Who Were They?

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It was December 27 and after spending a few days over Christmas with our daughter and her family, we were heading home for a few days for some non-rescheduled medical appointments. Within six days we would return to their home to fly to TX for our oldest grandson’s wedding. Not unlike many families who’re spread out across many miles, it was a busy travel season full of some exciting things.

In between those great plans life can hand you an unexpected moment in time that upends your plans. And so, it was for us on December 27 as we traveled a turnpike well known to us. It was a cloudy winter day, good travel conditions for a winter day versus so many days we have traveled in snow or icy conditions. As we stopped at a service plaza, I could not have anticipated what would happen next.

As my husband retrieved something from the back of our SUV, I walked around the front of the vehicle to get something out of the driver’s side back door. What I missed was a patch of black ice on the slightly sloped sidewalk. I suddenly felt my feet slip and propel me forward with no warning. The next moment I was face down on the sidewalk in the leftover snow and slush bleeding from my nose, mouth, lips and uncertain where else. It all seemed surreal in that moment as my husband lowered the rear hatch and was stunned to see me face down with blood running over the sidewalk.

I only knew I didn’t want to get up and wasn’t sure that I could, and people were running from multiple directions to where I lay. Strangers. Faces I did not see except a glimpse here and there. They came with questions about whether I could get up. They ran into the plaza and came back with paper towels for me to hold over my face where it was bleeding. They got ice from the plaza and someone brought over a metal chair from the outdoor plaza, and gently insisted that I had to get up. They helped me get seated on the chair as I was shivering and so cold from the shock of the fall.

One woman brought a blanket and stood behind me with it wrapped around my shoulders to try to get me warm and called for others to bring blankets. Another woman called 911. Someone else said she was an ICU nurse and stopped to check on me and later a physician who asked me to take the paper towels away to see where I was bleeding. She said she thought my nose was broken, asked me my first name, and spent time looking carefully into my eyes checking for I did not know what. In my mouth she thought I had broken off a front tooth and asked me if I had aspirated it. All the while the lady behind me with the blanket with such a kind voice kept holding me as close as she could to try to stop my shaking and called for others to stand around me to try to block the wind.

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Who were they?

These strangers (Good Samaritans) on their own trips who came to care for me, reassure me, help me, advocate for me as the ambulance could not get to me in the plaza area due to a bus blocking the path which had gotten into a ditch. It can be easy to be suspect of strangers in these times, but here they were helping this bleeding, shaking, disoriented grandmother without thought for where their own journeys were to take them on December 27.

Most of their faces I did not see as I held paper towels to my face that repeatedly soaked with blood. I did not hear any of their names. I only felt them and heard them as they insisted that I could not walk to where the ambulance was when that idea was suggested nor that I could get in a pickup truck available to drive me there. They didn’t know me nor the extent of my injuries but on this day, they became forever etched in my memory.

Our pastor had been doing an excellent series in December entitled “Defining Moments with God” that focused on the many instances where God appeared in one form or another beginning in Genesis and at so many places in the Old Testament long before we get to the Christmas scene in Bethlehem. I felt like I was living that story December 27.

We have such a limited sense or view of what God is like or how He works or makes his presence known to us. We are finite trying to understand an infinite God without limits. Sometimes we wonder if He is there with us when our world turns upside down and a crisis or trauma occurs.

Was He the one who stood behind the chair trying to warm me with a blanket someone else brought, holding me, and speaking words of reassurance? What was their faith, their nationality, their viewpoints on dozens of things? I will never know. What I will know and never forget were their hearts and hands that cared for me so tenderly, even as God would.

As I was helped into my husband’s car by the EMT from the ambulance so he could drive me to the ambulance, the sounds of the voices who had first cared for me echoed in my heart. They kept me encouraged as I waited in the emergency room of the hospital that was full of so many others needing help on that day.

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In the long hours in the emergency room, my mind tried to sort out what was wrong and how it could be fixed. Then there came the question of whether this meant my husband and I would miss the wedding in TX not many days ahead. The physician who came to examine me had a gentle voice and kind eyes and reminded me of the grandson soon to be married and months away from receiving his medical degree. What a surprise to learn this doctor had graduated from the same medical school in FL. He ordered tests of various kinds, CT scans and x-rays expecting to find broken bones and aware my lower lip was gashed deep and needed stitches.

The uncertainty about my upper front teeth remained and my husband called our dentist at home to let him know what was happening and got an appointment for the very next day if we were able to get there. The surprising result of all the scans and tests and x-rays was that nothing was broken. The physician was shocked. I had fallen hard on my face like a tree being felled. I was a grandmother with a diagnosis of osteopenia and no bones were broken.

Who were they? Who were the unseen messengers God sent to protect me from broken bones that should certainly have been the result of such a fall? Certainly, God was there, just like so many other defining moments of God’s presence our pastor had been sharing with us.

My face recognition on my phone didn’t recognize me. My wedding rings could not fit on my finger. Bruises and swelling of my face and mouth were great and my left hand and right wrist were bruised as well, but after seven hours in the emergency room I was walking to our car to spend an unplanned night in a hotel procured and provided by our son for the night before heading home, but that wasn’t the only unexpected appearance of strangers on December 27.

From the emergency room my husband had called our son and daughter who live hundreds of miles from one another and each other. He reached both as they were doing life. Our daughter and her family were in New York City and had just stepped out of a subway when the call reached her. Her family immediately gathered in a circle in the subway station without regard to anyone else and began to pray for me. As they did some of the homeless in the area slipped in behind them and began to pray as well. When they finished, one man named Isaac told them, “I heard you praying for your mom, and I had to pray too. She is going to be all right and get complete healing.”

Who was he? Who was Isaac, this man without a home, but faith? It was not what one might expect. One of our granddaughters who was in that family circle observed, “Who knows? Maybe he was an angel.” Why not? We think of angels with wings and white robes, but is that true or always the case?

I have been absent from this place where we connect with each other because of the events of December 27 as I have been recovering. That dental appointment led to an oral surgery appointment the next day to try to bring my front teeth that had been jammed into their bone sockets down into place and followed with another dental appointment the next day. That was just 5 days before we were to return to our daughter’s to fly with them to TX for that grandson’s wedding. I was in pain and looked like I had been beaten up, but prayers were many from many places. Food arrived from friends from church to feed my husband even though I was limited to broth and pudding. Our driveway was cleared of snow and ice, A friend retrieved my bloody coat, gloves and purse and cleaned them and the love kept coming.

Who were all these people who interrupted their own lives to care for me and my husband?

This story is not over. I see the oral surgeon again today to find out how my mouth is doing and determine if the splint he put in my mouth to hold the teeth he tried to pull back down has done what was needed. Yes, I dread the appointment because I am not excited about anyone touching my mouth or squeezing my bruised hand very tightly, but God…

And God knew how much the wedding in TX meant to us and He helped the swelling and bruises to diminish in days that no one could believe, and we were delighted to be sitting there in the front row at our grandson’s wedding, an unlikely option given all that happened.

Who were they? God with us in defining moments of our lives…don’t miss Him!

What a day! Thank you, Lord!!

45 thoughts on “Who Were They?

  1. Dearest Pam – thank you for sharing your incredible ordeal. Your words reveal our Father’s incredible sovereignty through His grace and care for you. You remind us that even during our suffering we have reason to rejoice in our ever present Saviour Christ Jesus. I’m asking our Holy Spirit to intervene on your behalf for complete healing and endurance in the days to come. Thank you, Pam, for your constant guidance.
    Love you and Gene so very much. Vicky

    1. Thanks so much, Vicky. Your prayers and encouragement are greatly appreciated for the rest of this race toward healing.💝

    1. Thanks, Amy. I am grateful indeed. The oral surgeon today left on the splint and could not give me assurance the teeth will be saved as I may still lose 1 or more when he removes it in 3 weeks. It was a traumatic impact on me and the teeth and jaw took the brunt of it.💕

  2. Oh, Pam! Tears streaming right now. So thankful for all of the love you felt during your trial! What an inspiring post! I hope things went well with your oral surgeon today. Still praying!

    1. Thanks for your kindness, Gale. Oral surgeon said the splint stays on 3 more weeks and only when he takes it off then will we know if I lose one or more of the teeth and face with whatever additional surgery that means. Wish it were simpler and the odds were better than they may be, but trusting the prayers of many will carry me through whatever lays ahead.💝

  3. Wow, Pam!! I knew this story but I still cried as I read it! God is ALWAYS there for us. What a gift to be blessed by so many people as you have blessed all of us fortunate to call you friend.❤️

    1. Thanks so much, Molly. It was a story worth telling of how God’s presence can be there in ways we would never expect. The oral surgeon today said it was worse than he had thought before he started the surgery a few weeks ago or he would have sedated me. He left the splint on for another 3 weeks and only when he takes it off then will be know if I will lose 1 or more teeth and face whatever that means so your prayers are needed for this next chapter as well💕

  4. Who were they? They were the people God had already appointed and positioned to help His daughter in her time of need. How very precious the lengths our God will go to be with one of His own. Praying He continues to keep His hand on you, bringing complete healing. Lovely photo of you and Gene at the wedding!

  5. I read this with tears in my eyes Pam. I love how God was there with you & your family through the support of those special messengers & people!

    What a lovely photo of you both! And I’m so glad you’re healing.
    Blessings sweet friend, Jennifer 💖

    1. Truly, Jennifer! It was an important story to tell. Other chapters to come since the oral surgeon today said the spline and bracket stays on 3 more weeks and only then will we know if I lose 1 or more of the teeth. He also said they were worse than he expected and the pain more then he thought it would be or he would have sedated me to do what he did. Every assistant in the office today remembered how terrible I looked when I was there 2 and a half weeks ago. (I did not risk putting a picture of how I looked then in the post.) Thanks for your care and encouragement!💕

      1. Ohhhh I feel for you Pam. I have a dental phobia from far too many sessions of extreme pain in the dentist’s chair! Praying for your complete & miraculous healing sweet friend. 💕

  6. Dear Pastor Pam,
    Thank you for sharing your recent heart warming story. What a testimony of God’s loving-kindness and grace. It is evident that the Lord gave His angels charge over you at your time of need.
    The happy picture of you at the wedding tells the whole story. My prayers are for complete healing.

    1. Thanks so much Lenora. God did indeed show me so much of his love and care. Your prayers deeply appreciated as it will be 3 weeks yet until we know if the teeth will survive this traumatic event.💕

    1. Me too! The oral surgeon will leave the splint on the front upper teeth for 3 more weeks and only after he takes it off will we know if the teeth (1 or more) will survive so prayers needed for the rest of the journey.💕

  7. Oh, Pam! This is so difficult! Thank you for sharing your story with us and for pointing to God’s provision in the midst of it, but I sure wish you didn’t have to walk this out! I will keep praying for you often!

    1. Indeed it has been and it (as often is true) will be a journey. The oral surgeon determined the splint and bracket will remain for another 3 weeks on my teeth and then when he takes it off, we will find out if the teeth survive or one or more will not and whatever that will mean next. So, ongoing prayers are certainly appreciated!!💝

  8. I’m just sitting here with goosebumps and a smile! I’m so sorry you went through all of this, but I admire your attitude and am so thankful for the people and angels God placed in your life during this incredibly trying ordeal! Praying for your complete healing!

    1. Your words and tender heart are dear. Your prayers deeply appreciated. The oral surgeon will leave the splint on for another 3 weeks and only then will he and I know if the teeth will be saved. One or more might not and the odds range from 70-30 to 90-10 on that. Praying God’s odds are much better than that. ♥️

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