>I had an experience last week that I can’t seem to get off my mind. Quite honestly, I feel like a huge wimp every time the incident comes to mind and I remember the immense amount of fear that overtook my mind and blocked out all other thought. My body took on a life of it’s own and started shaking so badly that I had almost no control over my limbs and my stomach revolted by vomiting out everything inside it.
Wow, I just got lost in the feelings once again and you are probably sitting there wondering when I am actually going to tell the story…
Last week was youth camp and this year we took the kids up Doi Inthanon (the highest mountain in Thailand) to a hilltribe village a couple hours up the mountain. On the second day we loaded the kids up in the trucks and drove them to a nearby waterfall to play for a little while. The camp had no showers and we were all disgustingly dirty so this was our way of trying to wash some of the nastiness off everyone. On the way back down to camp I was driving a truck with about 15 kids in the back when the incident happened. I was on a narrow road where one side dropped off in a sharp cliff and the other side rose up the mountain. I am still not sure how it happened but one moment everything was fine and the next moment, my right front tire was off the road and hanging over the cliff. I put on my emergency break and yelled at all the kids to get out of the truck. Unfortunately, sometimes teenagers are a little too absorbed in themselves to realize what is going on around them and they responded by telling me that they were not going to get out because they didn’t want to walk back to camp. At this point, something inside me broke and I screamed at them to get out of the truck as quickly as possible. They must have noticed the change in my voice because they all jumped out this time and finally realized what was happening. As soon as the kids got out of the truck, the road gave way a little more and both of my front tires were hanging over the cliff.
I have to take a moment out of my story and share with you my disappointment in myself. There I was, sitting in the truck, looking down over the side of the cliff, honestly thinking that I might die at any moment and my mind just froze. I didn’t know what to do so, I did nothing. I always hope that in moments of dire need I will immediately turn to God for help and comfort but I have to admit that did not happen. I didn’t stop to pray and ask for guidance and help, I just sat there frozen in fear. And I find myself very disappointed in myself and questioning why I reacted the way I did.
Back to the story…
At this point, my friend Mel came running up to the passenger side window to see if I was okay. She had been driving the truck behind me and saw it all happen. I don’t remember much of what she said but I remember that she calmed me down enough to realize that there were four or five Thai men standing on my side of the truck talking to me. I don’t claim to be an excellent Thai speaker, I pretty much just get by. But it takes a lot of my brain power to have a conversation in Thai and at that moment in time, my brain power was registering below zero due to the fear. So, I turned to Mel to translate for me and she told me that the men had placed large rocks in front of my rear tires to keep the truck from rolling forward off the cliff. They were going to pull it back and wanted me to gun it in reverse once my front tires were back on the road. At this point, I almost threw up in the truck because I could barely move, much less drive. One of the men told me to take my foot off the brake, turn the truck off and climb out the back. I don’t know how I did it, except that I remember having help because I could not bring myself to move on my own. The next thing I remember is having someone help me to the side of the road to sit down because I was shaking so bad that I couldn’t walk. I remember throwing up and then crying. And I remember all the kids just looking at me and asking me if I was okay. I remember Mel telling all the kids to walk back to camp and give me some privacy. Later I was told that one of the Thai men got in the truck and with the help of his friends, brought it back onto the road. I just sat there for a while until the tears stopped and my body stopped shaking enough for me to walk back to camp.
As soon as my brain started functioning again, I started thanking God over and over again for all the protection he provided. I thanked him for keeping the kids safe, for keeping me safe, for Mel calming me down, for the random Thai men who pretty much saved my life, for every single thing he did during the incident. And I started apologizing to God for letting my fear take over and not coming to him immediately. Luckily I serve an amazing God who loves me and understands my fears. Instead of being angry with me, he has comforted me and given me a big hug to let me know that all is well.
It was quite an experience and I never want to go through anything like that again. Hopefully I will stop dreaming of driving off cliffs soon and I would love to forget the fear that consumed me during those moments. But in the meantime, I thank God for life!