Sunday, June 16, 2013

Time and Second Chances

Daddy was 80 this week; he and Mother celebrated 58 years together as well. It is my late-50-something time of being his first child on Father's Day. I realize that time is, pardon the pun, fleeting. I hear the chorus from "Rocky Horror" singing, "Time is fleeting.... let's do the time warp again..." There just isn't enough of it.

Time has been plaguing me lately. I want more and have no control over it. It fills itself with things that don't contribute to happiness. It ticks away quite contentedly while I run like a crazy woman trying to smash Every Single Thing into that I can. I won't live forever. No one does. Not on this Earth anyhow...

Years ago I was in a terrible car accident that should have left me dead. I remember skidding down the mountain side, watching the inside of my car turn white and feeling myself lifting away. I called out, "God! Please! Don't let me die tonight! I have so many things I need to finish! So many things I want to accomplish! I want to see my son grown! He can't miss the prom!" (It was prom weekend --- you know how important those things are...) A pair of unseen hands grabbed me by the forearms and shoved me backwards as the window shield exploded from the trees breaking over the car.

When the car stopped, it was possible to tell that it had been a car, but not much more. It hit with such force that it knocked the license plate off the back and the trunk flew open. The front seats were in the back; the back seats were in the trunk. My shoes were never found. Remarkably, the only injuries I had were air bag burns on my left hand where I tried to protect my face from the bag as it exploded (my glasses didn't fair so well), bruises from the knees down where the dash hit me as it pushed in, torn tendons in my right foot, and bruises from unseen hands. (The hospital staff took pictures of them to document the fingerprint bruises....)

The ambulance had removed me before the police arrived, so I didn't talk with the policeman on duty until I was naked on a CAT scan being checked for internal injuries. He blew in the door, wrapped his arms around me and cried like a girl. "I knew I was having to make a death call tonight! I don't know how you survived. It is a miracle!" he wept. I showed him my arms to confirm the miracle part.... and he smiled, apologized for rushing in as he had, and then left to call my son.

That was 15 years ago this past January. Sometimes I wonder why I was given this second chance. What was I supposed to do? It is rather like "It's a Wonderful Life." We don't know what difference we may have made or where, but we hope we have. As I listened to my parents talk this past week, reflecting on their lives together and their goals met or not, I realized that it really isn't about ticking off this or that on a list. It is about making the best use of what gifts one has and not about using time well. Time can't win that one. Ever.

4 comments:

  1. Matty, what an amazing story. It gave you such a gift, a gift of seeing life through eyes most folks aren't aware of. So few realize how precious life as we know it, truly is.

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  2. Hi Matty! It's so good to see you posting again! I've had several brushes with near death and when I was younger I too, wondered why God spared me. What was my purpose? But then I stopped trying to second guess Him and just assume that He knew what he was doing. Ha! Perhaps it was for something small that we might not even know it mattered, like a kind word to a stranger just when they needed one. Or perhaps to be an example. I figure if you are leading a good life and following the commandments as best you can and trying to be as Christ-like as humanly possible, you are serving your purpose.

    PS: I stopped by Mt. Airy while in NC and took a stroll. Wouldn't it have been swell to have bumped into you? It was a quick trip down. Just one day down Saturday and Sunday with the grandbabies, then one day back. Too much sitting in the car, will take more time next trip.

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  3. Wow, that is amazing! What a faith building story and it is TRUE.

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  4. Hi Matty, this is a very inspiring story. I was in a horrible car wreck too in 1976. My mother and I were hit by a drunk driver, and the way you described the sensation was so true it gave me chills. You are an incredible writer. That's the thing about those "It's A Wonderful LIfe" moments, we never quite know what it is we are doing to make an impact on someone else. It makes me think of the poem by John Donne, I had to memorize in high school. Bits of it have stayed with me all these years, where it says "No man is an island, each one is a piece of the continent a part of the main...so never send to know for whom the bell tolls, it tolls for thee". It talks about how each man's death diminishes us. In turn I think each man's life enriches us somehow. It may be in big ways or small ways. I know your story today has enriched my life. With Love, Delisa :)

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Matty