Shattered, Shaken, and Stirred by Gilbert Ahrens

February 2, 2010 | By | Add a Comment

During that brief moment right before the collision, when my mind escaped the horror of inevitability and journeyed to a place where time slowed down and I could sense a greater force, I had enough time to ask God to save us. In that instant, right before impact, I knew – with absolute certainty – that God was present. I knew he was there with us not so much because I could hear Him or see Him, but because I could feel Him. He was there with us. And, right before impact, I could feel Him say, “This is going to be bad, but don’t worry. I am with you.”

Shattered, Shaken, and Stirred, p. 27

Summary: On an autumn evening in 2002, the car Gilbert Ahrens was driving was struck head-on by a drunk driver traveling 95 miles per hour. Gil, his wife Kim, sister Margot, and three-week-old daughter Olivia had been going 60 miles per hour. The driver of the other car was only 18, and the passenger in that car was killed on impact. Gil’s family survived, but with some serious injuries. The most serious was his wife, Kim, who suffered a broken neck that left her paralyzed and sentenced to a wheelchair. Their baby daughter, however, emerged unscathed.

Ahrens writes this book to his daughter, describing the many ways in which that one night altered everything. It is a story that reads like a long love letter and includes actual correspondences to family and friends. Ahrens details how their world was ripped apart and the great struggle to get things back together. Of course, they never would get back to the way things were. Their lives had been forever changed.

Ahrens also describes how faith in God helped him through such a difficult time. He does not get very deep into theology, but has a lot to say about change, struggle and suffering. Amazingly, his tone is primarily of gratitude and he even injects humor into grim and bitter situations. What gets Ahrens the most fired up is all the inefficiencies and injustices encountered when dealing with what he terms “the System” (e.g. insurance companies, the legal system, etc.). This part took some time to get through, but illuminated frustrations that affect everybody and many directly face.

This book reminded me of another book titled, A Grace Disguised by Gerald Sittser. Both recount in horrific fashion the trauma that ensued after being hit by a drunk driver. The difference is that Sittser has a theological background (Ahrens was a business man) and lost three family members in his crash. Sittser’s book goes much deeper into matters of loss and suffering, while this book gets more into the day to day adjustments required to deal with his wife’s sudden disability.

Rating: 4/5 (Good, but Sittser’s book is one of the best books that I have ever read and is on a similar topic. I would read that one first.)

“But he said to me, ‘My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me. That is why, for Christ’s sake, I delight in weaknesses, in insults, in hardships, in persecutions, in difficulties. For when I am weak, then I am strong.” – 2 Corinthians 12:9-10

This book was provided for review by Positano Press through the B&B Media Group. To learn more about or purchase this book on Amazon, click here. For further information, check out the book’s website.

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