Kevin in the lead, Jake on his speedy Raptor, Chris, Jake’s friend on the camo 4-wheeler and me on Old Blue. About ½ hour into the ride, Chris pulled off to the side of the trail. He was having trouble with the shifter. I didn’t stop because Jake had already turned around and was coming to his aid. Kevin was well out of sight, so I thought it would be fun to go a little faster, maybe even as fast as Old Blue could go, up the hill. The trail was smooth, the air was crisp and no one was in sight.
It was fabulous fun, until I went into a small washout and hit the rocks on the other side. There were no rocks anywhere else on the trail...they had all gathered on the other side of the washout, most likely pushed there by the tires of other riders. The rocks bit into the bubble tires, the handle bars jerked left, right, left and our trajectory was out of my control. Finally, it was decided - the front tires went 90 degrees left into the bank. With speed playing a factor, the machine and I started to roll up the trail. The first time around, I hung on. The second time around, I was flung off Big Blue. I spun in the air and landed hard on my right shoulder and hip facing down the trail. I was horrified to see the 4-wheeler spinning toward me as we both continued rolling. I finished face down on my stomach with the ‘bill’ of the helmet hitting the ground hard. I saw black sparkles and could clearly hear myself breathing, but was completely unable to move anything. I felt the 4-wheeler roll over me – 2 tires on either side – and the exhaust pipe burn my right buttock as it went over. I thought, “Somethings burning me, I should move.” But I couldn’t clear the black sparkles or make my limbs operate. The 4-wheeler continued to roll off me, lost momentum, tilted on 2 wheels and then crashed back down on me again. I felt the burn once more and thought, “I'm getting burned.” I struggled to clear my head. Then it was over.
The burning stopped and I heard Jake yelling but he was so far away. Jake was barking orders to Chris, who sped off up the trail. He was yelling my name but I couldn’t respond. Then his voice started cracking as he yelled, “Mom, Mom answer me” over and over. I had to clear my head; I had to get it together and respond somehow because I could hear the fright and despair in his voice. I moved my hand, then my leg. Chris came back with Kevin and they got me up and off the trail.
Where was God in this?
By the time the boys were back in action, I was halfway up the hill. However, I didn’t get as far ahead as I thought because both of their 4-wheelers are much faster than mine. When the crash occurred, Jake was only seconds behind me and able to quickly respond. His 6’3” hulk fired with adrenalin heaved the 4-wheeler off me in 2 swift lifts. No one else passed on the trail for easily 5 minutes after the crash.
So, I’m done with 4-wheeling. Accidents like this at the age of 57 are really painful and recovery takes much longer. That said, is that really the issue here? Could it all have been avoided? It was an unusual accident and different decisions at critical points would have changed the outcome. God had tried to protect me with several corrections along the way.
- It felt strange being in front of the boys – that wasn’t my place. God understands my concern about teenage boys on fast toys – yet I didn’t stop with Chris or stay in the back where I could “keep an eye” on things. I wanted to race to the top (selfishness).
- I was pushing myself and a machine recklessly and I knew that in my gut. I had made a bad choice that didn’t suit my abilities, the machine or the environment. God knows that speed scares me – yet I felt invincible and convinced I could handle it (pride).
- And finally – there was the message from the clear, distinct voice. God tried to tell me in plain language, and I laughed it off (hard of hearing).