In a matter of seconds, my life was evaluated. In a matter of seconds I was put on the chopping block and then carefully placed back into safety. In a matter of seconds I was spinning in circles, an earth shattering blast hit me full on, and I was given a second chance.
The facts in the police report were straightforward and solid. I remembered bits and pieces and eventually pieced it together. I was driving down an unfamiliar road. It was 11:02 p.m. and I was two minutes over my curfew. The car I was driving was scheduled for a brake repair the very next day. The repair was one day too late. As I was traveling down a steep hill, my brakes failed me. I have come to notice that you don’t understand how hard the impact is when you total a car. Scientifically proven, if you are traveling at 40 mph, the force is the same if you were to drop that car from a three-story building.
I read the police report over and over again after returning from the hospital. I read the parts I hadn’t even remembered. Somehow I crawled out of the driver’s window, which had shattered along with every other window. From what I heard my face was red with blood. After an unmeasured amount of time lying in the middle of the road, an old lady came to help. She might have been an angel; she might have been a devil. To me it didn’t matter, she woke me up. She brought me back to reality.
The next morning, I wasn’t worried about the many stitches, or the bruises. I was upset that I had become another statistic. My entire teenage life had become a theory. I had become that growing percentage of kids under the age of 16 who had been in a life-threatening wreck. I replayed the scene over and over again. What had I done wrong? What could I have fixed? My mom cried every time she looked at me. That hurt a lot, being the source of someone’s fear.
I had faced death. I had looked him in the eye and begged for more of this beautiful life. As many times as I had heard It before, I never grew to know the true meaning of life until it was almost taken from me. Looking back, I realize the first thing that came out of my mouth had something to do with calling my mother. The first person I wanted to touch was my mother. Some people will travel on this journey of life and never experience this startling feeling. They will never feel fear so deep in their bones it hurts. I don’t know whether to envy them for never receiving such a life-shattering blow, or to pity them for never obtaining the flutter my heart feels when I see the sunrise. After receiving many myself, I believe in miracles.
If you enjoyed this essay, please consider making a tax-deductible contribution to This I Believe, Inc.