The Accident

I shouldn’t be here today. I should have died 15 years ago, when I was 19. It is only through God’s grace and protection that I survived and am here to tell you about it. It was an event that I have taken for granted the past 15 years, an event I haven’t thought much about. I should praise God EVERY DAY for His grace and protection that snowy day when the accident occurred. I should never take it for granted. I should never think it was “no big deal.”

Allow me to back up a few years. When I was in high school I was searching. I was trying to fit in. I went to a Catholic high school, so you would think that my peers would be loving and accepting—that they would be Christian. My experiences in my high school were quite the opposite. I felt ostracized. I didn’t fit in because I didn’t go out drinking with everyone else on Friday night. I felt left out and alone.

The summer before my junior year, I was introduced to a youth group. It was there that, finally, I felt loved and accepted. The friends that I met there had an unimaginable positive impact of my life. It changed the course of my life, changed the direction I was going in.

I decided to attend college at Franciscan University in Steubenville, Ohio, which I was introduced to in youth group. The experiences I had there were truly amazing as well. I met many college students with strong faith and a desire to grow closer to Christ. It was while I was there during my freshman year that I felt the pull to discern a vocation to the priesthood. After my freshman year, I left Franciscan and went back to my hometown of St. Louis to enter the Diocesan seminary there. I was in the seminary when I had my accident.

I had decided to go to Steubenville on my spring break to visit some of my old friends. So I set off, by myself, on a road trip. The trip up was uneventful and the stay there was very nice. It was good to reconnect with some old friends. On the way home, I ran into a nasty snow storm on I-70 in Ohio. I thought several times that I should get off the highway and find a hotel to stay in for the night, but I kept telling myself “Just another ten miles. I’ve got to come out of this storm eventually.” I was driving carefully, but I guess not carefully enough.

It all happened so fast. It was over before I even realized it. I hit a patch of ice on the road and lost control of the car. I’m not exactly sure what happened next, but from what eye witnesses told me this is what took place. My car went into a spin. The back end ran into the guardrail on the side of the highway. My car came off the guardrail moving across the lanes of traffic just as a flat-bed semi was passing by. The front end of my car went under the bed of the flat-bed semi. The only thing that stopped my car from continuing to move under the semi was that the back tires of the truck hit the side of my car and pushed my car out from underneath it—with the help of what I imagine dozens of angels protecting me and my car.

I walked away from that accident virtually unscathed. The only injuries I sustained were a cut on the forehead and a sore neck. My airbag didn’t even deploy to protect me. One of the witnesses commented, after asking me if I was alright and if there was anyone else in the car, that he expected to pull a dead body out of the car.

I’ve shared this story with family and a few close friends, but haven’t thought much about it over the past 15 years until just recently when I shared it with a couple of people who hadn’t heard it. Both people I shared this story said it was an amazing story. One person went so far as to say that I should be on T.V. sharing my story. I’ve never thought it was an amazing story until just recently.

God has a way of working in our lives. He has a plan for each and every one of us, and He will not let us depart from this planet until we have fulfilled His plan for us. I did realize, after the accident, that God must have something in store from me. My time was not yet up. But as the years passed and the memory of the accident began to fade, I stopped thinking about it. I also stopped thinking about God’s plan for my life. I just started living my life, as most Americans do, completely oblivious to the will of God in my life. Sure, I went to Church. I had spirituality. I prayed. I could even feel God’s presence in my life. But I was living MY LIFE, not God’s. I was living my life as a worldly person with spirituality. And that is why I never thought much about my accident. It did not impact my world view as it should have. God gave me life, then He SAVED MY LIFE. My life should have changed with that event, but it didn’t.

It is so easy to get caught up in the things of this world. It is so easy to get distracted from the true purpose of our lives. We are not worldly people living with spirituality. We are spiritual people living in the world. Our bodies will rot and decay. Our souls will live forever. When am I—when are we—going to start living life that way? I need to start thinking about God’s plan for me, not my plan for me. We all need to stop searching. What we are looking for is God. He is with us always. All we need to do is turn to Him and He will lead the way.

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Published in: on March 16, 2009 at 4:50 pm  Leave a Comment  

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