All because of a sack of potatoes!
We were on our way to a church youth camp in Fermanagh.
Fred and I with our three children Jonathan, Daniel and Linda who ranged from 4 to 9 years old. We would be away for a week so the boot of the car was quite full with suitcases.
Some of the other leaders had arranged for a large sack of potatoes (free of charge of course) to be given for the camp and as the location was along the route we would be taking to Fermanagh, we were the obvious ones to stop and collect it.
When we got near the address we were met by the daughter of a friend who knew the location and I got out of the car to let her get in the front beside Fred to direct him up a short side road unto another road and along that road.
A short while later, having collected the sack of potatoes, I saw Fred's car arrive at the end of the side road and stop to wait to be able to turn into this road to come back to the main road where I was waiting.
Just then I heard a screech of brakes.
A small truck with a trailer attached to it was making this awful sound as it tried to slow down approaching Fred's car from behind.
Too late it jammed into the car and force of this knocked the car several yards up the road. I ran up the little side road and when I got to the car they were trying to get out but none of the doors would open.
After some forcing we managed to get the two front doors open and Fred and Glenda were able to get out of the car, but no matter what we did the 2 back doors were jammed tight because the accident had pushed in the back of the car so much that it had crushed forward against the doors.
We also had trouble getting the seat belts off the children and then Fred lifted Linda out to me & the boys climbed out through the front of the car.
I remember yelling at the driver of truck that he could have killed my children but I don't remember that he said anything at all.
Well everyone was out of the car and no-one seemed to be injured.
Although the children had had a terrible fright they were coping very well; much better than I was.
All I could think was
"That driver had put my family in grave danger and he didn't seem to realize it"
Even though I was not involved in that accident I have always felt that I was the one most affected by it because I was the one who saw that it was going to happen and saw it actually happen but had no chance of doing anything to stop it happening.
Later when the car had been towed off to a garage, we were told that it was a write-off because the force of the impact had pushed the rear of the car forward so much and had broken the chassis of the car.
We have often wondered whether having the boot of the car filled so full with cases and the big sack of potatoes actually helped to prevent the children in the back from being injured because if the boot had been empty it may have crushed in and the truck may have gone farther into the car.
Regardless of that, we know that yet again God had been there and protected everyone in the car.
Do we realize what an impact our actions can have on other people?
I really don't think that driver thought about that when he was driving too fast he couldn't stop in time but I do hope he thinks about it now.
Do we realize what an impact our words can have on other people?
I really don't think that driver did because he didn't even apologize to us.
Perhaps he didn't want to admit he was in the wrong because it was a car accident.
Or perhaps he was realising just what could have happened when I was shouting at him.
Perhaps I didn't think about what impact my words can have too.
I am thankful that God protects us.
I am also thankful that He uses incidents in our lives to speak to us about our words and our actions.