November 19, 2011, the day I was supposed to die. Almost three hundred & sixty-five days have passed and I am still very much alive. As the one year anniversary approaches, I struggle. Most of the physical pain of the accident itself is far behind me. Other than slightly limited mobility in my neck, I suffer no long-term physical effects, even the scars on my neck, forehead and shoulder are barely visible. To a stranger, I look normal, there is no tell-tale indication of the trauma I endured. For that I am grateful. There are still a few loose ends related to medical bills and insurance settlements, but nothing that plagues me. My emotional wounds however, are still a little raw.
There are days it seems my life will forever be divided into “pre” and “post” accident. Before the accident I was scared of very little, a bit of a daredevil actually. Today I am very much aware of my body’s fragility. At my father’s 60th birthday party, an attempt to ride go carts was disastrous. I barely made one lap around the track. All I could think was, “I’m not wearing a helmet, if I crash I could fly head first into the pavement and break my neck again.” I kept my cool long enough to park the go-cart, but collapsed into tears once I climbed out. I am uncomfortable driving on the highway, especially at night. My neck doesn’t turn towards the back well, and judging a car’s distance based on headlights in a rear view mirror is tricky. Walt Disney World’s Space Mountain used to be my all time favorite ride. Not anymore. I braved a ride on it this summer and spent the entire time praying I would survive, promising God that if I made it off alive I’d never ride Space Mountain again. it’s a promise I’ll have no difficulty keeping.
What plagues me most is wondering why I lived. Why did God set me apart? Why did He save me? A co-worker recently lost her cousin in an accident very similar to mine. She was in the back seat of a vehicle that was rear ended by a semi, she broke her neck and died at the scene. A friend’s younger brother died earlier this year. He was younger than me and left behind a teen age daughter. Why did their lives end while mine continues on? Please do not misunderstand. I am not looking for an exit strategy. I want to be around to see my children, nieces and nephews grow up, launch their careers and start families. I want to be part of their lives. I want to meet my future grandchildren. I want to graduate from college (yes, I’m a little behind in that department). I want to travel the globe and love on orphans. I want to be a published (i.e., paid) author. There is much to live for, but still I wonder why God chose to save me.
As I reflect on the last year I wonder if He is pleased? Have I lived up to His expectation? What have I accomplished this last year? What difference have I made in the lives of those around me? Am I leaving an indelible mark on the world? Am I walking down the path He has chosen for me? Am I fulfilling my purpose? Today a very dear friend mentioned the upcoming anniversary and asked how I am. My eyes started to sting and I had to fight back tears because I really am not sure. I mean, I haven’t found a cure for cancer (though, I wasn’t trying either), or achieved any earth shattering feat. Maybe I was just supposed to spend this year making a full recovery. I am certain I accomplished that.
As the accident grows smaller and smaller in the rearview mirror of my mind, I pray that His light is reflected in my life and spills over through my actions. I pray that my existence brings Him glory. I pray that my story of survival offers hope. I pray that I am able to accomplish all that He has for me. I pray that when my time does come, He will welcome me home with the soft words, “well done good and faithful servant.”