So I experienced my first scooter accident in Taiwan a few weeks ago. Given the stories I’ve heard from others and the prevalence of chaotic driving in Taiwan, it will likely not be my last. However, rather than share the details of the accident itself I wanted to share some life lessons I have learned as a result of it.
I always wondered what my response to being in a vehicle accident might be. Would I be frightened? Would I panic? Would I scream or cry? In the seconds after the other scooter hit me my only thought was, “Here we go”, and then my head (wrapped in my helmet, of course) hit the pavement. I found it strange that I was so calm. All these questions I had carried before…Who should I call? Will they understand English? How does insurance work? Will the other person stop? Does it cost money to ride in the ambulance?… no longer concerned me. I don’t even know if it was my thought, or if it came from outside of me. Perhaps it was the Holy Spirit assuring me that I would be okay and that I was not alone in this. Either way, I have been unusually calm and unaffected nearly this whole time. For those of you who know me, this is certainly not of my own doing.
I am naturally a very emotional person who does everything she can to maintain order, structure, or control. So really I should have had some sort of huge emotional response or at least try to investigate and advocate for a timely and just settlement. But no. I am not angry with the young man who hit me. I am not questioning my choices that led me to cross this particular intersection. I am not scared to get back on a scooter again. I am not indulging in self pity for the things I will not be able to do during my recovery. My lack of Mandarin and only brief introduction to Taiwanese culture and law render me incapable of investigating or advocating for myself. Given my sense of calm, dare I say peace, I know that it must be God. When I take a moment to step back from it all and look at what led up to the accident, the incident itself, and how events have unfolded since then I see God’s hand all over it.
Now this doesn’t mean that I’m not in pain, the nearly constant pain of my left side and shoulder reminder me otherwise. I also doesn’t me that I’m okay if I am taken advantage of because of my position as a foreigner. I doesn’t mean that I’ll be reckless when I get back on a scooter, in fact I’ll probably drive a little more cautious than before. But it does mean that I know I am taken care of. That my great, big God intimately cares for me, and is alongside me through the pain, the confusing insurance process, and slow recovery. God is good.
As my friend drove me to the hospital I found it very difficult to communicate with her. Of course, I was in a state of shock. My brain could think clearly but my mouth just couldn’t communicate what I was thinking. My body was in so much pain but there was nothing I could do about it. It dawned on me that this might be what people with disabilities or perhaps the elderly or those on the autism spectrum might feel like. How frustrating it is to not be able to communicate what you are thinking or feeling. How difficult it is to be entirely dependent upon the outside world to assist you when you are in pain or unable to move.
When we entered the emergency room area I saw so many other people with varying problems comparable to or greater than my own. I realized that I will likely make a full recovery with time, but some of these would find their lives forever changed. Before the accident I have been nervous about visiting people in the hospital. What would I say to them? What help could I be? Wouldn’t I just be in the way? Perhaps they would feel embarrassed to be so vulnerable in front of others. But I found my empathy and compassion for the sick, the hurting, those experiencing loss increasing in that very moment. Just just the mere presence of my friends during my time of pain was comforting. That is something any one of us can easily give to another. No skill, no words, no experience required. To simply enter in to the chaos sends a clear message that we are loved.
Lastly, I want to share about the immense faithfulness and compassion of God as shown through his people, the Christian brothers and sisters he has brought into our life here in Taiwan. From within moments of the accident happening I had an OMF co-worker show up to help translate and take me to the hospital. At the hospital, another OMF co-worker showed up to help and a church friend called to ask if she should come and help, and then offered her assistance for anything I might need in the future. Many other OMF co-workers continued to pray for me, check in on me, and drive me to and from places. I sent a message out to my church small group as things were getting complicated with insurance and the young man’s family seemed unwilling to pay for the damages. The responses were filled with compassion, hugs, and advice. Not more than a few moments later, two of our friends took time out of their busy day to come find me, translate documents, make phone calls, fill out forms, and advocate for me. They continue to walk me through the legal process. Another church friend connected us with a trustworthy owner of a second-hand scooter/repair shop and then drove all the way out here to help translate for us. And, of course, God provided me my dear husband who quickly sent out requests for people to be praying for me, and has spent countless hours cleaning my wounds, preparing meals, helping me get in and out of bed, running up and down the stairs to get things I need. They are more than just co-workers, church members, or even friends. They are family in a very real and true sense. Through each of these people, I have genuinely experienced God’s faithfulness to walk with me through difficult times and his deep, loving compassion. As He said to me right before all of this began… “Here WE go.”