My Daughter’s Car Accident and Facing Fears
Did you know that perhaps the greatest challenge you will ever face in life is the conquest of fear and the development of courage?
One sunny afternoon, in Greenville South Carolina, I was walking to my car with a friend after leaving a fun lunch ‘n learn meeting. We stood in the parking lot talking about our daughters being so far away from home. My friend, Karen, shared how she had talked her daughter out of attending a college in Alaska, which is too far away from home for her liking. I expressed my agreement and shared how my daughter was already attending a Photographer’s Institute, seventeen hours away from home, and dropping her off wasn’t easy knowing the distance between us now.
We promised Laci, several years ago, that we would do all we could to support the accomplishment of her goals. Mind you … long distance elite schooling wasn’t even a thought while making this promise during her grade school years. We reminded ourselves, however, that our job is to raise a well-rounded adult who will give back to society, not a child who will cling to mom and dad for her care. We knew that Lace had a special talent and we wanted to support her as far as humanly possible. I remembered how afraid she was to be so far away from home, but yet found the courage and confidence to go through with her decision.
Karen and I talked for a few more minutes, expressing our feelings about how challenging it would be, being so far away, should something traumatic happen. Only to find myself, a few moments later …
… dealing with something traumatic that was happening as we stood there and talked.
“Urgent Prayer Request”
I got in to my car after saying goodbye and saw that my cell phone was lit up inside a little cubby on my dash board. I picked it up and saw a text in the center of the phone from my daughter that made my heart skip a beat. The text said, “Was just in severe accident. Pray”
“What? Was this text really from my daughter? Was it coincidental? Did I somehow manifest it?
I wasn’t frantic, but all kinds of nervous thoughts rolled through my mind. I dialed her phone immediately. No answer. I dialed again. Nothing.
Two big fears also cropped up; 1) had she been the one driving and hurt someone or herself?, and 2) would I be able to reach her to find out what happened and to see if she’s okay?
My heart was now pounding in my ears and I began to feel the fear welling up inside. I realized right then that I didn’t have the school’s phone number in my contact list, nor had she sent me her school friend’s phone numbers like I asked her to weeks ago. “How irresponsible of me to not have these numbers!” I berated myself.
Another moment later I thought, “Stop that! This is no time to beat yourself up! Just look up the phone number to the school and get someone, ANYONE, on the phone!”
Before doing another thing, I lowered my head to pray. I sent prayers of love, calm, peace and protection to surround her, and whomever may be involved in this accident, and that she would be able to dial me back to let me know how she is.
After saying Amen, I calmly made the phone calls. I knew that no amount of worry or fear would change the circumstance of what she was already experiencing. She would need me to stay calm and collected.
I decided to drive back home while making the calls to the school and wake my husband who was trying to catch up on much needed sleep. Five minutes down the road the phone rang. I picked it up and answered it immediately. I heard sobbing on the other end.
“Lace? Honey, tell me what’s happened, are you alright?“
I could tell she was still in shock. She didn’t make a lot of sense at first.
“Mommy, there is so much blood all over me. Its my brand new sweater. She fell into my lap bleeding out of her mouth and I think she’s dead. It has blood all over it now…..Mom I’m sooooo scared.”
I had to maintain composure while my little girl was experiencing so much intense pain. I took a deep breath and said, “Honey I need you to calm down and breathe. I need to understand what happened.”
Once she could do that I then asked if she was okay. She thought so, but didn’t care about herself at the moment. All she thought about were her friends who were unconscious and being put into an ambulance. She hung up and I didn’t hear anything again for about 20 minutes.
When I arrived home I woke my husband and we immediately began booking plane flights. I had already called our oldest children who were ready to take action and do whatever necessary to help out. I took a moment to ask for prayer from all of my Facebook friends and within minutes we had over 100 people praying.
Thank God. We immediately felt more calm and relaxed.
We now knew everyone was going to be fine considering what could have happened. Between whiplash, contusions, a broken nose, concussions, stitches, and pain killers, they were all released later that night.
The only thing we have to fear …
Fear is, and always has been, the greatest enemy of mankind. When Franklin D. Roosevelt said, “The only thing we have to fear is fear itself,” he was saying that the emotion of fear, rather than the reality of what we fear, is what causes us anxiety, stress, and unhappiness.
Now in a situation like the one I experienced, anyone’s emotions would begin to escalate, but in every day life experiences anyone can develop the habit of courage and unshakeable self-confidence. This habit is what kept me calm, and what helped my daughter (after the shock wore off) become a tower of strength for her friends later that same day. All of them were deeply grateful to be alive that they bonded in ways they wouldn’t normally have. The girls call Laci ‘Nurse Laci’ because of the care she’s given to them.
Just imagine-what would you dare to dream, or be, or do, if you weren’t afraid of anything in the whole world? What would that look like, sound like, feel like to you?
Laci knew that being seventeen hours away from home would be challenging at best, and for this very reason – not knowing what to do in case of an emergency. It wasn’t until we worked on building her confidence level, prior to leaving, that she felt brave enough to live out her dreams of going to an elite photography school over one thousand miles away.
Making a decision like that is always risky and often very scary.
Did the accident make her more fearful? No. In fact, she became even more resolute. She brought the injured home (to her rental house) to care for them after they were released from the hospital. With total confidence my amazing teenage daughter said, “Mom, you don’t need to come. You’ve been a great role model for me. I made sure my friends were tucked in warm beds, gave them their pain medications, and will get them back to good health. I’m fine … seriously.”
The President of the school also sent me a text that day saying how proud I ought to be for how my daughter conducted herself. He was impressed by her support and confidence.
I am confident that the other young ladies would have done the same for Laci had she been the one injured. They are all much like-minded and a wonderful group of individuals with values and compassion.
Fortunately for all of us, the habit of courage can be learned just like any other habit is learned, through repetition. We need to constantly face and overcome our fears to build up the kind of courage that will enable us to deal with the inevitable ups and downs of life, while doing it unafraid. The starting point in overcoming fear and developing courage is to look at the factors that predispose us toward being afraid.
If we allow it, fear can paralyze us, keeping us from taking constructive action in the direction we need to move towards. My daughter is a great example of how moving through fear GAVE her more confidence instead of allowing it to make her wither up and cry all day, which is no doubt what she actually wanted do.
When we take on God’s nature we can accomplish anything. After a 2-year sabbatical with God I combined all of the information you’ll need to accomplish anything you set your mind to. I put together a number of practical action steps you can take to build immediate feelings of self-confidence.
Brian Tracy, spelled it out this way…
The More You Know, the Less You Fear
Fear is also caused by ignorance. When we have limited information, our doubts dominate us. We become tense and insecure about the outcome of our actions. Ignorance causes us to fear change, to fear the unknown, and to avoid trying anything new or different. But the reverse is also true. The very act of gathering more and better information about a particular subject increases our courage and confidence in that area. You can see this in the parts of your life where you have no fear at all because you know what you are doing. You feel competent and completely capable of handling whatever happens.
Analyze Your Fears
Once you have identified the major factors that cause you to feel afraid, the next step is to objectively define and analyze your personal fears. At the top of a clean sheet of paper, write, “What am I afraid of?” Remember, all intelligent people are afraid of something. It is normal and natural to be concerned about your physical, emotional, and financial safety and that of the people you care about. A courageous person is not a person who is unafraid. As Mark Twain said, “Courage is resistance to fear and the mastery of fear, not absence of fear.”
Begin your list of fears by writing down everything, major and minor, that causes fear, stress, or anxiety. Think about the parts of your work or personal life where your fears might be holding you back or forcing you to stay in a job or relationship in which you’re not happy. Once you’ve written down your fears, arrange them in order of importance, and then pick them apart one by one.
This will help you decide how confident you really want to be. And if I can help you in any way let me know.