I sat on my friend’s porch, enjoying the early summer day, when my husband, Curtis, called me.
“I’m OK, but you’re going to have to come pick me up from the hospital.”
My heart sunk to my toes. This wasn’t how I’d imagined his first long motorcycle ride ending.
“If You Really Want To”
For three weeks after Curtis bought his first motorcycle he spent every waking moment dreaming of riding it. Unfortunately, we lived in downtown Chicago, so he didn’t bring it home with him — he parked it at a friend’s house in Indiana, where it would be easier and less dangerous to learn to ride.
At least, that’s what we thought.
It was a beautiful, early June day when he convinced me drive out to Indiana so he could use the bike. Reluctantly, I agreed. I didn’t want him to, but I had no good reason. Just a bad feeling.
The drive was a little over an hour, so I didn’t argue when he wanted to wear shorts and a t-shirt, not long pants and a long-sleeved shirt or jacket.
“But make sure you change when we get there,” I said. “I don’t want you riding your bike in shorts and a t-shirt. It’s not safe.”
When we arrived, I started talking to our friends. A few minutes later, I saw Curtis pulling out of the driveway on his motorcycle — wearing shorts and a t-shirt. I sighed.
I left our friends’ house to go wander around town, waiting for Curtis to finish his ride. I don’t remember where I went besides Goodwill, where I bought a blue skirt and two shirts. Then I went back to the house to wait for Curtis. I sat in the rocker on the front porch, rocking peacefully and watching summer unfold.
And then my phone rang.
Curtis was on his way to the hospital in a car with a man who’d seen the crash. This man happened to be a doctor and knew where the closest hospital to middle-of-nowhere Indiana was.
Attempting to reassure me, Curtis said he didn’t think he’d broken anything but was just scraped up.
I drove to the hospital, mumbling incoherent prayers. I never pretended to understand how God works — but in this moment, as I imagined the worst, all I could think was, “Why, God? Why him? Why me? Why us? We’re trying to serve you.”
At the ER, I parked and got out of the car and realized my legs and hands were shaking. Once I made it inside on my wobbly legs, the front desk lady waved me back to the emergency room. After going through the swinging double doors, I came face-to-face with a nurse. I told him I was there to see Curtis Rider. He looked at me and smirked.
“You mean Curtis Walker?”
I stared at him blankly, and he repeated himself.
“You know, Walker instead of Rider, since he won’t be riding anymore?”
Frankly, I don’t remember how I responded. I was too afraid of what I’d see when I slipped behind the curtain he directed me toward.
Just Scraped Up
Curtis was on the bed, arms in the air, legs propped up. Blood stained all over the sheets, and I winced in sympathy at the road rash covering his arms and legs. In the corner of the room, I saw his helmet. It had scrape marks all the way across the face shield and little pebbles embedded in it that would have been in his face if he wasn’t wearing it.
In between gritting his teeth from the pain, he told me what happened. He’d been hurrying back to meet me and came out of a clump of trees on the highway into a strong gust of wind that blew him right off the road. It threw him and the bike into the ditch, where they both bounced around a bit.
Beyond the road rash and a sore shoulder, he wasn’t seriously injured.
As I sat there and watched the nurses bandage his raw arms and legs, I was filled with gratitude. A lot of people get in motorcycle accidents and suffer much worse injuries.
After a long time in silence, Curtis looked up at me.
“Are you mad at me?”
I thought through the morning — how I didn’t want to go in the first place, how he wore clothes that I asked him not to wear, even how he’d wrecked a bike he’d spent several thousand dollars on a few weeks earlier.
His question was the perfect invitation to give him a long, frustrated, patronizing lecture. But I couldn’t. Suddenly none of that mattered.
“No. I’m just glad you’re okay.”
A Hope and a Future
The trauma from the accident left me with a deep-seated fear of losing Curtis — but whenever I brought it up to him, he always had the same answer.
“God kept me alive through the motorcycle accident. He has a plan for my life, and I still have to live it.”
At first, I couldn’t believe it.
“You don’t know how afraid I was to lose you. You don’t know what that fear feels like.”
But as time went on, he kept reminding me of God’s plan for his life, and every time I heard those words I became a little less afraid. It was so gradual I barely realized it was happening, but one day as I wrestled with my fears, something clicked.
I didn’t need Curtis to remind me his life was in God’s hands. I finally believed it for myself.