Thursday, August 22, 2013

Brief Reflection on My Last 13 Years of Life

I'm currently finishing up grading for the persuasive writing class I taught over the summer. Yes, grades are due tomorrow, which is what's really motivating me to work right now.

Anyway, as I've been looking over my students' writing, I read an essay that starts with a story the student tells about a friend who went off a jump on his snowboard trying to "gap" a stream up Big Cottonwood Canyon. Things didn't go as planned and the snowboarder ended up landing on his head on the far stream bank. The first thing the snowboarder said as he was being pulled out of the stream was, "I can't feel my legs." He'd broken his neck and severed his spinal cord.

Reading this account really struck me as it was exactly 13 years and one week ago that I lived a story that easily could have ended the same way. That fateful day in Island Park Idaho should have gone a lot worse for me than a ruptured spleen, a life flight ride, a week's stay in the Idaho Falls hospital, and two months off of school. Sometimes when I really sit down and think about what could have happened that day, and how different these last 13 years of my life very nearly were, I shake my head in disbelief. I could, and maybe should, have died. Or at very least been paralyzed as was this young man I'm reading about.

When I get to thinking about what I've done over the past 13 years, I can't help but be overcome with gratitude that I was afforded the opportunity to live out my life to this point as I have. All too often I don't recognize what a great blessing my life is. I thank God for preserving me as He has numerous times, though perhaps none as dramatic as that time with the ruptured spleen.

I don't mean this to come off as if I consider myself more loved or blessed of God than my student's snowboarder friend who wasn't as lucky as I. In fact I don't like that I just used the word "lucky" in that last sentence. That would imply that my outcome was/is somehow superior to his. The way I see it, God is an eternal being who knows us as our past, present, and future selves. The trials and outcomes we face in this life are a part of helping us become our best future self that is most like Him, which is to say that future self that is as happy and joyous and peaceful as God is. Life in a wheelchair is what that young man needed to help him along his way. Life on legs is, apparently, what I need. I look at the ups, downs, joys, and sorrows of the past 13 years, and I thank God for them and for the growth I have undergone and the improvements to my life and the way I live I've been able to make because of them. My life's experiences would have been drastically different had things gone differently that day 13 years ago, and I would likely be a very different person as a result. As it stands, I feel like I've made my way along the path God has laid out for me (painfully slowly at times), and hope that somehow I can carry on and continue becoming the man God would have me be.

This whole post may be nothing more than a collection of self-indulgent ramblings, and iff no one ever reads them that'll be fine by me. Maybe it's that it's quarter till 2 in the am and I'm feeling more contemplative than usual, but I needed to get this out. I wanted to somehow publicly thank God for my life.


  1. Totally remember that day. Also, I once told Christi Gardner how lucky I felt to have married Brett. She quickly said, "Not lucky--blessed." I've since tried to use that term when I feel lucky.

    Hope all is well in IN.