It was an evening in January 2014 when I was hit by a car as I headed home from work. I had the right of way as I walked briskly across the street to get to my car on the opposite side of the road.
A driver making a sudden illegal U-turn did not see me in the darkness and ran right into me. I was alert, but scared, as my body went numb laying on the icy pavement awaiting the arrival of the ambulance. After all the X-rays, my injuries were limited to a broken wrist and elbow; some black and blues, and intense soreness down the entire left side of my body. Thankfully, the numbness was only due to the cold weather and nothing more severe. I was so grateful. God had spared my life.
As you might imagine when you almost lose your life, it flashes before your eyes. You begin to think about all the things you wish you had done but hadn't.
Among the things I regretted not doing, was finishing the book I had been writing for years. Pages and pages of memories that filled my mind. Jotting them down had been a form of therapy for me, and now more than ever I wanted to share it with the world. I kept thinking that this was the time for me to finish. My right hand was functional, so I decided to spend time during recovery putting the finishing touches on the book that I was so desperate to complete.
Eight weeks later I hadn't made a speck of progress. Recovery complete, I went back to work. No progress made. A few weeks later (actually it was around THIS time 3 years ago) that I attended a conference where - as usual - I knew many of the women there. "How's the book coming along Val?", they'd ask. I let them read a few chapters, unsure if the story was even interesting. My disappointment in myself was obvious. "This is AMAZING! You've gotta do it", they encouraged me.
Overwhelmed, I slipped back to my hotel room. I needed to get away. I escaped to the balcony of my hotel room. A magnificent and beautiful view of the Gulf of Mexico off the coast of Naples, Florida. Not a cloud in the sky. Nothing but ocean for miles as I sat there with tears in my eyes, disappointed in myself. "Why can't you get this done?", "What's holding you back?", I kept asking myself. I had no idea the answer.
That's when an eerie, but warm breeze brushed my face. I felt my two angels in the wind. One on each shoulder. Grandma's voice spoke to me first, "It's time, child. You have nothing to be ashamed of". Mom's voice followed in the wind, "It's okay. I'm okay with it. You can do it!".
I realized in that moment that all along I just needed them to be ok with me telling their story. It wasn't just MY story, It was OUR story, and I needed them to be okay with me sharing it. It didn't matter what any one else thought. It only mattered that they were ok with me sharing it with the world.
In September 2014, only a few months after receiving their permission, I published the long-awaited story as a 50th birthday present to myself and a celebration of the lives of my two angels. No regrets. I realize now that it was a story meant to be told so now I share it freely.
Amazing Grace, how sweet the sound. I once was lost, but now I am found. Was blind but now not only do I see but I am free.
Happy Easter all!