At Home Update, Post Surgery

Thank you for your texts, emails, phone calls, and visits. I’m grateful and encouraged on several levels, and particularly stoked about my children getting to see what the gospel looks like practically. Pictures of the gospel are a beautiful thing.

I did a blog post and podcast on our ministry site about part of what happened at the hospital yesterday. The Lord woke me up in the middle of the night with some words. When He illuminates, I try to listen. You can read or listen to that here if you want to.

The surgery went well. Lucia and I arrived before 1 PM; I was in my bed by 1:03. A nurse came in and began the questions, which was a pattern with everyone working with me. I appreciated their thoroughness. I liked being “over-cared” for especially during surgery.

  • What is your name?
  • When were you born?
  • Why are you here?
  • Add ten more, and you get the idea.

They gave me a special “blow up gown,” which was nice. It was hooked up to a plastic tube that blew in hot or cold air. The gown puffed up like the blow-up guy in “Big Hero 6” (movie). I looked quite chesty until the nurses deflated me, both ego and suit. Birthday suit that is.

The “happy gas” man rolled me in around 3 PM. I like him. Too much. I was going to ask him what that cold feeling was crawling up the inside of my arm, but before I could ask, I went to Utopia. My final thought was that this must be what it feels like to get a lethal injection at the prison. Nice.

I awoke around 4:30 and waited until 10 PM before they could get me a room. There were a lot of surgeries, and many late discharges. They wanted all the spine and neck patients on the same floor, so I had to wait for a bed. Three nurse turnovers later, they secured one for me.

The upside is that my A-game was coming back to me because I accomplished nearly all my recovery in the recovery room, so by the time I got to my room, I was back fully.

Will was my nurse. He was a good one. He said I was peppy. Nobody says I’m peppy. I was probably high, the best I can tell.

Lucia stayed with me all night; that was a good thing. I think Will appreciated someone less peppy.

My Two Pains

I have surgery pain in my lower back currently. The pain is not bad. I’m taking Oxy to stay ahead of it, which is what they suggested. I’m not sure if the pill is working because medication rarely affects me the way it should.

Historically, pills have proven to be little help. But the Oxy may be keeping the surgery pain bearable, or it may just be bearable. Nevertheless, I’m taking it, plus a muscle relaxer/spasm pill.

A Side Note: My first nurse was shocked (literally) when she found out I don’t take any medications. I asked her if 75% of the folks she checks in take medication. She said, “No, it’s more like 95%.” We had a good discussion about this.

As for the sciatica pain, I just finished a podcast, which kept me standing up for 30+ minutes while doing it. It was painful, but nothing like the most recent pain. It was more like “five years ago” pain. So I’m curious to see how things go tomorrow.

I hope it’s less than my most recent history. I could not make it to the hospital from the parking lot yesterday. Twenty seconds is all I could do at a time without the pain doing that thing it does.

To stand up and walk around today was encouraging. I’ve missed the last two church meetings, and have been a shut-in for the past few weeks.

I’m sleeping off and on, working from the bed. Can’t lift anything more than my coffee cup, which is perfect, since I “may” have issues with coffee. You decide: I did change the lyrics to “in the morning when I rise give me Jesus,” to “in the morning when I rise give me coffee and then Jesus.”

I can lift my laptop too.

Confession of a Former Legalist

I’m obeying all the rules. Can’t mess this up. I have no intention of doing anything that will hurt me. Being a former legalist helps: I can follow a list of rules well. That’s my wheelhouse. A good thing.

It’s day to day.

  • No lifting.
  • No bending.
  • No driving.
  • No washing clothes.
  • No vacuuming floors.
  • No doing the dishes.

I specifically asked about these last three.

Rick’s praising God right now.

I do want to walk more tomorrow and the next day. They encouraged all the walking that I can take. It also reduces the scar tissue if I move around. They gave me a lumbar belt, which I wear when I’m not laying down in the bed. That helps, and I guard against becoming overconfident with the support.

They say a month of not doing normal tasks should get me out of the woods. I think that’s about it. If I can serve you or if you have any questions, please ask.

I think I can do about 75% speed on ministry things, but no more. I must rest, so I sleep as often as my body tells me to.

The Surgery Date Is Set

The surgery date is July 11. Hopefully. Things do shift around when it comes to hospital scheduling. But that is the plan for now. Nothing has changed on my end (rear end). It still hurts. And God is still in control, so we press on with life, helping folks.

Lucia is amazing. No surprise there. The kids are stepping up, which is something they have been doing for eight months now since we told them about Lucia’s cancer and the subsequent surgery.

On that surgery? She is doing well. She is functioning at pre-cancer norms. There will be a reconstruction surgery at some point this year, but it’s not a high priority. (Her decision.) We may do it around the holidays.

Historically, the Christmas season is slow for us on the counseling front. People “sin less” during the holidays because they are shopping and partying more than usual. I’m for real, yes I am.

Okay, perhaps they are not sinning less, but they are busier during the holidays than their “normal busy,” so sanctification takes a back seat. They will come roaring back during January and February when the bills are due and they are staring at each other more often.

Our family loves the holidays because it’s the slowest time of the year for us, which may be a good time for a surgery. We’ll see. I’ll keep you posted.

Thank you for your prayers. I’m asking the Father to make the surgery go well. I’m trying to guard my heart against “over hoping” what it might be like to be pain-free. It has been twelve years. I don’t know what it is like not to grimace while I roll over in bed. Or not prognosticate how many steps I can make inside Walmart before I have to sit. Or not having my first thought at doing anything be, “How much is that going to hurt?”

It reminds me of what Paul told the Corinthians in 1:8 that they would be guiltless in the day of the Lord Jesus. Just wow! I know I’m guiltless in Christ. I get it. But to truly feel it all the time is an experience that is not mine. And to think I can be pain-free is similar.

I admire people who stand and talk at the church meeting. I praise God for folks who walk around because they can. I hope I can be one of those people. I want to take a walk with Lucia without a time limit.

Anyhow. I guess I’m not guarding my heart too well. 😉 Please pray for a pain-free outcome.

I have a three-day conference at the end of July. There is another three-day conference at the beginning of August. And I have a third one at the end of October. It would be nice if those gatherings were without pain. I can sit and teach, but walking upright is a perk. I know folks who do that, and I’d like to be one.

It’s My Time Now

In 2005, I felt this pain in my left buttock. It was sharp, but I could “calm it down” by making adjustments like leaning on a wall while propping my foot on it. The pain happened as I walked or stood. Often, I would do different things to bring relief like lay on the floor in Walmart so Lucia could stretch my leg back to bring relief. It was an odd rigamarole in Walmart, but necessary.

When the pain happens, it’s acute. When it’s not, I can function normally. I have learned a few things that I can’t do like carry my children (back then when they were tiny) or walk extended periods. I got a few walking sticks, which I used more to lean on to relieve the pressure on my back. I bought a trifold camping chair from REI, which was a godsend. I never leave home without it. (Unless I leave home without it: I do forget stuff.)

I began various “cure” approaches like the chiropractor, wearing a “tens unit,” physical therapy, lotions of all sorts, traction, dry needling, yoga, acupuncture, exercise, dieting, X-rays, MRI’s, and tons of ibuprofen. None of these things worked ultimately. The pain level has always been the same, but the length of the pain has grown and the amount of “painless time” has decreased.

In the beginning, I could stand or walk for 10 to 15 minutes. Today, I cannot stand or walk for more than 60 seconds before the pain comes and stays. I can’t sit, stand, walk, or lay down without pain. When I do stand, I contort my body in different ways to move the pain around. Nobody would know what I’m doing because it does not look abnormal. Only recently has it become more evident to people.

Historically, there would always be a counter or chair or rail that I could sit or prop on while talking to someone. If anything, I looked lazy but not debilitated.

During our conference in Alaska, I told the folks about my problem because I could not hide it during eight straight hours of teaching. I sat on stools or propped up by using the backs of chairs. At our Peru conference, I could prop in a similar way (or just sit). While traversing Silver Dollar City in Branson, MO, I got to speed around with all the “blue hair” (elderly) people in one of those motorized scooters. That was both embarrassing and exhilarating.

I don’t like to talk about it because, quite frankly, people are compassionate: they give you endless cure ideas. I also don’t talk about it because it becomes your identity; I’d rather talk about Christ and His work on earth.

I’ve never hidden my problem for any other reason, with the exception that talking about it so much is tiring. Plus, when people ask, it’s hard to reduce my answer to the thirty-second sound bite they want. Truthfully, I need ten minutes with you to tell you how I’m doing. Rarely does the person asking me how I’m doing expect me to talk ten minutes about my problems and it’s nearly impossible to tell them how I’m doing in thirty-second sound bites. It’s a relational dilemma. So I don’t talk about it a lot.

After the last MRI, it showed a bulging disc that is pushing against my spine. The sciatica has no other place to go and is being squeezed. The symptoms are excruciating pain in my left buttock, pain down my hamstring on my left leg, pain in the calf muscle, numbness, tingling, and my middle toe involuntarily twitches. My hips are also aching. Those are the main things.

The surgeon recommended, (a) do nothing, (b) injection to relieve the pain, (c) surgery. We’re looking at surgery. Soon.

I have speaking engagements in August and October; two in Colorado and one in Oregon, so we’re waiting, at this point, to see how soon I can get the surgery and recover, or wait until the fall.

Currently, my days consist of getting out of bed, writhing on the floor for 15 minutes until the pain subsides, crawling into my zero-gravity chair to work all day, and then go back to bed at night. I do sit up to do my podcasts, walk around the house a few minutes at a time, sit at the dinner table on occasion, and go random places around town. A few weeks ago, I got my handicap placard, which I do use as it saves me a few steps since my walk/stand time is down to seconds. I can go mostly anywhere anyone else can go; it just takes me longer.

I’m not discouraged or struggling spiritually. I don’t live in an illusion that my health should be perfect or that God has failed in some way because my health is spiraling. Though it takes longer to do everything, I still get to help people daily, and that is my reason for living–to bring fame to God by teaching others about Him. The kind of vessel I have to accomplish this good work is a lesser concern.

No, I’m not flippant about it, but I’m a sovereigntist: I do what I know to do and trust God with the results. Right now the physical “results” are painful, but our redemptive work is flourishing. The point is that I have nothing to complain about because of the goodness and mercy of God on my life. I would love your prayers. If Sovereign Father wants to change this thing, I’m open for the possibility.

 

Yesterday I was told that I had cancer

Back in July a bump appeared on my head. I’m not sure where I was, maybe in Fresno, CA camping with Harvest Bible Chapel Church of Fresno. A lady mentioned on Facebook that she thought it was a bee sting, and she is from that church, so apparently she knew about it then since I have not seen her again.

It was just a bump, nothing more and nothing less. I was not concerned with it. It did itch for a while. I had Lucia put a pin in it to see if it would pop. (A guy thing.) It didn’t pop. It did aggravate it, but that soon subsided.

The bump did not go away; I kept picking at it. By the time we got to Coffeyville, KS it seemed prudent to Lucia to go to a 24-hour care facility to get their perspective. (A girl thing.) The doc was not alarmed. She said there were no signs of anything other than a normal bump. She gave me some antibiotics and a topical ointment, which I took and put on for the rest of the trip and about a week or so after we arrived home–until it ran out.

Lucia made an appointment for me with our doctor. (Another girl thing.) I saw him, and he wanted me to see a specialist just in case, though he did not have any immediate concerns.

I saw the specialist yesterday. He also did not have any concerns, though he said you could not really know until they cut a piece out and put it under the microscope. They did. They called back about four hours later saying it was cancer. Squamous cell carcinoma.

I’m now scheduled for surgery on 09.21.15 to have it cut out. At that point I will know if they can get it all, if it has spread, and if there are more concerns. My thinking is that they can get it, but that is hope-filled based on no evidence.

The “C” word is sobering no matter how small the evidence of it. Now I know it’s possible. Some folks can go through their entire lives without any kind of brush with cancer. It may be dormant in their system, but stays that way.

Then there are others who have dormant cancer and it is triggered. I now know that I’m in that group. I hope this will aid my motivation to fight for health. I do eat somewhat healthy and exercise. I do the main five things they tell you to do:

1. Maintain the right weight.
2. Don’t smoke.
3. Drink alcohol only moderately.
4. Eat healthy.
5. Exercise regularly.

The sixth thing is the grace of God, but the health gurus don’t mention that essential element. I have not told the children yet. I do not want them to be pre-alarmed. Three weeks is too long for them to have to think about this.

I did put a note on Facebook because this is ultimately beyond any of our abilities to resolve. I asked our FB friends to talk to God about this. Though I appreciate FB for marketing purposes and really don’t care for it at all for anything else, it has been encouraging to know that scores and scores of people responded, and want to pray about this.

To be continued…

Where to live in my town

A friend sent me an email asking about where to live in the Upstate. I told her this:

If Greenville was the center of a clock, then directionally you would want to consider southwest, south, and southeast. The westside of Greenville is low-income, more transient, and crime (to the degree in which this is a crime area, which is low).

So…you would begin about the 7 o’clock position and sweep around to the 3 o’clock position. Any area within that range is good, PLUS those are the growing areas. If you like anything downtown, that would be great. Downtown is amazing, extremely safe, and culturally relevant.

Communities like Mauldin, Greenville, and parts of Simpsonville—that are closer to Mauldin. Actually all of Simpsonville is good; the issue is that it is more distance than what you might appreciate since everything centers around Greenville, and you’ll have to drive an extra 15 minutes to do the things you like. And even farther if you want to hike/camp/enjoy the mountains.

The better churches are also in the same sweep. Therefore, you could live in the TR (Travelers Rest) area and love the area, but you won’t find any good churches, therefore you will have to drive a distance—to the “sweep” area to attend a good church.

Our address is 120 Goodridge Court, Greer, SC 29651. You can google that. It is the absolute sweet spot to live. It is the current and next growth area, which means homes can be affordable, AND they are guaranteed to increase in value, which we will eventually sell after the kids leave and buy something somewhere—to be determined. We are thinking about a condo downtown because we love downtown life, and we’re thinking about San Diego because our biz model is not controlled by geography.

You will note that Greer is “everywhere” because they are aggressive with annexation. They brag about being the fastest growing community in SC, which is a joke, since their growth is largely due to taking over property. So, if someone says “Greer is a good area to live” it will depend on what area they are talking about. We live in Greer, but it’s one of the best parts of “Greer”.

TR is fantastic in that it is the LAST undeveloped area in the area. It will be another 30 to 50 years before it’s developed, which means a lot of country, privacy, and near to all the hiking and camping you can stand. I prefer to live close to people/church, and then travel to the hiking and camping, which really is not but an added 20 minutes. No biggie. I love TR a LOT.

Stay out of Spartanburg, though you can live in Spartanburg county, which we do (not Greenville county) because the tax rate is much less in Spartanburg. We actually live closer to Greenville downtown than Spartanburg downtown, though we live in Spartanburg county.

Hope that helps.

My most blessed 53rd birthday

I awoke Saturday morning with my son pressing his loving self into my bubble.

Big brown eyes. Innocent face. Nose to nose.

Good morning!

What a wonderful sight and feeling to experience.

He made me a card.

It was of a person on a bicycle.

He put a sticker on it that said, “Happy Birthday.”

What an inspiring way to begin your special day.

I roused myself out of bed. We got our stuff packed in the van and off we went for our birthday biking adventure. We attacked the 20-mile Swamp Rabbit Trail, which was our first biking excursion of the year.

We made it to Travelers Rest (TR), SC by 1PM. After pumping 10 tires–whoosh, and getting our water bottles and snacks configured, we were ready to set sail toward Greenville.

My 6-year old daughter had two wrecks, but persevered. She does not know how to stop her bike. The first wreck was when a lady got too close to her and my daughter overreacted.

This lady, named Emily, was so excited to see me. She said something like, “Oh my…you’re Dennis. How are you?” Awkward. I have no clue who Dennis is and was saddened to know there is another person in the world with my face.

She ran into the second lady. It was a tight spot and my daughter did not know how to navigate around her. The lady was quite nice and apologetic and we were too. I was hoping for better favor on the trip back.

We made the almost 10 mile trek in no time at all. When we hit our destination, the kids were ready to play in the Reedy River. It was refreshing after the long hot ride from TR. We ate a little, nibbled a little, and downed a lot of water.

I got Lucia her favorite Frap from Starbucks. I had the passion tea. It wasn’t southern, but anything cold and kinda sweet was a relief. It was Happy Hour at Starbucks. All Fraps were half price. Coolness.

We eventually moseyed back to TR. Going back was hard. (Our bottoms were not hard, which was a problem.) The seats were tough on all of us–all but my son. He did great.

My legs were nearly shot. I’m out of shape. I have been mostly flat on my back the past 10 weeks with the worst back problems of my 40-year history of back problems. (That’s another story.)

Mercifully, the Father gave me much grace and it was amazingly okay to do what we did. I hardly hurt except for my rear end.

We made it back to TR around 6:30PM to begin our “food adventure.” Lucia gave me an envelope full of free coupons for my birthday. That was super awesome. More on that later.

Tristen sewed me a small pillow for my back. This was wonderfully kind, thoughtful, and very practical. I drove home with it pushing my lower back out from the seat. It felt relieving. I’m going to keep it in the van so I can use it everyday. She made it out of worn out blue jeans.

Ansa gave me a card that had a personally crafted wheel on it. (See picture above.) You spin the wheel and a word appears through the cut-out, e.g. kind, loving, fun, caring, and so forth. It was perfectly edifying. My son gave me the aforementioned card with the bicycle on it.

The “Food Adventure”

We figured out which coupons we could use and began hitting the various restaurants. We went to McDonald’s, Chick-fil-A, TCBY, Red Robin, and Moe’s. We had to stop after that. We could not eat any more. Here’s the list of what we got for nothing:

  • Two chocolate milks from Mickey D’s
  • One apple juice from Mickey D’s
  • One hamburger from Mickey D’s
  • One chargrilled sandwich from Chick-fil-A
  • One regular sandwich from Chick-fil-A
  • One very large tea from Chick-fil-A
  • One very large Sprite from Chick-fil-A
  • A cup of white, chocolate moose from TCBY (Gave this to the kids.)
  • One humungously large Whiskey River onion ladened hamburger from Red Robin (1,119 calories)
  • One amazing amount of french fries from Red Robin
  • One homewrecker from Moe’s (had to bring that sucker home and put in the fridge. I wasn’t man enough to wolf it down.)
  • A big bag of chips from Moe’s

I was planing to head over to IHOP to get my free tootie fruity pancake stack, but my stomach was groaning and the Spirit was convicting. (For the record, my children ate most of these things.)

We would stop, get the food, and go to the next place. It was kinda like a motorized five-course-meal with the dessert tossed into the middle of it–a hit and run. We were not interested in Emily Post’s rules of etiquette.

Our primary interests were saving gas, saving time, seeing how much food we could get for nothing, and the main thing: make a lot of memories.

Geography and common sense ruled out the what, when, and the how of eating. Of course, the kids did not take issue with eating dessert in-between the main courses.

One of the cool things was that we had time to digest the food while heading to the next place. We also planned stops at Rita’s Ice and Texas Roadhouse, but Rita would not take our coupon and the Roadhouse required the purchase of an entrée with the free birthday appetizer.

Five restaurants. Two hours. Lots of laughing, sharing, and a couple of belches. It was a memorable and unforgettable time. That’s what we did on my birthday.

What do you want?

My children ask me each year what I want for my birthday. Every year I tell them some version of the same thing. I’m like Paul in the sense of what he communicated in Philippians 4:19.

God has most assuredly supplied all I need through Jesus Christ my Lord. My only request, the version they always get, is a paraphrase of what John told us in his third letter:

I have no greater joy than to hear that my children are walking in the truth. – 3 John 4 (ESV)

My family has generously given me all sorts of things throughout the years. Most of those gifts have been forgotten or broken or both. But there is one gift I regularly long for and I think about it all the time: do they love Jesus and others more than anything else (Matthew 22:36-40)?

That is all I want from my wife and my children. If they can give me these two gifts, then I will be satisfied. All the other gifts, though I appreciate, will rust and vanish. Their living out the love of God toward God and others is the height of other-centered generosity.

Each year I do think about gifts for my birthday. I think that is normal. And each year I ask my wife not to get me anything. Sometimes they will buy me something. Sometimes they don’t.

This year the gifts they gave me were probably four of the best they have ever given me. They were not store-bought. They were handmade. They came from the hearts of my wife and my children.

I had the joy of opening each one, knowing I was opening part of who they are as my friends. Before each gift was opened, I saw their smiles and perceived their anticipation. They anticipated me being blessed. It was a brief but beautiful thing to enjoy each one of them in that moment.

It’s about the relationship

But the best gift of all was them giving me 12 uninterrupted hours with my family. That was priceless. They could have bought me something from the store. I could have opened it. I would have said, “Thank you.” They would have gone out to play. I would have been left with my gifts.

They chose not to do that to me. They gave me themselves–for a whole day. We rode hard. We played hard. We fell hard. We laughed nearly the whole time. Tristen, Haydn, and I shot into a parking garage and rode up a car ramp.

My son practiced leading our family down the Swamp Rabbit Trail–he took the point. He stopped at each crossing, jumped off his bike, and caught his little sister’s bike–the only way she could stop.

My oldest daughter spread her usual cheer and creativity through the family. She finds joy in everything. God has given her a gift to make much joy out of the simplest and most overlooked things.

My youngest daughter fell twice, but winced very little. She was up for a big mission and hardly complained–though I pushed her through a bush. After we crossed the various roads I would shove her, to get her started again. My last shove had a bad trajectory and she split a bush, promptly stepped off the bike, and maintained composure.

My wife? She is Christ to me. She is the stabilizing force in the family. She plans and perseveres. She is my reminder of the Holy Spirit–never drawing attention to herself, but always serving others.

This is what my birthday gift looked like–unwrapped and presented. This is what I received from my best friends. It was a beautiful day. On top of that, the Father gently reminded me about my priorities, wants, and cravings.

He reminded me that I have everything a man could ever want. He reminded me of His faithfulness, love, and mercy. He let me experience my family through His eyes. I saw a glimpse of what He sees and experiences. It’s not about the gifts, but about enjoying each other.

The gift of the Giver?

  • What is it I want most of all?
  • Do I want Christ or what Christ can give me?
  • What do I really cherish?
  • Does Christ + Nothing really = Everything?

In some sense Christ’s gifts and Christ the Person are inseparable. You can’t have Christ without Him giving you the gift of salvation. It’s the gift that opens the door to the best thing of all, which is Himself. The gift becomes a means to a greater end for sure.

The things my family gave me on my birthday were wonderful, but not the main things or even the best things. My birthday, like salvation, was merely a door to the main thing–enjoying a relationship with my family. It was an opportunity for reciprocal enjoyment of each other.

Isn’t that what our life with Christ is all about? It’s about Him and us. We have Him. He has us. It’s not about getting more when we already have all we need. While gifts may have been a nice expression of my family’s love, I received a better expression of their love when they gave me themselves.

It was not about what I received, but about who we were–together, and the pleasure we found in each other. My big day was about them, me, us. We were one on the Swamp Rabbit Trail and we enjoyed each other.

This is analogous to what Christ wants from us. He gave us the gift of salvation so we could enjoy Him. Sometimes I can lose this perspective, while setting my gaze on what He’s giving or what I want or what I’m not getting from Him. What interests you most of all:

  1. A relationship with Christ?
  2. Or what Christ can give you?

I have all I need

Oh, the shallowness of opening presents when that is the extent of our relationship we each other.

Dear Jesus, give me you and with that give me the wisdom and the grace to know that all other things in my life are merely doors to walk through in order to enjoy you more fully. If you choose to give me the gift of suffering, enable me to enjoy you in the suffering. If you choose to give me more desirable gifts, enable me to not lose sight of what is most important. It’s you. I want you most of all.

Today, because of the grace of God, I had the privilege to reexamine my heart regarding my priorities, my gratitude, and my wants. Though I appreciate gifts, the Father reminded me of something deeper and richer. It’s relationship.

I don’t want my eyes more focused on what I’m getting or not getting, but on the One who does the giving and the taking away. It’s not about the gift, but about the Giver. Dear God, change my heart.

The LORD gave, and the LORD has taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD. – Job 1:1 (ESV)

The Father reminded me of these things through my family. They gave me the greatest gift of all. They gave me themselves. In time, the homemade pillow and the cards will go away. The coupons are already gone.

The memories that were born out of our relationship will never go away. That was Saturday. My son asked me on Sunday if we could go on another “food adventure” on Monday. I’m thinking he liked the gifts, but if you pressed him, he would tell you he enjoyed being with his best friends.

The Day the Festiva Died

Last Thursday on my way to work I wrecked the Festiva. I was almost at the office, heading down Lovett Drive. I was going somewhere between 15 and 20 MPH. As I was heading into an intersection a lady pulled out from her stop sign right into my path. My street did not have a stop sign so I had the right of way. I was so close to her when she pulled into the intersection that there was no way I could avoid hitting her.

It happened in slow motion. I’m not sure how that happens. It was like my mind slowed the event down, frame by frame even though it was in real time. I hit her on the front passenger side. Her front side was knocked in and her tire was bent. My front end was knocked in, pushing the hood up out of place. The passenger side door was jammed as well.

Because my car (really the car Lucia bought when she was single) is a 1992 Festiva, they have to total it. It would cost probably two to three times its current worth to repair it, therefore there was no option but to total it. This is sad.

Interestingly enough, I was praying on the way to work about whether to put the car in the shop. It has been a good car. God answered that prayer. I’m curious as to what God has in mind. We were okay with getting it repaired prior to the wreck. Now that it is wrecked, we’re okay with replacing it, if we choose to replace it. We may just go with one car. We’ll see what He has in mind.