While driving 65mph on a major freeway in Southern California, I failed to see the driver in my blind spot and hit her, causing both our vehicles to lose control. My car flew across four lanes of traffic (amazingly hitting no one), narrowly avoided going over the embankment, and did a 180. It finally stopped in the middle of the freeway. Providentially, all of the traffic avoided hitting us, and miraculously, none of us were hurt.
After some above-and-beyond help from the California Highway Patrol officer, we were back on the freeway within an hour, traveling to my friend’s house, where we stayed for the night, due to my frayed nerves and over-emotional state.
Split Second Failures
I spent the next week thinking about the accident constantly. There is no question that the accident was my fault. My fault. And had it gone differently, which it so easily could have, it would also have been my fault if my family had died—my fault.
And it was all because I didn’t turn my head an extra inch or two to look back and see the other driver—a split-second failure.
I know that this world is filled with parents who make similar split-second failures. Sometimes they salvage the mistake. Other times, the results can be damaging and even fatal. Reliving the accident and the implications made me feel paralyzed all week. I began to wonder if it was ridiculous ever to allow my children to be alone, ever to take a moment myself to relax or take a break from the vigil of mothering. I also began to wonder if it was even worth bothering because there were so many ways my children could be hurt; I could never protect them from all of the possibilities.
I guess for all of us there are moments when the momentous nature of parenting slams us right in the chest, and we feel like failures. But as the week went on and I recovered emotionally, I began to be thankful for the near-miss. Thankful to have a reminder of God’s protection over my life and my children’s lives. Thankful to be awoken from the sleepy attitude I sometimes take to parenting. And I was thankful for another chance to do better next week.
But I also settled into the knowledge that though I could have prevented that accident on that day, there are hundreds of other happenings in this sinful world that I cannot prevent. And I have two choices: I can live in fear of those moments. I can allow it to keep me from giving independence to my kids. I can spend all of my emotional energy worrying about them every minute. Or. Or. I can have faith.
Faith in myself as a mother who is doing her best. Faith in my children’s abilities to choose wisely. Also, faith in my Heavenly Parent, who holds their lives in large hands, just as my life has been held for so long. Faith that God has a plan for all of us, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future” (Jeremiah 29:11).
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Joelle Yamada writes from the Pacific Southwest.© 2002 - 2023, AnswersForMe.org. All rights reserved. Click here for content usage information.