“CLICK IT or TICKET!”
“Yes… I understand…thank-you.”
It sounds like someone else spoke those words. The voice is distant, separate from herself, subdued, yet composed. “Thank You?” Grace thought absently, “Why do we say “Thank-You” even when the message is horrific?”
As if in slow motion, she sets the receiver back into the cradle. She determines not to disintegrate into tears. “I’ll go to pieces later.” but that click pummels fear through her maternal core.
Aimee, her 25 year old daughter lays in the university trauma center.
“…collided with another vehicle…no seatbelts” the voice conveyed from the other end of the phone. “She’s critical but we stabilized her on the vent.”
“What does that mean?” Grace wondered. “Is she not breathing on her own?”
“Upon initial examination the C-5 and C-6 vertebrae appear crushed. We’ll need you to come in…complete the paperwork…Ma’am? Are you there? Do you understand?”
“Yes… I understand…thank-you.”
Grace replays the conversation in her mind, hearing the finality of that “click” over and over. She stands, hand still clutched on the receiver; processing all the words but at the same while, contriving. “If I could somehow move backward and never answer the phone, she imagines, it will reverse this melodrama. Surely this is somebody else’s nightmare! I’ll wake up any minute!” The whole thing feels surreal. Grace releases her white-knuckled grip on the phone. ”There’s no fixing this one,” she thought. “No matter how much we may try to intervene, Aimee got herself into something neither of her parents can reverse.”
Shifting into automatic, Grace snatches her purse and keys off the foyer table. She exits the front door and as it locks behind her with another resounding “click”, Grace realizes life will never be the same. “Will Aimee come home in a wheelchair or will she never come home?”
“Where is God in all of this?” she asks.
As Grace steers onto the ramp toward the hospital parking garage, she sees a huge billboard looming overhead. A rather imposing figure of a state policeman with a Smokey-the-Bear type hat perched on his head, peers down at her. With arms folded across his chest, his austere expression communicates watchful, omnipresence. Large, emboldened, brassy-red letters, command, “CLICK IT OR TICKET!”
It wouldn’t have taken Aimee a moment of time or energy to fasten her seatbelt. It might have saved her from this. Grace maneuvers into a parking space, turns off the ignition and sobs remembering the finality of the “click” after the phone conversation, the locking “click” of the door and closure of life as they knew it. “But God, she whispers, You are the God of Salvation, offering hope and mercy. You offer everyone grace, though many refuse to ‘click it’ even when it comes to their eternal security. Salvation is free but it’s up to each individual to take the responsibility to ask You into their life.”
Struggling for composure, Grace slides out of the car, bracing for whatever she will soon see. “I need You, she prays, Help me now. Please help me now and help others to see eternity as it is; real and forever, death or life. Open their eyes to choose life before it’s too late.”
Grace approaches the emergency room doors and they instantly click open. She passes through and without a shade of doubt, He walks right there beside her.
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