As you know, I have been going through a lot of papers, cards, etc. in the last few months. Well, another box of cards and miscellaneous papers was discovered in the back of a closet at my parents’ home, so I have started going through another collection of materials. In it, I found an account that I thought had been thrown away a long time ago.

One of the most terrifying points in my adolescent years was getting into a head-on car collision on the road where my parents’ house is. Not even three hundred feet from my house. Even now, the memory still chills me, and I am still reaping fears and phobias that I can trace back to that incident (example: I am petrified by anything moving fast toward me without warning and flashes out of the corner of my eye still have a chance to make me jump). My father was driving the car I was in and the other vehicle was filled with teenagers who had no business being on our road.

Well, while recovering from shock in the nearest Emergency Room, I wrote out what I remembered of the accident. And that is what I found amid old birthday cards, graduation cards, miscellaneous notes, and old movie tickets.

Because I feel that this incident is important to who I am, and in ways that I’m sure I haven’t uncovered yet, I wanted to share this account with you, whoever you may be. Although, of course, I have changed any proper names listed in it, because I still want to preserve my privacy.

I have to write down what happened before I forget. We were almost home.

Cresting the top of that last little hump of a hill–150-200 yards away from home. I was looking out the passenger side window. The headlights caught the corner of my eye. I gasped.

I must have covered my face with my hands–yes, I remember my brain telling my muscles to hurry up. For a moment I thought I was dead or fainted or something. It was black. I felt my hands on my face, smelled the smoke from the motor. Dad was chewing some guy out. The guy was getting defensive.

“we hit each other, man,” he said.

“You’re darn right we did,” my dad snapped back.

My face hurt, my right eye watering. I was scared. I gave a little groan and stumbled out of the car, my hands covering my face again.

“Are you all right?” The guy was in front f me now. I couldn’t really see him, even with a headlight shining towards him, miraculous.

“Yeah.”

Something was wrong. An obvious feeling, yet confusing. Scared. I had to see myself. I started crying, Dad holding me in a one-armed hug trying to comfort me. The studio.

Dad turned on the light.

“Yeah, your face is red,” he said. He walked to my mom’s desk. To call someone.

I walked downstairs. The door to the bathroom was blocked by a ladder.

“I’m going up to the house, Dad.” My voice sounded strange.

“Well. . .” he hesitated. “Ok.”

The tears were still flowing off my cheeks. I stumbled indoors, ignoring the dog and cat. The bathroom mirror showed me that I was going to have a shiner. Several scrapes showed up on my eyelid, forehead and the bridge of my nose. Nothing life threatening. I had to call Mom.

I walked to the kitchen and dialed the number. No answer. I left a message, trying to keep my voice as calm as possible.

“Mom, I was wondering what you do with bruises. Call us back. Dad will give you the details.” I hung up and started dialing almost instantly.

“Johnson’s,” a familiar voice answered.

“Is Deb there, Mike?” I asked voice shaken, brain numbing.

“One moment.”

“Hello?” another familiar voice.

“Deb, it’s Wilber.”

“What’s the matter?” She sounded worried.

“I need to know about bruises…”

Everything went so fast. Her praying with me, local first responders and small town “paramedics” showing up. I was scared. Crying didn’t help. I kept thinking about things, so my mind wouldn’t go blank. I prayed random snatches of prayer, mentally singing praise songs to Him. We were there: City Hospital.

Just my face, and slight back pain; nothing too serious, yet I was worse off than Dad. I’m still there, sitting in bed, trying not to fall asleep. I want to stay awake until we get home. I’ve read from the New Testament one of the nurses found for me, and I’ve prayed and praised God. The fear is now gone and we’ll be going home soon. Dad’s talking to Mom. I’m ready to go home and have a nice long cry.

In private.

With God.

This written memory, for that is the best thing that I can call it, has reminded me of some things. It has reminded me of where I came from, of how far I have come and developed as a person. It has also reminded me of some things that I don’t have in my life at the moment, things that I want back.

I want more of a network of people that I can fall back on in scary moments. I want more devotion in my life, knowledge of what is valuable to me and what isn’t. Maybe the fact that those things aren’t so clear to me anymore is a sign that I have matured, or maybe it is a sign that I have strayed away from things that give me anchors and solid measurements in life.

I’m not entirely sure of everything that this symbolizes for me, or what all the resurfacing of this memory will mean to me, but I’m interested in following it through. I want to see where this lighthouse will take me.

-Wilber

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