Why Did I Survive?
Why me? I screamed inside my head. And why now? The day of the accident I had landed a part-time job—one that I'd get to drive to once I passed my driving exam, which I had been planning to take the week after the accident. Now all of my plans were ruined.
I knew I had messed up big time. It was totally stupid both to drink and to mess around with fire. But why was I the only one paying for our stupid actions?
Was God Punishing Me?
Along with regular visits from my parents and friends, my friend Michelle dropped by the hospital several times. We usually talked about movies or music. But one afternoon the conversation turned in a different direction.
"You're gonna be OK," Michelle said softly.
"How do you know?" I asked.
"I've been praying for you," she said.
I leaned my head back on my pillow and looked at Michelle. I guess I had an idea she believed in God, but we'd never talked about it. So it kind of surprised me when she said she was praying for me. Maybe I should have been thankful, but I blurted out, "Have you been praying for a miracle? That's what I want! I want to turn back time and make it so that night never happened."
"I know it's hard," Michelle said. "But try to concentrate on the future."
"Easy for you to say!" I snapped. "You're not living in constant pain. Your skin still looks and feels normal. For the rest of my life the first thing people will see when they look at me will be these stupid scars!"
Awkward silence filled the room.
"Next time you talk to God," I told Michelle, "ask him why he's punishing me."
"I don't believe God's punishing you," Michelle said slowly.
"It doesn't feel that way to me," I shot back.
"What about your eyesight?" Michelle asked. "Didn't the doctors expect you to go blind? But, you're looking at me, aren't you?" Michelle said. "Maybe you can be grateful that all you might need is a stronger prescription."
"Honestly, I don't blame you for feeling hurt and mad. But maybe there are things to be thankful for."
"Who in my condition would be thankful for anything?" I asked.
"Austin, you almost died," Michelle nearly whispered. "But God has given you another shot at life—a chance to make better choices from now on."
I sighed and looked away. I didn't know what to think. As Michelle stood up to leave, she placed a Bible on the table next to my bed. "If you want, I can read a little to you the next time I see you," she said.
Would Life Ever Be Good?
When she left, I stared at the Bible. I don't know why she brought that, I thought. It's not like reading a Bible will fix me. Besides, I can't even pick it up. I can't pick anything up!
Without thinking, I pounded my fist on the bed and a fiery jolt shot through every fiber of my hand. I fought back tears as I looked out my window at people walking, talking, hugging, laughing. I wondered how long it would be before I could do those things again. When would I get to give or receive a hug without pain shooting through my body? Would life ever be good again?