You Just Never Know

napa-624x257

I recently spent 3 days completely off the grid with 2 other friends. We spent a few days at a cabin in the woods of Pennsylvania hitting the reset button and refreshing our minds. It was awesome. I have a million stories, but one that must be told shook all three of us to our core. First, let me set the scene a bit….

Our mode of transportation for this adventure was an old pickup truck. Before we left we checked the fluids and filled as necessary. While checking them again before returning, I noted that one of us (probably me) forgot to put the cap back on the place where you pour the oil (official title). That’s not good. Not good at all. We decided to hit up a local auto parts store for a replacement cap before making the 4 hour journey home.

When we walked in, we found an older gentleman behind the counter. I explained what we needed and he began to search his computer for the correct part. When I say it was taking forever, I am not exaggerating. In my mind I was thinking “dude, how hard can it be? I could have found it on my cell phone by now.” Since that was pretty rude, I obviously didn’t say it. I would find out later my other traveling companions were thinking the same thing. He eventually found the part and that’s when it happened….

He said “we’ve got one. It will take me a few minutes since I’m not moving that fast due to my accident”. Next, all three of us would watch as he produced a walker from behind the counter (which we couldn’t see). As he slowly made his way down the parts sections, we noted a boot with pins holding his foot together. I was immediately beating myself up for even thinking what I had just thought. The story was just beginning though.

When he returned we began to make small talk asking about his injury. He proceeded to tell us how it was his first day back. 8 weeks ago he was driving home with his son in their GMC Envoy. At the crest of a hill, they met a Honda Civic which was traveling over 100 MPH and was fishtailing. The driver was arguing with his girlfriend on a cell phone. He went on to tell us that his GMC literally “cut that Civic in half”. The driver was thrown from the car and killed. You could feel the weight in his words. Regret and pain as he relived that moment. But he wasn’t done. The worst was still to come.

He told us that in the back seat of that Civic was a baby. I don’t remember who, but one of us finally asked the tough question…”did the baby make it?” and what he said next crushed us…”no”. What do you say in a moment like that? How do you comfort a complete stranger? In the silence of that moment, my friend Chad said “It’s not your fault”. It was about the only thing to say. We spent the remainder of our time listening, encouraging and struggling with what to do and what to say. It was just brutal.

There are a million ways to take this post. There are so many things to say but I think my immediate takeaway (even while I stood there) was the reminder that you never know what’s going on in someones life. I went from being a little put off at how long this man was taking to look up a simple part to being broken for the road he must travel now. Even as I type this, I am crushed. Broken for that family. Broken for that accident. Broken for a baby that never had a chance. So I’ll take this as a reminder. That car ahead of you that rushed past. That woman that yelled at you for no apparent reason. That guy that seemed in a hurry to get nowhere. Take a moment. Take a breath. Consider that you just never know what someone else is going through. You just never know.

Pray for our new friend. His name is Patrick. He’s dealing with a lot. More than I can even wrap my head around.

8 comments

  1. jen · October 10, 2012

    wow. what a good and truthful reminder…

    • Aaron · October 10, 2012

      That was my exact thought as I was walking out. So, so true.

  2. Ryan Grammatico · October 10, 2012

    Blown away! Thank you to you guys for engaging him and listening and even more importantly, grieving with him. I know you don’t know the immediate effects but I do know that Patrick is now being prayed for by a ton of people.

    • Aaron · October 10, 2012

      Thanks Ryan. To be honest, we were kicking ourselves for several miles as we drove away for not at least offering to pray for him right there on the spot. We gave the casual “we’ll be praying for you”, but honestly felt like we should have done more. Teachable moment for sure.

  3. B.J. Miller · October 10, 2012

    I don’t attend your Church…but I have friends that do. I was drawn to your blog because you are a recent add on to the Pastoral Staff at Rock City, and I wanted to see who and what you were ALL about. I am BLOWN AWAY by EVERYTHING that I have both seen and read on your blog!!!
    What a beautiful family you and your beautiful wife have. Can’t wait to read more of your blog!!

    • Aaron Conrad · October 10, 2012

      Thanks B.J. I am honored by your kind words. It is a true blessing to join the team at Rock City Church. I look forward to what God has in store for us as well. I’m sure a story or two will make it to this blog ;) Thanks again.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s