Surviving Private Ryan

“Private Ryan”, my son said to the account manager at the bank.  “I call my minivan Private Ryan.”

We were there opening up his first checking account in preparation for going off to college in the fall.  The account manager and my son were joking about the names they had given their first automobiles.  I just sat there laughing as I contemplated how grown-up he had become.

It was an ordinary day.

I ran to the grocery store quickly as it was our day to “feed the team” for basketball.  We were trying to get all the necessary things done to provide sustenance for our son’s basketball team.  I walked in the door, put down my things, and looked at my phone.

A text read, “Guys, pick up your phone.  I totaled my car.”

Panicked, I called my son.

“Mom, I totaled my car.  I’m near the reservoir.  Come quick.”

I called to my husband, and we rushed out the door.

Driving up to the scene, the horror of seeing our first family minivan crumpled up awaited me.  I jumped out of the car.  As I was running to the scene, I saw my 6’3” baby boy clad in his red Letterman jacked walking toward me.  Yes, my boy was walking toward me.  I examined him all over as I asked, “Are you all right?  Did you bump your head?”

There were no visible injuries, no blood, nothing.  There he was saying, “Yes, I’m all right.”

He proceeded to explain what had happened, how he lost control going around a curve because he over-corrected a bit when he felt his tire go off the road.  After swerving all around, he panicked, let go of the wheel, and hit a tree going 40 mph.  The van landed away from the tree, so I can only imagine how it go there.  It was smoking, and a nice gentleman had stopped to help my boy.  Soon it became a whirlwind of law enforcement, fire trucks, and EMS.

When all was said and done, the car was totaled and the tree was cracked in half from top to bottom.  Mulberry, I am told, is one of the hardest woods, so it had to have been quite an impact.  Yet there my son stood uninjured with the exception of some bruises from the seat belt.

Later, I took him to the emergency room just to be safe.  After several X-rays and examinations, the verdict came back that there were no injuries other than bruises from the seat belt…the seat belt that by the grace of God saved his life.

My son is with me today surviving what happened with Private Ryan because he wore his seat belt.  I call it a miracle and praise God everyday that he gave us more time with this remarkable boy.

At any moment, at any time, on any ordinary day, life can change drastically.  We may think we have control, but we do not.  God decides when we enter this world, and He decides when we leave.  I could be sitting here with a very different story, but by His grace, God chose to let us have a story of survival.  This is not always the case, and we have since heard many stories from others about teens who did not make it.

I asked my son, “If you would have died today, do you know if you would have gone to Heaven?”

“Yes, mom.  I’m convinced,” was the reply.  “But God didn’t want me there with Him yet.”

Ordinary days happen all the time.  They can turn into something that you never would have expected.  Are you ready?

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