I didn't know the date at the time (I'm often lucky just to know what month it is). But since that week it's been etched into my mind. Hardly a day goes by where the memory of June 30, 2010 doesn't nudge at my consciousness.
I feel, in a way, that I've been given a 'bonus life,' like in a video game. Especially in the first year after the accident, I would hear the name of the date and my first thought would be, 'the day I died,' in the same casual way I associate certain dates with friends' birthdays. It took conscious thought to remember that I hadn't died (actually I hadn't even been seriously injured).
It was such a catalyst. Before the accident, I was depressed, numb to everything, at times suicidal -- in fact, just that Sunday I had been poking out of habit at the idea of suicide again, in the wake of some especially cutting words directed at me by a member of the youth group, whom I had previously considered a friend.
But on June 30, laying in that hospital bed, completely immobilised as I waited for them to take x-rays, thinking about the events of an hour before and what could have been -- suddenly I realised I wanted to live. I've not been suicidal since.
As I lay there I wondered, what if I had died? What would I have left?
That set me into a completely different mindset. If it was not yet my time to die, then what was I supposed to do with my life until it was?
Starting 1 July 2010, I pursued the answer to that question like a madwoman. It's become a bit of an addiction, that question... What am I supposed to do with my life? This year? This week? Today? This moment?
My searching and praying pointed to my passion for dance, but that's too long for this post. It also pushed me deeper into encouraging other people and other things as well.
Today, though, on the two-year anniversary, I started thinking -- what would I have missed? What have I experienced since that day that I wouldn't have if I been five inches further into the intersection at the time of impact?
I would never have seen my little brother (six months old at the time), learn how to walk and I would now be missing watching his vocabulary increase at a daily rate.
I would have missed two years of dance by now (going on three).
All those dances in my head, those pieces of choreography I kept reviewing over and over in my mind so to keep them fresh until I knew how to write them down -- those would have been gone. Sing Your Freedom, You Are The One, King Of Kings, Apathy Alert, The Gift, Them -- those would never have been composed or written down (now that I think about it, I didn't even know any of those songs at the time).
The novels Reuben, Rebecca's World, Chasm, Hidden Beauty, and Kidnapped would never have been written, even in rough draft form.
I would never have gotten to own this MacBook.
I would never have been introduced to Lecrae, classicchristian247.com, or (gasp!) White Heart. (No wonder I was depressed -- the White Heart content in my brain was low.)
In a similar vein, I would never have gotten to witness the release of John Schlitt's The Greater Cause (just ordered my copy today!).
I would never have been able to graduate.
I would never have gotten to experience for myself the peace and joy the Holy Spirit gives (another story for another post).
I would have missed last night's beautiful sunset.
I would have missed out on a good thousand or so fantastic songs (I found something I wrote just weeks before the accident saying I had 493 songs in my iTunes library. I'm currently pushing 2,000 and probably have another 500 tracks in my iTunes wish list -- never mind the stuff that isn't on the iTunes Store).
I would have missed my friends' wedding a few weeks ago.
There are so many others. Every moment is one I might never have seen. Every breath is one I might never have taken but for the grace of God in providing that five-inch space on 30 June 2010.
As someone who has been given a second chance, listen to me: Don't waste your life. When I woke up that morning, I would never have guessed it could have been my last.