January 17th. A date etched in my memory banks forever because it’s the day my life was spared. Might sound melodramatic, but I think it’s important to celebrate the significant times and dates in our life. Remembering where we came from can help us appreciate the present and propel us to the future.
When I was a senior in high school I worried about getting into the right college and making sure I was on the best path. I stayed up every night during finals week to study, even taking No-Doze to help pull those near all-nighters. When the end of the week came and finals were over, I had one stop to make at my job at Lexus before a nap and my basketball game that night. I never made it to Lexus or my game because I fell asleep at the wheel and hit a utility pole. With no air bag (my first car was that old) the best way to sum up what followed was jaws of life, broken head/face and bones, ICU, and then a lot of recovery time. It actually took many years to finish all the dental work even if the swelling subsided within the first year or so. I wouldn’t allow any pictures in the beginning because I felt like the Elephant Man, but this is one of the pictures taken later on.
Many things about that day were heaven-sent. A neighbor looking out their window to see me hit the pole, my barely conscious state giving the paramedic a telephone number I didn’t know, a team of excellent doctors, the immense support of friends and family, and a clear voice and presence inside the ambulance telling me everything was going to be ok.
It seemed like forever that I would be in that state of physical pain, with a face I didn’t want to look at. I believe that accident changed the course of my life from my relationships to college and career. Good or bad it was the biggest obstacle I had faced up to that point, and it shaped who I am today.
Every January 17th I say a prayer thanking God that I’m still here and remembering that though bad things happen they won’t last forever. They are shaping me into the person I will be, and this year I celebrate this anniversary at a much-needed time. There is a reason that in the Old Testament God would have his people build altars and monuments after important events. He is telling them to remember. Today I am choosing to remember how He brought me through and how He will again.
What have you been brought through that you celebrate or that needs celebration?