This I Believe

Holly - Kennesaw, Georgia
Entered on December 21, 2007
Age Group: Under 18

Holly Gray

Block 2

Mrs. Efaw

November 16, 2007

“Belief makes things real…”

I am a person of great aspirations, someone who tries to suck the sweet sap out of life as much as one can, and someone who believes in things that many others think are impossible. I am one to criticize others’ beliefs only because they refuse to take in consideration my own. While others reject the mysterious, my imagination forms a reality in which my thoughts guide me to inspire others. You see, I still wish upon falling star, kiss my clock when it turns 11:11, and search for four-leaf clovers. I do this not out of superstition, but simply because I think dreams can come true. Stories of the bizarre have made me come to the conclusion that miracles do happen.

When I was fifteen, I took a road trip to the mountains with my parents. We had done this every year since I was young, so I always looked forward to that time of year. We go during the fall when the trees’ leaves first turn their shades and tumble to the ground. I was an inexperienced driver with only two months of having my permit, yet I decided to get behind the wheel, in control of the death machine. It was the longest I had ever driven at once, a little more than an hour, when I started to become exhausted. The next thing I know everything is hurting. I was getting shooting pains everywhere. We were being thrown back and forth yet in a circular motion. A sense of heat from the pain overcame my body and I couldn’t move; my brain couldn’t tell my body to function.

Though there was a great chance that I could have become paralyzed, for some reason I was perfectly fine. After falling asleep while driving, I crashed into a guard rail on the interstate to the mountains. I flipped three times down a hill into a ditch on the mountainside, and I was life-flighted to a hospital in Elijah. I was separated from my parents for what seemed like a lifetime, yet it turned out to be a little less than twenty-four hours. I only suffered from shock and a serious concussion, but the impact of the crash has changed my life forever.

A Chinese proverb states, “The miracle is not to fly in the air, or to walk on the water, but to walk on the Earth.” Since my car accident, I have learned to appreciate the fact that I am so blessed to be living the life I was given. Not everyone comes out of a tragedy like the one I experienced as lucky as I did. I met a girl who had also been in a car crash, and now she will spend the rest of her life in a wheelchair because she is paralyzed from the hips down. She is barely able to move her upper body and struggles to move her head. I would think to myself, what if that were me? What if I never walk down the street, enjoy a swimming pool, or even dance again?

I remember when I was released from the hospital. I had to drive forty-five minutes to the hospital my dad was at since I was sent to a trauma center. He was the most injured from the accident with a broken shoulder that he eventually had to get surgery for. I remember the distinct look of his face as I walked into his hospital room. He looked so helpless, one of the strongest men I know, and all I could think was it was all my fault. His tongue was swollen from the stitches he got from biting down too hard during the crash, but he fought the pain to smile at me. I burst into tears, and he knew how sorry I was; but he never blamed me for anything. He was just thankful that we were all okay. I always thought what if I killed them? What if I killed them, and I was still alive? How could I live with myself after I destroyed my family? What if I died, but they lived? Would they blame themselves for letting me drive that day? How would I have destroyed my family in that way? Then I realized that I was spending too much time on thinking about what could have happened instead of comprehending the meaning of all of this. We can’t live our lives based on “what if’s”, but we must live in the present and not the past.

John Wooden said, “Learn as if you were to live forever, Live as if you were to die tomorrow.” Before I was so focused on “what would happen if..” when I should have been dancing in the rain, jumping in the ocean with my clothes on, or screaming from a rooftop. I am alive! It is a miracle that my parents and I got out of that accident as lucky as we did. You only live once, so you should live your days on Earth like they were your last. You never know when your time is going to come, so we must smell the roses and be free. Feel the breeze like you have never felt such a sensation. Cherish your life, like I have learned to worship mine.

I changed tremendously since that tragic day. I started going to church with some friends who I took dance class with. In that next year I was saved, and later on I was baptized. The day I was baptized was actually the day before the first anniversary of my car accident. After the anniversary I begged my parents to take me back up to Elijah, so I could make that journey even if it took me over a year to finally make it. On my way up we saw the crash site. The guard rail was still distorted as if it were never touched, as if the accident happened the previous day. The blue paint from my dad’s truck still could be seen on the rusty metal, and as we drove about ten seconds down the road we came to our destination. The apple house we were headed to was less than a half a mile away from where I lost control of the vehicle.

If I would have kept my eyes open for ten more seconds, I wouldn’t be the person I am today. If it wasn’t for those ten seconds I wouldn’t have found Christ, I wouldn’t have been saved, and I wouldn’t have been baptized. I wouldn’t appreciate life as much as I do now, and I definitely would have lived in fear. I would fear being crazy and spontaneous. I would fear getting hurt. I would fear living. So, there was a reason I was meant to have that accident. It was so I could become a better person, be the person I was meant to be. So, I believe everything happens for a reason.

“Belief makes things real, makes things feel, feel alright…”

-Gavin Degraw-