It was last Monday… around 11:30 pm. It was cool outside, and a light rain was falling from the sky. Perfect weather for one of my random drives. Me and my roommate hopped into the car; the first thing he did was reach for my Bible.
“I’m going to need this,” he said jokingly.
My tires spun as I drifted off campus. We headed for a back road that I had driven on more than 5 times: Tons of open road, amazing scenery, and best of all, huge straightaways and no cops. Cue dramatic music.
I watched my speedometer rise quickly, seemingly in sync with the heart rate of my passenger. His nerves were shot, but mine were calm. I knew the best was yet to come.
Screeching to a halt, we barely made the stop at a 4-way intersection. Is straight right, or is right right? I couldn’t remember. Either way would be fine despite which one I chose… Or so I thought. Who cared? I was pumped! I cranked up the volume of my beautiful sound system till I could feel the bass hit my entire body.
Punching the accelerator, I sped off into the night with my passenger’s hands tight on the frame handle and my hands tight on the steering wheel. Within the next mile or so I hit top speeds, typical of my history with this road. I thought everything was fine until I noticed the road becoming a bit more curvy. Still trying to maintain maximum speeds, I took the corners with an anxious mindset. Before I knew it, the inevitable occurred. I came upon a curve that me and my amazing driving skills could not handle.
In an attempt to take the curve, I pulled my wheels hard to the left. This caused my truck to fishtail and head towards the opposite side of the road. I knew that if I did not correct this mistake, my truck would roll and we would be killed. Immediately I corrected the turn I had made, or so I thought. Doing this just managed to completely turn my truck in the opposite direction, sending it headed off-road into the curve.
My truck, still going about 75 mph or so, jumped the ditch on the side of the road. Me, my roommate, and my truck were airborne. We weren’t kicking and screaming. We weren’t crying. Our adrenaline was pulsating through our veins as we envisioned impact, shattered glass, bent metal, broken bones… death.
We came to an abrupt stop. Neither of us knew what had happened, and neither of us had felt the impact. Both of us, however, felt the result of the impact.
“Bro, you gotta get out. The car is smoking.”
I tried. I failed. Movement was impossible for me. The impact had left the entire steering column collapsed onto my legs. As much as I tried, they wouldn’t budge.
B L A C K O U T
The next thing I remember is laying on the pavement in nothing but a t-shirt and boxers. Dirt and blood clothed the rest of my body. The rain, which was still falling, chilled me to the bone. All I could think about was how cold I was. My roommate, who had pulled my limp body from the passenger side window, picked up a few of the clothes that lay scattered all around the scene, and placed them over my body.
Emergency services were contacted. The order of arrival, however, was somewhat askew: 1. Random bypassers 2. 15 of my fraternity brothers 3. The electric company (The object that had caused our abrupt stop was an electrical pole) 4. The police and FINALLY 5. The ambulance.
Once the paramedics finally arrived, they told everyone that they would have to put me on a stretcher. I was completely fine with that. Anything to get me off the cold dirty pavement. In an attempt to assist them, I tried rolling onto my side. When I lifted my leg, it didn’t come with the rest of me. Pain shot throughout my entire body. My leg was broken.
I emptied out two whole bags of morphine on the way to the hospital. Feelin’ great right? Not exactly. My roommate, who came along for the ride, lay beside me, for the most part unscathed. From the time that I left the scene of the accident to the time I went into surgery, my leg was placed into two different splints: one of the most intense pains I have ever felt before… No matter, it was a part of the process. A day later, after innumerable visits from family, friends, and physicians, I was out of surgery with a titanium rod in my leg and a heap of metal sitting somewhere in a junk yard.
Needless to say, I should have died that night. As can be seen in the pictures above, the electric pole that my truck struck had completely crushed my side of the truck to the point where there was no space for a body. There was no space for me. I usually wear my seatbelt; that night I wasn’t. Authorities claim that this was probably what saved me. I beg to differ. I claim that God was what saved me! I had been living my life how I wanted to live it. I was a Christian, but wasn’t really displaying it outwardly. I hadn’t completely surrendered my life to Christ.
I should have died. I didn’t. This accident may or may not have been a wake up call from God, but either way, it has given me a new lease on life. I have since gained a more sincere appreciation for that gift that He gives us daily. So often we take life for granted. It’s cliche’, but true. Since I’ve had time to reflect on what happened, I have completely surrendered. No longer will I live with the label “Christian” and not be able to back it up. Seeing who I was is disgusting. Seeing who I can be is lovely. All it took was to have the brevity of life shoved in my face like a sponge of vinegar. I now realize that this life that I love is not mine.. It is God’s.
I really wish that it would not have taken a tragedy such as this to bring me to my senses, but I am grateful that I have lived to experience it. I would encourage everyone reading this to re-evaluate their lives. I wouldn’t wish what happened to me on anyone. I don’t think it is necessary; What is necessary is to understand the value of your life. Know where it comes from, and who supplies each breath that you take.
This may be your last.
“For we are hard pressed on every side, yet not crushed; we are perplexed but not in despair; persecuted but not forsaken; struck down but not destroyed…” – 2 Corinthians 4:8-9