“The sea a dark cavernous blue… When you’re between any sort of devil and the deep blue sea, the deep blue sea sometimes looks very inviting.”
I think we all have moments or experiences that change us. Some people have many of these and some may only have one or two; we can change frequently throughout our lives I believe. I’m talking about significant changes, when something happens to you and afterwards, you won’t view the world with the same lens anymore. You cannot because you aren’t the same anymore, you have become different. I think God makes these things happen because life goes so quickly that you often don’t notice your lens becoming foggy, and so He has to tell you.
My first big change happened when I was fairly young, during the spring of my final year in high school. People often begin stories with, It was just like any other day… and it really was. Mother had sent me to the store to pick up a few groceries for supper that evening. Just like her I always took the back roads to avoid the traffic in town on weekends. Some of the kids in my classes took the back roads because there was more open space to drive recklessly, and so I always kept look-out for that.
I was on my way back home and I remember being happy because the preceding winter season had been a harsh one and I was glad to finally see sunlight and flowers growing. The road I was on passes over a tiny creek that runs through the woods behind the old golf course, and it narrowed into a small bridge that only one car could drive on at a time. I went over the bridge, and then I turned the wheel to move back over to the right side of the road but this particular road was poorly paved and there was a shallow ditch beside it right when you come off the bridge. My wheel got stuck in the ditch, and everything after that was a blur.
Terrified, I yanked the steering wheel the opposite way to come out of the ditch but it only put the car into a hydroplaning motion. My wheels spun and suddenly I was staring at the clouds as I had spun off the road and onto the mounds of dirt on the old golf course. I went up over the first hill, airborne, and then crashed down onto the hard earth beneath me, and I did this three more times with no control. As the car lost momentum and I came down the last time, it landed on the left side and rolled over, throwing me back into the street and stopping when it collided with a telephone pole on the opposite side.
I was dead, I was sure of that. From the first time I went into the air and was staring up at heaven with tears rolling out of my eyes, I knew that’s where I was headed. I may have been screaming for help or I may have been still, petrified. But I knew I wouldn’t come out of this alive. I was alone, and I remember my surroundings going dark; not black, but an obscure hazy blue that made it seem that I was stranded out in the ocean. There was no horizon in sight, there was no hope, there was nothing. I was helpless, listless, sinking to the bottom. And I let go.
I woke up to find that it hadn’t been my time yet; I survived and that was a miracle, the doctor told me. Mother held me tight and prayed, although for those first few minutes when I awoke I still felt like I was alone, with nothing but ocean around me. But I didn’t sink this time. I didn’t want to, and I saw clearly then, just as He intended, that I would have to be more careful to ensure that. So that was my change, my first big one.
Since then I’ve always been more cautionary. People said, “what a terrible thing to have happened!” but the way I see it, sometimes those terrible things happen so that worse things don’t. I could have been gone, could have sunk to the bottom. But that experience made it so that I’m much more careful that that does not happen. Yes, that was a terrible way to learn that, but I suppose it was part of the plan all along.