God’s Hand

Hitting a deer on the freeway never seems like a good start to a story. Then again, most really cool stories tend to have deep valleys involved. I have decided there are bits and pieces of this story that aren’t really mine to share so publicly, so this won’t have every peak and valley and interesting tidbit – but I am sure that this is a story I will animatedly tell for many years to come. I am not always good at seeing God’s hand at work in my life, and I struggle – often – believing He is actually playing an active role. But I see it here.

And after the last week and a half I’ve had, I needed to see it.

Insurance company totaled my car, my beloved years-later-dream car. I wasn’t surprised to hear it, but I was really upset. Now we had this added stressor. When you need to play car seat musical chairs and have a vehicle that can safely transport a boy and his wheelchair, it’s not easy. The rental car was tiny. Thankfully, we only had to trek with the wheelchair once this week, because I had to take the seat off and put it in the front seat next to me, fold up the rest of the chair, AND take one wheel off to fit it in the tiny trunk space.

First peak – Insurance valued my car at a much higher price than I anticipated. Since I only had one payment left (that is a valley – sigh – one payment and I would have been done with car payments for awhile), we now had a substantial amount to put down on a new vehicle.

Eric came to me and said “What if I sell my motorcycle?” I met him with a firm “no” and many reasons, but he generally doesn’t listen to me when it comes to stuff like that. Some of this is his story, and he had reasons and had been thinking of selling for awhile (I’m still somewhat skeptical on this). A very long story short, he had a buyer at the house the next day willing to pay his asking price. There is a really touching and small world kind of story connected with this motorcycle buyer, but in an effort to preserve privacy all the way around, I will just say it revolved around another kiddo with a congenital heart defect.

At this point, pieces are falling into place. It is feeling meant to be.

And then we visit a Toyota dealership.

You see, we knew our next vehicle was going to be a (preferably new) Toyota Sienna. They are one of the top rated minivans and one of the most often modified for accessibility. We had a whole plan to work toward this that didn’t involve a deer.

In case you didn’t know, everyone’s buying a car right now and because of some chip that goes into all/most vehicles, there is a car shortage. Toyota apparently hasn’t had the chip shortage problem, but now their inventory is very low because everyone’s been buying a Toyota. The dealership literally had 9 new cars on their lot, none of them Siennas. In fact, every Sienna on the pipeline coming in was either already sold or a very expensive model that was far beyond our price range.

Our best bet? Build one. Sounds fun, right?

It would mean we would have to wait two to three months for our vehicle. Valley time.

Now, we had gone to the closest Toyota dealership first, to try and see a Sienna in person, but my amazing financial planner (Seriously, I’ll give you her info) had strongly recommended another client of hers who works in financing at the Toyota dealership in Ames. I figured it wouldn’t hurt to reach out and see if anything was different up there – and I’d rather use someone I have a connection to and is recommended if we are waiting that long anyway.

Same story. No inventory. She connected me to a salesperson she trusts up there, and he gave me a call. We talked about kinda what we were looking for – model, color, etc – and made an appointment for 9 am this morning to pre-order/build our Sienna and get that process started.

Yesterday, right before 2 pm, I get texts from both the financial person and the salesperson within two minutes of each other. And a voicemail from the salesperson. I call back.

You’re never going to believe this. This van is in my driveway right now, and I am still in shock.

I’m going to stop right here and say this: I keep thinking about how my greatest peak in this story was someone else’s valley. And I can only stop and hope and pray that their valley is leading them to the vehicle they are meant to have.

Someone had financing fall through on the same color, same model, exact Toyota Sienna we wanted.

The cypress green is apparently not a popular color – people are crazy because it was the color I fell in love with and absolutely wanted. The fact that this car came in and was that color (the salesperson said about 1 in 200 are that color) AND the less expensive model we were after….

And things just fell into place. We were able to purchase a brand new van, that we will be modifying for Kiran’s needs in the next year or two, and drive it home today. Because Kiran is with his dad, I haven’t been able to test this yet, but I am about 98% sure the wheelchair AND pacer will fit in the back without needing to take anything apart. There are so many amazing safety features and Toyota is actually big on mobility for all and will have some great options – and even financial help – when we are ready to modify. This will be our vehicle for the next 20 years or more, Lord willing.

And just like that, we have exactly what we need and much sooner than we planned.

And just like that, I am reminded if something is meant to happen, it is going to happen. And the valleys don’t make sense a lot of the time until you see where they nudge you. The path always seems to open up in life – granted, it is far too often a path full of fallen branches and thorns and difficult terrain that will leave bruises and scars – but that path also leads to places where the sun breaks through and the water sparkles.

I’m going to keep on with the journey, and I’m thankful to be doing it with those who are truly meant to be in my life. Today is a good day.

Dear Deer

Kiran had an appointment last Wednesday with his orthopedic doctor in Iowa City. Feet are looking good, and it was an uneventful trip …

Until it wasn’t.

My dad drove us – this is our usual routine – and on the way home, we hit a deer on the freeway.

We are all okay. I have replayed every alternative scenario in my head at least one thousand times since it occurred, and there are so many ways we could have really been not okay. Thankfully, it was an adolescent deer and the way we hit didn’t cause much jarring inside the car at all. Thankfully, my dad is an outstanding driver who was aware of our surroundings and knew it was safe to brake but not to swerve, so no other vehicles were involved in the collision. He was also able to expertly guide the car to the side of the freeway before the engine gave out.

I am beyond thankful that we are all okay. I am thankful we were able to be safely rescued off the side of the freeway, and the car got towed back to town. I am thankful I have good insurance.

I am so bad at allowing myself to be upset, though. And I’m trying to remind myself I can both be so thankful and also so overwhelmed and bummed at a sucky situation.

My car is almost certainly totaled, according to the auto body shop. I haven’t gotten final word from my insurance company on that yet, but my guess is, with its age and mileage, they will follow the fact it hit the “total threshold” as it was put to me.

As with everything else lately, we had a solid plan in place on the timing of our next vehicle purchase. A solid financial plan that I felt comfortable with and good about. And now I have been thrown into a situation where I have to move quickly and make a decision now.

When it rains, it pours, and so many other things occurred at the end of last week that has made life just feel completely overwhelming. I am beyond tired.

But. Moving forward with a new vehicle for Kiran’s ever-developing needs isn’t such a bad thing. Now that he is using his pacer, it will be nice to have a vehicle that fits both the pacer and his wheelchair without having to take the wheelchair all the way apart. As for everything else, well, I just have to keep moving forward for Kiran.

Every decision I make, in every situation, with every person, is made with Kiran in mind. I will continue to keep his best interest at the forefront as we find a path forward.

This, too, shall pass.

But it still all sucks.