I looked up into my rearview mirror and, in less than a second, realized he was going to hit me…

and then he did.

I didn’t realize how much damage there was to the vehicle even after I had gotten out because there was traffic going by, so I couldn’t do a full walkaround. But when I got back in the car to pull over to the shoulder – per the request of the officer on the scene – I realized this vehicle, our only vehicle, was less than drive-able. Cue the freakout.

But actually, I didn’t.

Even though this meant my husband had no ride home from work and I was stranded on the highway; we didn’t have a vehicle; and our Thursday night was about to be spent talking to insurance, having the car towed, and going to urgent care to get checked out; there was no freakout. Here’s why:

Perspective Is Everything

I’m really channeling my mother with that heading, but it’s true: Perspective is everything. I could have been hurt, the guy who hit me could have been hurt, I could have hit the car in front of me – things could have been so much worse. But as it was, Mom’s adage came to roost as the other driver profusely apologized, and I said, “As long as you’re okay and I’m okay, it’s okay. It’s not that big a deal.” Cars are replaceable, you know? But people aren’t. That truth really resonated Thursday evening on a highway overpass.

Insurance Is Key

For all the times I may have grumbled – internally or externally – about insurance, I repent. I was so thankful that both parties involved had good insurance. The car was towed and we didn’t have to pay for it, the car will be assessed and we don’t have to pay for it, we’re getting around in a rental vehicle and we don’t have to pay for it. What could have been a major financial disaster with cut-rate insurance is little more than a happy inconvenience (again, because neither of us were hurt).

Thank God for the Emergency Fund

As Dave sometimes says, being able to get to work counts as an emergency (in this case, that is). Fortunately we not only will have whatever the assessors choose to give us toward fixing or replacing our vehicle, but we will also have the money that we’ve set aside for just these kinds of circumstances. I mean, hopefully the assessed value will cover it – that would be ideal – but even if it doesn’t, we won’t be facing a financial crisis.

Relational Investing

The longer we’ve been married, the more my husband and I agree that the main thing of life is choosing relationship over comfort, convenience, or conventional wisdom. We are so thankful to have great friends (and family) in whom we are deeply invested (and who are deeply invested in us). Our Thursday night would have been totally different without one of those amazing friends picking up the phone and saying “absolutely!” to a call that he wasn’t expecting that changed his whole plan for the evening. Not only did he pick us up, but he hung out with us for a couple hours at the urgent care, lifted our spirits with his good humor and some milkshakes, and was exactly what we needed in that moment. Those are the things that money can’t buy and only love can repay. We are so, so thankful for the relationships that surround us.

No Freaking Out

Hopefully the parts of our journey we’ve shared with you so far have encouraged you to take a second look at where your money is going and whether you’re telling your finances what to do or they’re calling the shots. I hope that when you have an emergency (because they happen to us all when we’re least expecting them), first, you’ll be as blessed as I was; but second, I hope you don’t freak out because the things I’ve outlined above are true for you too.