Wednesday, June 26, 2013

A Retrieval … and Maybe a Miracle

I’ve been posting most of my post-car-wreck accidents on Facebook.  I have made them “public,” so that everyone can see them, even folks who are not on FB. Let me know if you need a link. 

Today, I got the info from the insurance adjuster.  He pronounced the car a "total loss."  Since he was finished with my car, I planned to go out to the Broadway Wrecker lot after work to see if I could get the rest of my stuff out of the wrecked trunk of my Taurus.  I did, and it was successful. 

At first, I drove into their property and drove around the lot, looking for the Taurus.  I didn't see it there.  But, OMG! what horrific crashed vehicles I did see.  It breaks the heart.  I couldn't help but wonder, looking at some of them, if anyone had gotten out alive.  Talk about a reality check and a recalibration of my perspective!

An employee flagged me down, and directed me to their huge indoor garage/storage space.  The Taurus was in there.  In fact, the guy who immediately took me in hand was Fred. I didn't recognize him at first, but he remembered me, because he was one of the two wrecker drivers Sunday night.  He knew the Taurus and I went together.  

But that's not the miracle.  

He said the other folks – the ones who killed my car – had their vehicle towed out earlier today.  It's not quite totaled, but darn near it, according to Fred.  Turns out, the car didn't belong to the driver-dude, but to his girlfriend.  Fred thinks it's likely that she does have insurance.  That would be a good thing. 

But that's not the miracle. 

My back seats fold down, so I knew (or hoped) I could access the trunk that way.  As I crawled into the backseat to retrieve the trunk contents, I saw Fred get a screwdriver and start to remove the license plates.  [He gave them to me, BTW.  I didn't realize I "owned" the license plates.]  Then I noticed he was at the back of the car, trying to get the trunk to open from the rear to give me easier access. And that's all I thought he was doing. 

And here comes my personal little miracle. 

When Fred couldn't open the trunk, I was vaguely aware, he started prying at some of the trunk edges.  So when I crawled out of the back seat after emptying the trunk, with my knees and arms abraded by safety glass, there he stood, looking down at the thing he had placed on the floor.  Shaking his head, he said, "I can't believe this thing survived! It looks almost untouched." 

Have you guessed it yet?  

It was the bicycle carrier!  You may have seen the accident photos, and how it looked like the carrier was bent beyond recognition. But sitting there on the garage floor, it looked completely intact and seemed to be square. One just does not weep in the presence of a friendly curmudgeon or plant a big ol' hug on him, but I did my best to express my gratitude to Fred. As I told Fred, I had not even planned to look at it -- much less to touch it.  [I ddn't tell him how deeply I grieved its loss.]  What I saw Sunday night told me it was a goner.  I guess Fred thought otherwise.  I don't know why he decided to see whether it was salvageable, but I sure am glad he did.  

This is how the bicycle carrier looked Sunday night. I assumed it was a goner -- wrecked beyond all hope.
Some of you may be aware that this bicycle carrier (and the bicycle which was safely in the house) were gifts from my dear friend, Marc Smith, who is now a priest in St. Louis. If so, you may know how much the bicycle carrier and bicycle matter to me, because of their connections with my friend Marc.  Of course, I'll need to take the carrier to my cycle guy to help me assess it, but I'm quite hopeful at the moment.  It's weird that the potential recovery of the rack moves me with joy even more than the loss of the car moves me with loss. I've blathered on a long time here, but I hope maybe you will understand. 

This is a potent reminder to me that, in the midst of this shock and disruption of my wrecked car, I continue to experience many blessings. 

When this is all settled and I have a weekend day to cook, I'm going to make a bit ol' batch of cookies for Fred and the guys at Broadway Wrecker.  They were marvelous here Sunday at the scene of the accident.  Since I can't give Fred a big ol' hug, I guess cookies will be the next best thing I can appropriately do.  Don't ya think? 

Monday, June 24, 2013

My Car … It is No More

Or: God Punishes Those Who Clean House

I got home today after Church, determined to clean house.  And that’s what I did.  But in the late afternoon I heard something that sounded like a bomb.  I looked out my windows, and saw neighbors running to the front of my house.  I saw my poor Ford Taurus, crashed about 20 feet into my neighbor’s yard. 

The rear half of my Taurus had been smashed to smithereens.  Fortunately, the idiot who hit it … his car was also disabled, so he could not “hit and run.” 

I am deeply grateful for my neighbors.  They had feared I was in the car when it was demolished.  They were very kind and supportive. They were onsite and calling 911 even before I could get out of my house.
The Police arrived promptly.  The wrecker also arrived promptly.  I can’t say how I felt, seeing my car being towed away.

I am grateful to the neighbors who helped me retrieve belongings from the car before it was towed away.

But I don’t know what to do now.  Since I was 16, I have always had a car.  For the first time since I was 16, I don't have a car ... because mine was towed to the junkyard.  I’m not sure what to do now. 

Here are some images. 

My poor car.  Crashed up into the neighbor's yard. 

The wrecker crew is shoveling all the glass, plastic, and metal off to the side of the street. 

The tow-truck is trying to get by car up.  They had a hard time of it.  The frame was so badly bent, and the rear end was so damaged, that they had trouble getting it up on the truck.

Farewell, dear Taurus.  You served me well.  It breaks my heart to see the rear half of the car just decimmated by the idiot driver who crashed into you.

This was the 1st photo I took.  I had parked my car with its rear end by the utility pole.  You can see how far the marauding car hit it.  

And here is the car that demolished my car.  (The woman at left is just a kind neighbor helping him.)  This yahoo has a 2012 model car.  He totalled mine.  And he had no proof of insurance at the scene of the assault. ..  I wonder: Why does a stupid, recklesss 20-something-year-old afford a 2012 model car ... and I'm now without my 2002 car (which is all I can afford)?  Neighbors reported that he was tossing baggies out of his car when it crashed.  I guess drugs pay a lot more than my salary.  

Saturday, June 01, 2013

My Parish Steps into the Question of SSBs with Listening Sessions

Exterior view of my church
I'm pleased to provide a follow-up to my post from Sunday. Some more information has been published in the parish newsletter (which I received today) and is being printed as an insert in tomorrow's service leaflet.  You can read the full text here.  

There will be three "listening sessions," from June 8 to 16.

As I wrote in comments on my previous post, I had learned that these will not be "free-for-all" but structured conversations.  The parish leadership is asking all members to reflect on three questions in preparation for the sessions.  They are: 
  1. What occasions in your life have prompted you to seek the formal blessing of the church?
  2. Into what covenantal relationships have you entered?  And how did you mark those liturgically?
  3. How has the authority of Scripture impacted your decision making on important matters? Does the church you were raised in (i.e., your formative experience) affect your approach to Scripture?
I'm pleased to see those questions.  I think they are good ones, which should lead to some probing among all who attend the listening sessions. They are already motivating me to begin organizing my own thoughts. And I am comforted to know those are the questions that will organize the listening sessions. 

They also remind me of the sort of questions that were posted in the big Episcopal Church conference held in Atlanta back in March 2011 (which I also attended) to reflect on TEC's development of rites for same-sex blessings. Both are using questions designed to encourage reflection and dialogue, not "position statements."  Kudos to our parish leaders for following that model. 

Also, notice this: The sessions are being held in the sanctuary, not the parish hall.  The same was true of the listening sessions a couple years ago, when we were considering whether/how to reorganize our worship space.  I think it's no accident that the parish leaders have chosen to hold the conversations in our "holy space" and not in the parish hall.  I think being in that space calls us to be in attitude of prayer, reverence, and respect, even if we may have difficult things to say and difficult stories to share.  

I thank all who have shared this walk with me, and I hope you will continue to keep me and my parish in your prayers.  

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