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When Parents Collide

On my way home from work recently, I saw the familiar red and blue flashing lights of emergency vehicles in the distance. The way the two flashing firetrucks appeared, it looked as if they had collided with each other. The closer I got to the vehicles in question, I realized they had not collided with each other at all; they were simply parked in such a way as to keep oncoming traffic from going that direction, effectively protecting the cars that actually had violently crashed.


It got me to thinking. What happens when emergency vehicles do collide? Surely it happens, though I am not sure I have ever seen it. We think of emergency vehicles: firetrucks, tow trucks, police cars, ambulances, city utility vehicles, etc., as being invincible. After all, they are the ones we rely on when we encounter danger of any sort. A nasty wreck, a health issue so critical we cannot get ourselves or a loved one to the hospital and desperately need transport, a broken down car on the side of the interstate requiring tow service, a break-in late at night requiring the expertise of the police to not only catch the crook, but ensure the safety and protection of the frightened loved ones inside our very home. Without these emergency services, who would we call upon for help? It is a haunting thought.

Metaphorically speaking, emergency vehicular services are much like parents to a child. They lovingly offer protection, transport and safety when situations in life become anything but safe. Children run to their parents for a skinned knee from a playground incident to a broken heart in junior high to financial troubles in early adulthood. Mom and Dad are the emergency vehicles of the family. What happens when those emergency vehicles, in the form of Mom and Dad, harshly collide?

Panic and Divorce

Panic ensues and catastrophic situations develop. The normal, working family dynamic is thrown grossly off kilter, thrusting destruction and discomfort toward everyone in its path. My own marriage was evidence of this at one time. My boys’ Dad and I have been divorced nearly seven years. We have navigated countless layers of emotion to get to the positive co-parenting relationship we presently enjoy.

However, it was not always so. There was bitterness, blame, jealousy, hurt, injured pride, years of pent-up, undealt with anger that fueled one of the biggest emotional battles of my life. It was hell on earth as only I can imagine it. I would not wish divorce upon my worst enemy. Yet.

What happens when emergency vehicles harshly collide in efforts to save others? They assess the situation. If emergency personnel is injured, they are of no service to the people they have rushed to the scene in valiant, heroic efforts to save. If their vehicles are ruined to the point of disrepair and unable to run properly, there is little hope of performing the job they were built to do.

Repair of the vehicles, and/or emergency personnel, is required. A brief stay in the hospital, a tow service or possibly a stint in the automotive hospital to put parts back where they once were and ensure the healthy running of those born to serve and protect others.

Wounded parents

In much the same way, when there is strife within the private walls of the family home; when Mom and Dad are emotionally scarred and flailing for survival, they are unable to protect and serve their children in the way they once did. Prayerful deliberation, counseling, talking to a minister and seeking to have a heart rebuilt by the Great Mechanic in the sky may be in order. If Mom and Dad are not healthy physically, emotionally and spiritually, how can they adequately care for their offspring?

Jesus, the Great Physician, is willing, able and desiring to step in and miraculously repair the damage of colossal collisions in life. Children need stability, routine, a home where they feel loved, protected and despite the storms of life, a security that the two most important people in the world to them, their very mother and father, will be there to offer that necessary safety, protection and care like no one else. Unfortunately, when parents are in the midst of marital upheaval, separation or divorce, the children suffer more than we can possibly know.

There is help and healing

There is no way to survive the unraveling of a marriage with no after-effects. Yet, there is help, there is healing, there is forgiveness and finding happiness after a devastating life event which renders one helpless, injured and alone. If parents will take the time to properly grieve the marriage, get counseling to deal with the out-of-control emotions and seek help to guide their children through the process with as little collateral damage as possible, there will assuredly be light at the end of the long, dark, seemingly endless tunnel.

While the scars of divorce never fully fade, the love that surrounds my children now, seven years after the brutal collision that harshly rocked our seemingly safe little world, has multiplied. My sons both have a Father and Bonus Parent that love them tremendously. They have a Mother and soon-to-be Bonus Parent that protect, nurture and daily invest in their physical, spiritual and emotional health and well-being. They have three step-sisters between Mom and Dad’s new families. My sons’ family of origin may have changed exponentially since its inception, but the love has not divided, it has multiplied. In this life, one can never have too much love. 

The emergency vehicles my children need in their formative years have been through collateral crashes and damages undefined. Yet, they have also sought healing, repair, understanding and forgiveness to come back healthier, stronger and even better equipped to serve in those crucially necessary roles of protection, nurturing, encouraging, loving and guidance of the two precious sons they were beyond blessed to bring into this broken world.

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