Thank You.

Thank you God, Thank you friends. Thank you, thank you.

Morgan walked away from this car accident unharmed yesterday.

photo1 small 1024x683 Thank You.

Is it me, or is that a miracle?

I’m so thankful and so grateful and so… zombie-like. I feel like I am walking in a dream underwater.

We don’t know what happened. She remembers nothing. While she could have swerved to avoid an animal or something, it is most likely that she simply took her eyes of the road for an instant. No, she wasn’t on her phone. But who’s to say she didn’t look at it? Or reach into the back seat? There are no shoulders on the road, the gravel on the edges are soft from all the rain and the ditches are deep. We’ll probably never know exactly how it happened or why.

An event like this should deepen my faith. And I’m sure that eventually it will. Unbelievably, I find myself questioning God. Going round and round wondering why her life was spared when so many others are not. My dear friends are on their knees thanking God and what is my reaction?

photo small Thank You.

“Why me, God? Why am I so lucky?”

Shouldn’t I, too, be on my knees? It shouldn’t matter why! She’s OK! Hug her, love her and support her!

But I just can’t get over it. There have been so many tragedies in our small town over the past few years. Two kids have died in almost identical circumstances. Another was critically injured and will never have the same life he would have. How can I look those parents in the eyes again, knowing how lucky I am when they were not? What do I say? How should I feel?

So now in addition to thankful and grateful and zombie-like, I am also feeling lucky and guilty, all at the same time.

Did I mention angry?

Yes, I am also angry. How can a mother, who’s daughter’s life and health were spared, be angry with her for making a simple mistake? What kind of mother feels like that?

This mother does.

So please add angry to the previous thankful, grateful, zombie-like, lucky, and guilty.

Thankfully, that feeling is subsiding. As well it should be if you knew how many ‘mistakes’ I made driving as a kid and continue to make as an adult. If my mom was a writer and there were such things as blogs, she very well could have written this same post when I was 17 and rolled my car into a telephone pole.

So please add hypocritical to thankful, grateful, zombie-like, lucky, guilty and angry.

Mostly I feel numb. I’m finding it hard to find the words to properly pray and thank God for this amazing gift of life. I’m a baby Christian with as many flaws as there are words to describe them. And regardless of the years I’ve been trying to follow God’s plan for me, I will probably always consider myself a baby Christian because I’m so terrible at it. All I know for sure is that I am a believer. A skeptical one. A perennial┬áDoubting Thomas. And I know He loves me just the way I am, regardless of my circling back around, time and time again in my faith. I didn’t use to think it was important to believe this, but now I know that it is: I believe in Jesus Christ, only Son of the Father, who died on the cross and rose again to save us from our sins.

Period. Now you know: It’s my dirty little secret.

And poor God, I add so much to his list.

Thank you for listening to me. Thank you for praying for me. And thank you God, for this gift of life. I will not squander it.

photo2 small Thank You.



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20 comments to Thank You.

  • Oh my gosh Jennie! Thank God she is ok! that is my worst nightmare! A wise person just told me that when your child is out driving, you just have to put all your faith in the Lord and she is right! Alli gets her license in a couple weeks and it really scares me. I’m not the best Christian either, but I do believe God has a plan, we just don’t know what it is :). We have had too much tragedy in our town, so I am so relieved and happy she is ok, that would’ve been too much to handle. Please give her a big hug. I now have to do my own praying, Alli and Jack are on some small plane at this very moment flying from Iceland to Greenland to hunt with their dad, makes me VERY nervous!
    Lots of hugs to you and your family too!

  • Sheila

    PHEW! You are truly blessed.

  • laurie

    I am crying reading this and seeing the pictures. And so thankful that Morgan is okay. Give yourself time to process this one. Take care and hug each other very tight.

  • thanks everyone. yes. yes. and yes.

  • Diane Rundell

    Amazing! God totally spared Morgan’s life and he has a wonderful plan for her! It will be exciting to see where God leads her. I get all the feelings you are experiencing, but just thank God over and over and let his presence be evident in your life as he will use this accident to further His Kingdom. Blessing and hugs to all of you!


  • Jeanne Strand

    Unbelievable! I cannot express how thankful I am for you and Dave that Morgan is fine. I’m sure you are still shaking this morning.
    I, like you, struggle with the whole organized religion aspect of being spiritual. I have a hard time buying into much of what church institutions are selling. But, I do believe in God. I truly believe that when we treat others with respect, love, and honor then we are giving God the ultimate compliment. Trying to live our life in a way that compliments him is our gift back to God. So, in spite of your struggles in how not to be skeptical, you are a good person, with a big heart who treats humanity in a loving matter. What more could God ask? Why was Morgan able to walk away, while other parents anguish in the loss of a child? Why were you and Dave the “lucky ones”? I don’t think that we are privileged to that info. Someday maybe… not today. There’s a reason. For now… like so many say; Count your blessings. Give hugs often. Live each day without regret. Tell people you love them. Bill and I love the whole Menke clan… give an extra hug to Morgan today.

  • Kathy

    Wow Jen….I also sooo believe God has a plan for everyone and I also believe everything happens for a reason. Right now we don’t know what the plan is or why this happened, but as a believer in God I try to look at things positively, which at times is so so so hard. Morgan is ok! That is what is most important!!! God must really have quite a plan for her! This is really one of a parents worse nightmare,and I can’t even imagine all the feelings you are experiencing right now, but please know they are all normal..even the negative ones! Take care and give yourself, Dave, Morgan and Charlie hugs from Tim and I. xoxo, Kathy

  • Mo Warner

    You have stopped me dead in my tracks. Jen — I can’t imagine a more frightening situation…every parent’s nightmare. But…she is spared and safe and loved and the most amazing part of this whole incident is your confession of faith. Out loud. Unfortunately, sometimes this is what it takes. I’m with you girlfriend,,,,all the way…every day. Looking at that car..and the potential that could have been…makes so many other problems pale. But she has walked away – hopefully with the same realization. This life of ours is so sweet…so precious. Be angry, guilty, zombielike, lucky and thankful…yes they all come into play. But hug her. And hug her again. You will all be fine…no…better. Not a bad road t choose at the fork you were found at. I would make sure she talks to someone…this has PTS written all over it.

    I love you all.

  • Kelly Grall

    Wow! It is a miracle that she walked away from that accident. It sounds like you are going through all of the stages of grieving…denial, anger, guilt, sadness and then back through them again. Eventually you will reach the acceptance stage. With two drivers in out family this is a constant fear, especially driving in the mountains. I am so happy that she is ok. You will be ok, too. Allow yourself the emotions, it’s a healthy, although confusing process. And continue to give thanks to God that she is still with you to hug and say “I love you” to.

  • Cristen Shaver

    I have not stopped thinking about Morgan and you guys since Tom told me yesterday afternoon why Dave had to leave the office. Your words are mine exactly. Crosby takes her test in 3 weeks… She will definitely be reading your blog and looking at the pics. I am so happy Morgan came through fine. A lesson well taught with a very good outcome. Now I won’t stop thinking of Morgan and Crosby. God works in mysterious ways.

  • Ellie Pekarna

    God bless all of you! How beautifully you’ve shared your thoughts, Jenny! We too are so happy Morgan is “ok”! You are blessed! Yes…treasure life and give thanks EVERY DAY!

  • You guys are all the best. I can’t believe the support I/we have gotten from friends far and near. Thank you so much. This has all been so surreal today. Funny how life just goes on, regardless, isn’t it? I know how much this shakes up everyone with new drivers. I’m so sorry for that. It’s bad enough without me posting these pics, But hopefully it will help them buckle a seatbelt, for had she not been wearing one, this would have been a far different sort of day. So thank you for your encouragement and support — especially about my “confession of faith” as Mo put it! Why is that so difficult for me?!

    Spoiler alert: Road Warriors Three coming soon to a site near you!!

  • When my truck was stolen, i had to try to put into practice my own advice Re: the Flat Tire Theory. A man gets a flat tire, bile coursing through his liver, his wife and kids quiet in the car as he curses and kicks the tire and still has to get the stuff out of the trunk to fix it. Little does he know up the road is a semi out of control that would have killed one kid, disfigured his wife and left him a quadrapalegic. If he’d known, he would have endorphins coursing his veins, danced around the car with his family, kissed the tire, (and still have to get the stuff out of the trunk). The Angels Above shake their heads as we humans curse our own salvation. We only have a linear view, like one tiny line on a long ruler. Perhaps a child is alive today becaue my truck was stolen that day. Our Loving God will give us all the answers and we will be awestruck–(but not today) Blessings to you. (my husband cried when i made him read about your sweet little evil cat…)

  • Mary

    Jennie, in response to your houghts on how can you face the parents of the kids who did not survive crashes. I have to believe that those parents would be relieved that another child was not senselessly taken-that Morgan lived. There is no going back. Only moving forward. Peace to you and your beautiful family. I miss you as the “neighbor to the back and the side with the Vizslas!!”.

  • Thanks Mary. I’ve gotten so many amazing responses either here or via email from those that have great advice. I’m sure you are right. I’m sure those parents are happy for me. Of course they are. It just gets to me how it’s just entirely out of my hands. It makes you realize that really nothing at all is in your hands, you know? Hope to run in to you again soon!

  • Diane Felicetta

    Oh my goodness. Give Miss Morgan a big hug for me (one for you too!). So glad she was in a “tank” like vehicle.

    Will probably make everyone more vigilant while driving.

    I hope you are recovering from your “numbness”.


  • Jeanette Schmidt

    What a gift this was…not just the protection over Morgan’s life but the wrestling of faith that you’ve been through! Whenever our circumstances don’t fit any of our easy answers and we have to ask Why? Why? Why? over and over…an amazing thing happens: Our view of God becomes bigger and bigger and bigger.

    He’s got the reasons – we may never understand them…but we trust…in Jesus and His plan for our lives and our children’s lives.

    And the other gift is this testimony we all get to witness! Thanks for your honest wrestling, genuine struggle and beautiful statement of faith.

    And Thank you Lord for keeping Morgan safe. Each day is a gift!

  • Notes from the mom of the then 16-year-old Watertownian boy you spoke of as “Another was critically injured and will never have the same life he would have.”

    First, where do you get off dangling participles? God may not care about grammar but I sure do.

    Second, I am thrilled beyond belief that Morgan is unharmed! I am relieved beyond belief that my Brett is alive and I get to continue parenting him. I am devastated beyond belief that the other two teen boys were killed that summer. Is there resentment from the parents of those that were harmed in car accidents? I can only speak for myself and the answer is no. I don’t want anyone ever to have to go through what my son goes through. Feel free to look me square in the eyes and know that I still think you are one of the wittiest, most intriguing, and glamorous fleece-wearing people around these parts.

    To touch on your God-centered commentary: It’s a tough pill for me to swallow to believe that God spared one life because he has a great plan. So, then, God chose not to spare another life because what… that was the great plan for that child? Well that just sucks and certainly isn’t very comforting. Being comforted seems to be among the primary reasons to believe in God. I draw comfort from family, friends, good will, peace, kindness, healing thoughts. And good grammar.

  • Greta! You are a silly. Thanks for commenting on my grammar-renegade blog. Thankfully, grammar is a dying art, so I can get away with all sorts of antics. And yes, you are the parent of whom I speak. But rest assured I always knew I could look you in the eye. Actually, I can look all the moms in the eye. It’s just that I totally agree with you about the disparity when one child is spared and another is not. Every child is blessed. Every child has a great plan. These things are simply unfathomable.

    So for God part, yes, that is the crux, isn’t it? …And therefore my whole “shaken faith” thing. But I do believe. It’s been a long road for me for sure. And I came from where you are, lady jane, so I get it. I get it. It’s just that the more i dug in and studied the history, the archaeology, and actually started reading the bible instead of just reading what others say about the bible, the more I found I could take very little issue with it. And on it went from there. And here I am today! Crazy, no?

    Maybe don’t answer that last question.

  • Cheryl

    You are trully blessed Jennie. Never feel guilty about that! :-)

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