Seven years old is a young age. When you’re seven, you haven’t really figured much out yet. Bad guys are just those men wearing masks on Saturday morning cartoons and the hotels you stay in along the way are so much more exciting than the whole vacation. When you’re seven, the most important decision you have to make in the morning is whether you want Cheerios or Cinnamon Life for breakfast. When you’re seven, God is just that guy they talk about in Sunday school. The one that’s supposed to love you, and to prove it, gave up his own son. When I was seven, I didn’t really know God that well—but I think he wanted to know me.
I was seven when my family had a rollover accident coming home from vacation. We had been in Colorado and tried to make it home in one day. We were forty-five minutes away from our house when they had to send the helicopters. I spent the next ten days in the hospital. I’m being honest when I say that there isn’t much I can remember. I remember wheeling into my second grade class on the first day of school, my dad behind me pushing my wheelchair. I remember screaming as they straightened my leg out at the scene—I can remember screaming, but not a trace of the pain. I remember the feeling of the neck brace tight around my throat, the nurse with the watch that played the Scooby-doo theme song, the green monkeys that came in everyday to change my dressings.
As much as I would like to say that I can remember rolling over in the car, I can’t. When I was younger, I would lie in my bed at night, angrily begging God to help me remember. I couldn’t understand why both my legs were broken and my mind couldn’t even remember how they got that way. I couldn’t understand how my sister could remember everything and I couldn’t. When you’re seven, there are a lot of things you can’t understand.
As I look back on it now, I realize I will never truly understand every reason behind our accident, but some things have become so much clearer. I haven’t actually attended a church regularly since about the third grade. When most people hear that, they automatically assume that we blame our accident on God—that it hurt our faith, and now we’re broken, angry souls. If only they knew. If only they knew that because of our accident we are stronger. If only they knew that for me, our car accident proved that there is a God. I don’t know where I would be if it had never happened. I don’t know what I would believe in. I don’t know how I could survive without the strength it gives me.
At the scene of the accident that night, an EMT told my older sister that if my mother lived, she would be a vegetable. She was twelve. To this day my mother lives on as the strongest person I know in both body and spirit. She didn’t die. And that night, no one did.
I believe that God worked a miracle that night. I believe that in some weird way, he felt that our happy life needed something to shake things up. But more than everything else, I believe that God knew what he was doing. I believe God had to prove to us—or at least to me, that humans are so small in this world. I believe that he needed to show me that he is here, no matter how much I feel like disagreeing. I believe God is always there, but more importantly, that he even exists.
I thank God everyday for what happened to us. I thank him for how no one died. I thank him for how he gave me a little reminder that he’s always there, watching over me. Because of what happened to us, I believe in God. I believe simply that there is something more than what we have here on earth, that there is a reason behind the madness of life. That we have a purpose, and that night, God gave me a chance to fulfill mine.