Thursday, February 24, 2011

But For the Grace of God.......

John and I were roommates for one year in college.  We were sophomores, and we shared a passion for folk music.  Our favorite group was The Kingston Trio. 

John had a girlfriend in Charlotte, NC, and when he found out that the Trio was going to perform there, he asked her to get us tickets.  Were we ever excited! 

On the appointed Saturday of the concert, the two of us drove up to Charlotte from our college in Greenville, SC (a distance of about 100 miles) in John's beat-up Ford Falcon.  We immediately started looking for a cheap motel room.  That accomplished, we then made our way to the concert, where we were mesmerized by the great Kingston Trio. 

The concert ended around 11:00, and we were ready for bed.  As we drove the unfamiliar streets of Charlotte in the dark, obviously lost as we searched for our motel unsuccessfully, we decided to consult a map that I had. 

While John drove the streets in the dark, I turned on the inside light of his car.  The light inside the car blinded him, but he told me it was OK, that he could still see well enough.  Bad mistake.

At the corner of 7th and Hawthorne, John ran a red stop light and T-boned a Yellow Cab at 40 MPH.  The impact of that collision propelled us into another lane, where we were struck broadside by another Yellow Cab coming in the opposite direction (What are the odds of hitting TWO Yellow Cabs going in opposite directions at one intersection?)

My head went through the windshield a split second before my body was ejected from the vehicle (Cars did not have seat belts back then).  I don't remember the crash at all.  The first thing I remembered was a foggy, ethereal, floating sensation of bare consciousness.  I didn't know what had happened.  Then a numb sensation in my brain, followed by a warm, salty, sticky wetness drooling from my mouth and eye.  Slowly I began to regain consciousness. 

My thoughts began to form---Been in a wreck......thrown from the car......blood all over me......I can't let myself die here like this!!!!

I struggled to my feet, very unsteady.  By now, a crowd was forming.  We had crashed in front of a bar, and the patrons poured (pardon the pun) outside to investigate the loud collision.  People ran to help me.  An ambulance arrived.  The police cordoned off the intersection.  I was taken to the hospital where I was told I had a concussion and informed that only by God's grace was I still alive.  Hundreds of tiny bits of windshield glass covered my body.  My scalp had to be vaccuumed.  My right eye suffered a large cut just below my eyebrow and I was stitched up. 


---John was not even scratched in the wreck
---John's Ford Falcon and both Yellow Cabs were totaled
---One of the Yellow Cabs was transporting a pregnant passenger and she was injured, but baby and mother eventually were fine
---The next morning, John and I went to see his totaled car in the police lot where it had been taken.  It was a crumpled mess, with a hole in the windshield where my head had struck it.  Dozens of blond (mine) hairs were imbedded in the cracked glass
---A police officer was kind enough to pay John's fine for him and transport us to our motel.  He told John that if he did not get reimbursed, he knew where to find him.  John wasted no time in making sure the officer was repaid
---The next day, our fraternity brothers came to pick us up and drove us back to school
---I have never forgotten this terrible incident, and I often wonder why God kept someone like me alive when so many others have perished in similar incidents.  I hope I have not disappointed Him too much.  Thanks be to God.


  1. Wow! I'm glad you survived too. That's an amazing story. Thanks for sharing it. God must have something special in mind for you :) I know you've encouraged me.

  2. That is a scary story. It was a miracle that no one was seriously hurt. But I bet that old Falcon was built 100 times better than the plastic cars we drive today.

  3. You have got a Guardian angel.
    Greetings Sabine

  4. Wow. You have a lot to be thankful for (and a lot to live up to!)

  5. Hi Clint,
    Nice to meet you--thanks for your kind words at my place today. I hit black ice and rolled my car with my (then) 75-year old mother and my two children in it. We walked away without a scratch. I literally crawled over broken glass to get to my children! I often have similar thoughts--I know God preserved each of us for a purpose. Now, I just need to be faithful in finding it. Blessings.

  6. wow, i feel even more blessed to know you!xoxo

  7. It is a miracle you were not hurt seriously or worse! Youth was on your side but still, to think you went through the windshield! And to think somehow you dodged the other vechicles involved when you were thrown out of the car! ♥

  8. Your guardian angel has protected you!
    Clint was not your time!

  9. Karen---And you have been an inspiration to me!

    Jane---the Falcon was all steel, but it needed a seat belt! That one little saftey feature is so important.

    Sabine and Franz---Guardian angel, definitely.

    Texwis---I do hope I have been able to have an occasional positive impact on others.

    Nancy---Bless you. Keep the faith.

    Kelli---thank you for your kind words. I love your blog!

  10. It is so amazing when we clearly SEE God's hand in our lives. Not all the time - but sometimes. I know He wants us to eventually learn to live by faith more...but He does give us a glimpse of His grace from time to time - like your accident and how HE took care of you. It is such an honor.

    God Bless You,

  11. Shay---the funny thing is that I didn't see His hand in my salvation until many years later. He kept trying to get my attention. I'm pretty slow, I guess---but I "get it" now.

  12. My Clint you were all lucky, I well remember The Kingston Trio, also I was at Charlotte Airport last week to fly me to Gatwick London.
    I remember years before my husband's death he found his dream car, leather upholstery , sunroof, the works, it was "His Baby" we'd had the car a few years then one day we were stationary when a car came over the hill right into the back of us, I jumped out quickly and said some unpolite words at the driver, hubby still in the car in shock. the police duly arrived and because of my epilepsy suggested I go to hospital for a check up, I had whiplash but nothing more serious, husband was unharmed.
    The car was a write off , had it not been for a towbar at the back we could have been seriously injured, I think our Guardian Angel played a part too.


  13. YoooH from an Ozzie Roo,Lovely to meet you.
    Well, what a story, shocking, and one forever remembered!! By the grace of God you lived on, and for a very good reason. What a wonderful witness you can be. And how you can understand others with similar incodences who may have also been saved, yet don't give God the glory. Keep on witnessing for him.
    Well done!

  14. Your guardian angel has placed his hand over you.

    Thanks God.

    Bless you and have a beautiful day.

  15. Wow, this gave me chills. You're here for a reason that's for sure Clint! I would guess you would never forget something like that...

  16. I was in a wreck many years ago which it was by God's grace I survived. Unfortunately I was not saved at the time, so I did not give credit to Him. But God kept me alive...

  17. Hi Clint -

    You are alive, dear brother, because JESUS lives and loves you hugely! And he needs you to help others in this journey for Him!

    I'm one that is glad that He spared you, and your roommate, as well as the others. We don't always know why, Clint, but we know WHO...

    Praise GOD's awesome name!