Why Did I Survive?

One second I was partying. The next, I was fighting for my life.
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As I stared down at my red leathery hands that just weeks before had been so smooth and strong, a tear slid down my cheek. Then suddenly, almost against everything I was feeling and thinking, I remembered what Michelle had said about God giving me a second chance.

Why did I survive? I suddenly wondered. Maybe there really was a God out there who not only gave me a second chance but who actually loved me.

A New Direction

Through physical therapy over the next several months, I made great improvements. I learned to walk, write and even drive. On the one-year anniversary of the accident, I hopped into my car and headed toward Josh's house. It wasn't like I wanted to see him. He'd visited me a couple of times in the hospital, but we'd hardly talked since the accident. I just had to look at the place where my life had changed so much.

Driving with my windows down, inhaling the crisp, fresh air, I thought about everything that had happened. A year earlier I was mad at myself, mad at Josh, mad at my body for not healing fast enough. And I was scared I'd never feel happy or normal again. But then Michelle helped me see that Christ could change my life, and slowly things did change. When my hands started to heal I did something that surprised even me—I picked up that Bible Michelle had given me and started reading it. Soon after that I dropped by Michelle's church, just to check it out. Everyone there was so friendly. And the more I learned about God's love and goodness, the more at peace I felt. With time, my heart softened and I was able to forgive both Josh and myself for the stupid mistakes we'd made. And as my fears faded, I began to see that a caring God had not only saved me, but he had also stuck with me throughout this difficult journey.

As I pulled my car in front of Josh's house and sat there in silence, horrific images flashed across my mind. My stomach knotted and my body shuddered as I tried to shake off the memories. Then I took a deep breath and bowed my head in prayer, thanking God for my second chance at life and for my new life with him. Suddenly my anxiety melted away and I was filled with peace—the kind of peace that only God's love can bring.

It's been a year and a half since Austin's accident. It's unclear whether he'll need more surgeries in the future, but he's happy putting his life in God's hands. After he graduates in May 2007, Austin plans to go to college and triple major in criminology, psychology and photography.

*names have been changed

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