About the Book
DO ALL THINGS REALLY WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD? Have you ever lost someone you loved? If so, then you’ve been sideswiped. In that moment it’s easy to feel overwhelmed by darkness and despair. But emerging into the light is possible. Author Michael Voll experienced a sideswipe firsthand. On a drive one wintery day his family suffered a horrific car accident. Moments later he lost his wife and simultaneously his picture-perfect future. Sideswiped is a rare and raw look inside the thoughts, feelings and actions of a man who lost his love and his identity in the process. Thankfully, the story doesn’t end there. Readers will discover how it’s possible to find hope, healing, and wholeness after the sideswipe of a broken heart. Author and pastor Michael Voll shows you: • Unexpected stages and outcomes of grief • Helpful words and actions that comfort those suffering from sadness • Three keys to finding hope and healing. • The redemptive outcomes of experiencing a sideswipe. • How a “new normal” is possible. If you or someone you love has been sideswiped by death, no matter how bleak it seems, there is hope ahead. You can emerge as an overcomer.
The Beginning of the End
“Are you okay, Mikey?”
I felt great until about ten minutes ago. Now, I was living a nightmare, and no matter how hard I tried I couldn’t wake myself from it.
Disbelief set in as I watched the unfolding scene utterly helpless while warming my numb body in an idling SUV at the side of the road. Its driver saw the wreckage and stopped to help. He took me away from the accident scene before hypothermia set in. I watched intently as two other passing good Samaritans did all they could to save Sheri’s life.
She lay there on the cold, hard packed snow near the desolate fence line several yards down a steep embankment from the highway. I prayed. I pleaded with God. Then, I watched to my horror as they stopped working on her, took a blue tarp from the truck I was driving just minutes earlier, and placed it over her lifeless body. I knew what that meant, even if I didn’t want to believe it was true. It was a cruel, final curtain on her life.
I had watched similar scenes on crime shows and movies countless times. A body is draped with whatever was available at the time. A towel, a sheet, a blanket or, in this case, a blue general-use tarp from a hardware store, anything to preserve the dignity of the body beneath. On T.V., if I found those scenes too disturbing, I could always change the channel and move on to something lighter, something more pleasant.
This time, I couldn’t change the channel. This was my reality show.
How can things spiral out of control so quickly? I wondered. Only minutes ago, she was full of life and vitality. We laughed and chatted between her catnaps, as she snuggled tightly in a sweater and coat that formed a makeshift pillow in the passenger seat of the mid-sized truck I was driving. Frequently, she would stir and ask me, “Are you okay, Mikey?” Yes, I was. She was the one who stayed up all night long with junior high school girls, doing makeovers and eating junk food, avoiding any sleep that she could have had otherwise, on a hard and cold floor in a Sunday school room. I was the one sleeping alone in our comfortable bed, preparing myself for a long day ahead.
We were making the trip from Vancouver to Kelowna and back to pick up the table and chairs, which were once fixtures in my grandparents’ apartment. Since grandpa died, grandma had no use for them in her downsized place. At the time, we were using a borrowed table and folding chairs. This seemed like an upgrade, even if they were old. We labeled them ‘vintage’ so that we could fit in with the trendy Vancouver crowd. We borrowed the truck from a friend and looked forward to expanding our furniture collection.
But we hadn’t made it to our destination.
Hadn’t I wanted to avoid this trip altogether? Didn’t I want to take the day to rest, decorate our house for Christmas and then, drink eggnog while nestled under a cozy blanket watching a movie? Why was I unable to read the signs that tried to pull us from the road that December day?
Our pastor showed concern the day before, asking us to reconsider our trip. He never spoke to us like this. On the road just an hour before, I ran out of fuel and barely limped the truck into a service station. At the summit of the highway, just after the toll booth, the window would not roll up and the truck would not engage four-wheel drive. How can a man of God, who prides himself on listening to the voice of God, miss all of those signs?
Yet, we continued on, until we were no longer in control of the vehicle and its destination. It took us on a ride, sliding out of control as we hit a patch of black ice. No correction could change the trajectory of our two-ton bullet. We were headed for a snow embankment when Sheri called out her last audible words, “What’s happening?”
All I could do was shout an expletive.
In that moment, I knew life would never be the same.
About the Author
Michael Voll lives with his wife Melissa, and children Aubri and Zane in Edmonton, Alberta. He is the Associate Pastor at North Pointe Community Church and an Adjunct Faculty member at Vanguard College in Edmonton, where he teaches the Intermediate Pastoral Practicum class. He has also served on staff at Broadway Church in Vancouver, BC.
Michael’s passion in life is to communicate for change in everyday living through sharing his story and creative teaching of Bible principles. He is a speaker, teacher and writer on issues of faith, leadership and family.
In his downtime Michael likes to be the tickle monster to his kids, read spy novels, lift weights and grill up a mean rib eye steak.
Connect at his website
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