God recently brought to my memory an incident that happen over 15 years ago. My oldest was probably around 2 years old (he's 19.5 now)--though he was not with me and the incident did not involve him.
I was in community college and would ride my bike to and from school. The Mr. and I had been married a couple years and he worked @ Pep Boys back then. I was riding my bike, as I always did, wearing my floral print rayon skirt-shorts that were popular in the 90's. A professor was in his car in the driveway to the staff parking lot, on his way out.
Next thing I know, I am under his car. I am getting hit by a car. This car is going to run over my legs. What is this going to feel like? Am I going to die? His front passenger tire pins my left thigh to the steel frame of my bike, mangled between my legs, as I lie on the black asphalt. My butt is showing! I have no memory of it, but somehow I jump up quickly so I am not 'exposed'.
I am sitting on the curb of the street. My right hand has a cut on the back of it, between my thumb and forefinger, where the handle of the hand break broke as I gripped it. From the impact, I assume. Unusual for me, I am sobbing uncontrollably. I take slow deep breathes in an attempt to control my emotions but I can't stop crying. I have no other noticeable injuries.
"Are you ok?" A male student asks. The professor approaches, he is shaken up and looks worried.
"I," deep breath, "am ok." Another deep breath. "I don't know why," deep breathe, "I am crying." Deep breath. "I can't stop crying."
"Is there someone we can call?" the professor asks.
Deep breath, "Call my husband." Deep breath.
I guess I communicated that he was working at Pep Boys and someone calls him.
An ambulance arrives. I still haven't stopped crying. An EMT asks if I want to go to the hospital. I don't have insurance or money for this. I continue to insist I am fine. He wraps my hand with a bandage and tape. Am I going to get billed for this? I am too embarrassed to ask aloud.
A police officer questions me. "Which direction were you going?" "Were you riding in the street?"
"Well, not until I realized he was going to hit me," I remember answering. I get the feeling this is my fault...or that the officer thinks so.
My husband arrives. I am sure he must've asked if I was ok, my memory gets fuzzy here too. Turns out the Mr. knows this professor from a class he had with him before. I remember standing there and watching the Mr and the professor laugh and joke about the incident and feeling very disconnected. The Mr. puts my bike in the trunk of our Buick Regal--it fits now that it is bent beyond repair, the front tire rim in a nearly 90 degree angle.
What God showed me in this memory was MY own wall of independence. I did not allow myself to be vulnerable. I felt I had to be ok. I insisted I was fine. I believed I had to take care of myself--I didn't *need* anyone. It would make a fun story later--it was no big deal, right? If I wasn't 'ok', it meant I was weak. I couldn't be weak.
As I remember this incident--God also shows me the deep, true need I had in that moment. The crying--a normal response for a traumatic, adrenaline rushing experience. I was NOT 'ok'. My 130 lb body had just been hit by a car that had to have weighed at least a few *thousand* pounds. Yes, I could have been killed. Things were NOT 'fine'. It is miraculous that I walked away. Period. And with only the cut on my hand and eventually, an excessively large bruise on the inside of my left leg. What I needed was a protector. What I needed, was to be told I was NOT ok. I needed someone... I needed the Mr. to give me a giant bear hug and allow me to crumble into a puddle into his arms--comfort. (it's possible this happened but it's not what I remember)
My own defensive wall pushed away, in an attempt to cover up, the very thing I really needed. The past is past. God, however, knows our needs. He knew them back then and He knows them now. He is the one who fulfills those needs. He's created needs within us to drive us to Him for fulfillment, satisfaction, to make us whole. Of course, most often we hold back out of fear...of rejection, of not getting our needs met. Christ never rejects.
Thinking I needed to be strong and take care of myself is exactly opposite of how God created me, created us. There is grace and redemption in that: But he said to me, "My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness." Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ's power may rest on me. 2Cor 12:9
By being vulnerable, admitting we have needs, we allow God to work through Himself and sometimes others to fulfill that need. If we push others away in an attempt to 'be strong'--we close ourselves off to love...and off to others. A lose-lose situation. And if we are closed off to receiving love, it is safe to assume we are closed off to giving love as well. This memory gave me so much more insight to all the moments after this one--in my life-long pursuit, desire and fight to love and be loved.
I thought I was a fearless lover of people--but this incident clearly reveals I was not. There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear, because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. 1John 4:18
No more fear.
My love-story is not over...and neither is yours.