I loved the way Mom glowed when she talked about Kenny, and the impending wedding. She deserved to feel the joy she was feeling, that and so much more. Her joy was just contagious as well all sat at dinner discussing wedding plans for her. I liked Kenny, and I would be glad to have him for a stepfather. I was sure he would be better than my real father had been, but I no longer wanted to focus on that. I had asked the Lord to take that anger and hatred away from me, and I was doing everything in my power to make sure I did just that. I could not let anything impede in the joy, and I wasn’t going to. If I let my Fathers family have that kind of control over me, then they won, and I wasn’t about to concede in that battle.
“Mom I am so glad you are happy.”
“Sweetie, I am more than happy, I am joyous. God has blessed me in ways I didn’t think possible.”
“The good Lord does have a way of doing that, doesn’t he?”
“Yes he does, and I am more than grateful for that.”
“So Am I Mom, believe me, so am I.”
“I know honey, and I am so proud of you.”
“Mom I am proud of you too. Anything I am I owe to the faith you instill in me, and the example you set before me, but any mistake I make is my own mistake. I thank you for letting me learn from them.”
“I wanted to fix all your mistakes for you, but I knew I couldn’t Sienna, if I could I would have, but you always turned to the Lord, and when you fell you always got back up and brushed yourself off.”
“I saw your strength Mom, so how could I not be strong?”
“Sienna you are stronger than I am, you have endured more than I have ever endured, you show strength that I could never show.”
“Mom, that was not my strength but the Lord’s. I felt weak, and the truth is sometimes I still do, I still grieve, but with the help of the Lord I move on. I know that sitting around feeling sorry for myself is not going to accomplish anything. I just have to lean on the Lord, and live my life.”
“Well sweetie, regardless I am proud of you, and I am happy that you are doing so well. I wish things had worked out between you and Chad, but maybe it’s for the best, Maybe the Lord has someone else in mind for you.”
“Thank you Mom, I hope so. I really want to have a family one day.”
“Sweetie I believe you will.”
I had talked to the doctor just the year before, just wondering if in the future I would be able to have children. The doctor assured me that I should be able to have a family one day, and it gave me a sense of relief, because I always wanted a family of my own, two daughters and a son had been my dream, but I would be thankful with whatever the Lord gave me.
“Thanks Mom, I hope your right. I haven’t found anyone I feel as closely as I do to Chad though.”
“Sienna it’s still early don’t give up.”
“I’m not Mom.”
“Good, because I love you and I want you to be happy.”
“I know you do Mom, and I am happy.”
“Good sweetie, because you deserve to be happy.”
“So do you Mom.”
“I am Sienna, I have a wonderful daughter, and I am getting married to a wonderful man! How could I not be happy?”
“Good Mom, because you deserve to be happy.”
I loved seeing Mom’s glow, seeing how happy just talking about Kenny made her feel. She had not wanted to get into a relationship at first, but now that I was older and on my own, she was ready. My Mom was getting married, and I definitely approved. I could not ask for a better Stepfather than Kenny. He was truly a good man, a rare kind of man in this day and age, one who treated the people in his life, like they were the centered of the world, and more importantly one who knew to lean on the Lord,
I love seeing Mom happy like this, it’s such a contrast to the way she looked just a couple of years ago, worn down, like she was ready to give in, but now she is so full of life, so full of love Mom. I know that is in thanks to you. You have blessed my Mom and Kenny so much, and in turn you have blessed me. I love seeing my Mom happy, she deserves to be happy, she deserves to feel the fullness of your joy, and of what you have to offer in life. You blessed her with financial success early on, but even then she felt lost after my earthly Father left, but you have showed her the way Lord, and I am so glad for that. I know Mom is thankful too, I am sure she tells you that when she lays down at night. She is the one who showed me the importance of always turning to you in both questions and praise. When I am going through a hard time, or celebrating joy she has shown me how important it is to lean on you. I am grateful for that Lord, and grateful for the many blessings in life. Thank you for giving me everything you have given me, but mostly thank you for showing my Mom what it is to truly be happy again. She has had to deal with so much, she certainly deserves this, and you have blessed her with Joy. You are so awesome.
I was grateful for the joy that filled the restroom as we ate our dinners. Mom’s joy and enthusiasm was contagious, and that was definitely a good thing. I could not help but feel it, the mood was light, perfect for celebrating and we were celebrating, we were celebrating Mom’s impending wedding. Mom deserved this wedding, she deserved this joy and it did my heart good to see her so happy. I knew it did us all good to see her happy.
“I feel like I am living a fairytale.” Mom admitted.
“Well maybe in a way you are Mom. Actually what you are experiencing is better than any fairytale, you are experiencing the joy that only the Lord can bless you with.”
“That’s the truth Sienna. I love you. Thank you.”
“What are you thanking me for Mom?”
“For being the daughter you are, for encouraging me not to give up on love. I have a lot of reason to thank you Sienna.”
“Mom I owe you more than you could ever owe me.”
“it’s not about owing one another sweetie, it’s about being thankful, and I am thankful you are my daughter.”
“I’m thankful your Mother too, I hope you know that.”
“I do sweetie.”
“We are blessed aren’t we Mom?”
“Yes we are Sienna, very blessed. It’s a wonderful thing to serve the Lord.”
I was grateful to have the Mother I had. I could not help but think that God smiled down and picked the perfect Mother for me. Mother may not be perfect, but she did everything she could to live a good Christian life, and I was proud of her. I had a lot of reason to be proud of my Mother, just as she was proud of me. I was glad that we had the close we relationship we had, Mom and I had our disagreements from time to time. I did not know anyone who didn’t, but I knew I could turn to Mom for anything and I was grateful for that. Truth was I had a lot to thank God for, and I prayed I would always realize that. I did not want to take the people in my life or what they did for me for granted. Being hurt had showed me just how important my family and friends were in my life, and it had given me a greater appreciation for the people and the things in life I had been blessed with. After waking up in the hospital being told I would most likely never walk again, I had come to realize that nothing in life was guaranteed, but that there were many blessings in life. I wanted to focus on the blessings.
I am sure some accused me of having some kind of Pollyanna complex, because I always tried to be strong, tried to be happy, but those who knew me new that was not the case. I was strong in the Lord, but I was certainly no Pollyanna. I had my moments of weakness of questions. I didn’t always look at the positive side of things, those I wish I did. I tried not to dwell on the negative either though, so I guess in a way it all balanced out.
There will be moments you feel great, like you can take on the world, but then there will also be moments, when everything comes to light, when you suddenly feel like you are in the midst of grief. It’s okay to grieve, you have lost something, you have lost your ability to walk, but if you let that grief take over then that’s the problem. You will try to be strong, but sometimes even in the happiest of moments, a tinge of sadness may take over, and that is okay. You are allowed to have that, just don’t let that stop you from living and enjoying life.
Thoughts, memories, snippets of the conversations I had with my physical therapist, even the counselors who came into to talk to me after I was hurt, after I was hit by that drunk driver came to mind. I did not know why they were appearing to me as they did, but they were, and I was sure God must have a reason for it.
I guess I need to listen harder, and ask the Lord for direction. I am sure these words are meant to encourage me, I don’t think I understood them at the time as I do now. Maybe that’s why the Lord is why the Lord is reminding me of this now, because he knows I understand better now than I did then. Maybe I just need the encouragement. I don’t know, but thank you Lord for your encouragement, thank you for showing me what you need to show me. You have made me rich Lord in the ways that truly matter, because I am serving you, and you are allowing me to remember the things that will help me.
“Only a few more months Mom, and you will be married.”
“I know sweetie, I am so happy, but I am starting to feel like a nervous school girl. And I haven’t been a school girl in a long time. I am to old to feel like this.”
“Mom you are not old! You are still young, in the prime of your life. I believe God still has a lot in store for you.”
“Me too Sienna. I was just joking. And you are certainly right I don’t feel old, so I must not be old right?”
“That’s the attitude Mom.”
“Thanks sweetie. I love you.”
“Love you too Mom.”
Having a close relationship with my Mom was a real blessing. I may not have an earthly Father who cared, but I had a Mother who did nothing but sacrifice for me. I knew that not everyone was as blessed as I was, not everyone had Mothers who were as strong and as loving as my Mother. When it came to Mothers, my Mom and Aunt Sheila were the best, and I was grateful for them. I owed them so much/
I am sorry for what I did, the way I destroyed your life. I made a stupid decision, I got behind the wheel drunk, and you ended up paying the price. I do not expect you to forgive me, the truth is I can’t forgive myself. I felt sick when I found out you were only fifteen, just a teenager, and I changed your life forever. I do not know why I am writing you this, or why I am writing it now it’s been two years since that day, and I haven’t touched a drop of alcohol since. I am sorry it was you that had to pay for my ignorance, it should have been me.
I had not expected to open my email inbox and find that in there, the truth was though I had forgiven this young man a long time ago. I was not going to allow myself to be consumed with bitterness so forgiveness was my only option. I was glad I had forgiven him, and glad he had learned his lesson. I knew he was in jail, so I did not see the harm in sending him a response back. The truth was I had always thought he was a good person who had just made a stupid mistake.
For a while I was angry at you for what had happened to me, perhaps even consumed with that anger, but not anymore. I forgave you a long time ago, that is not to say I don’t think you did not deserve some kind of punishment. We must all pay for our sins in one way or another, but I am saying I have forgiven you. I am glad you have stayed clean, that makes me happy. I do not know your story, and I am sure you do not fully know mine. My life was changed after you slammed into me, my spinal cord was damaged and I felt for a while my life was over in a sense, but I have had good things happen since the accident too. I understand now that did not mean the end. My faith in Christ has gotten me far. Are you a believer? I hope for your sake you are, because he is the one we truly need to ask forgiveness too, I can forgive you for what happened to me, but only he can give you eternal life, only he can give you the forgiveness you truly need. Perhaps I sound preachy, that is not my intention, I am just sharing with you what has been true for me. I am strong in the Lord, so I can share these things with you.
“You’re really writing him back?” Sienna asked. “I don’t know how you can do it.”
“I just feel like it’s something I need to do My. It seems like the Christian thing to do.”
“Well your stronger than I can be.”
“It’s not like he was out to intentionally hurt me.”
“Sienna he got behind the wheel drunk you were hurt.”
“I know I was My, I will live with that every day, and a year or two ago I could not have imagined doing something like this, but right now I feel like I am strong enough to face him at least via email.”
“You’re stronger than I could ever be.”
“I doubt that My, you are pretty strong yourself.”
“I haven’t been through what you have been through though.”
“And I pray you never are, but you have stood by me through everything, you have remained my best friend throughout our whole lives, even during the times when we were apart and the times when I was hurting. It takes strength to be able to let others lean on you when they can’t find their strength.”
“My I don’t guess, I know.”
“Thank you Sienna, how is it you are always the one doing the encouraging?”
“My, you do more than your fair share, believe me.”
“Well if writing him back is something you want to do, something you need to do, you have my support. I know you don’t need it, but for what it is worth you have it.”
“Thank you My, I am glad that even though you may not understand why I am doing this, you are making an effort to accept it. I appreciate that more than you know.”
“Sienna I am going to try and understand, and if you ever need me, just to talk or whatever you know I am here for you.”
“Yes I do My, thank you. You always have been that has never changed.”
“I pray that I can always be there for you when you need me, if not in body in spirit.”
“Thank you My. I pray I can always be there for you as well, whether in body or in spirit.”
I know it took you courage to write to me, and ask for my forgiveness, rest assured it has been given, but it is not my forgiveness you should be seeking, but the good Lord’s if you have not already done so. I feel the need to reach out to you with the Lord’s love so that is what I am doing. I could not have found the strength to forgive you within myself, so you have no reason to thank me for my forgiveness, but be thankful that I serve a forgiving Lord, the one who died on the cross for our sins. I hope you can see that now, I do not know if you were ever a believer or if you strayed away for a time. The truth is I do not know much about you other than that on that day two summers ago you decided to get behind the wheel drunk and my life was forever changed. I cannot and will not judge you for that one incident though, and I will continue to pray for you.
I truly felt like I was doing the right thing by encouraging this man. He may have changed my life forever, but not all of those changed had been bad. I could not stay full of anger and hate that was just not the way the Lord wanted me to be. I did not want to be consumed like that anyway. I had made a conscious choice to forgive Justin, this man I had never met, not really, but he had definitely impacted my life. I was going to try and focus on the positive changes, not on the fact that I still could not walk at least not very well, and for very long.
“I really do admire you Sienna.”
“My. I admire you too, but I am nothing great.”
“Not everyone has the strength that you do.”
“They could if they learned to lean on the Lord during times of trials.”
“Amen to that.”
You will find strength and courage in your family, your friends, and if you have faith, you will find strength in that as well. I truly believe faith does make a difference. Maybe it is not always a popular belief amongst my colleagues, but I believe it should be.
At the time I had not taken the physical therapists words to heart, though I should have. Instead I was just trying to think about when I would get out of the hospital, now I was able to focus on the positive. I was home now, two years had passed and I had moved on with my life, but the words of encouragement still rung in my ears. I still continued to go to Physical therapy but now I had a found a therapist closer to the college, and I worked out at the college gym. I could not walk far, but I was strong in upper body, and I was grateful for that. I knew I was blessed, my injuries could have been so much worse. Had my injury only been a couple of inches higher, I could have lost my ability to use my arms, and breathe on my own as well. I was grateful that had not been the case. I had to try and look at the positive, not at the negative.
“Sienna if you don’t stay focused you are never going to get your assignment written for creative writing.”
“Actually My. I am done with that. I was just getting lost in thought now.”
“It looked more like you were falling asleep on your paper.”
“I am kind of tired.”
“Get some sleep then Sienna, I am almost done with my homework. I have it covered, I won’t need any of your help and you don’t need mine. You really do look exhausted.”
“I guess I am, with this weekend and staying up late talking to Mom about the wedding and everything, and with all that’s been on my mind, both good and bad I am exhausted.”
“Okay, get some sleep okay.”
“I’ll try My, thank you.”
“You’re welcome. I am going to call it a night soon myself if I spend any more time looking at assignments I am going to go cross eyed.”
“Get some rest, we can always get up in the morning and work on anything we don’t finish. I still have a few math problems, but I am going to wait until the morning. My mind will be a lot sharper with rest.”
“Yeah, I guess you are right.”
Finally my best friend and I both gave into sleep. I somehow managed to change out of my clothes, and into my pajamas as exhausted as I was, but after that, I fell asleep, once again dreaming about the time I had spent in the hospital. I still could not figure out why I was reliving this over and over again in my dreams, but I was. I wouldn’t classify what I was having is nightmares, because I did not feel frightened during or after them, they were more like memories, kind of like my mind was playing old movies or something. I just didn’t like the fact that at times, I would speak out in my sleep and wake up my roommate, and my best friend Myra. It made me more and more glad that I was sharing a room with Myra, not someone who did not know about what happened to me. I did not want someone to think I was a little out there, when the truth was I didn’t know why I was having these dreams.
I struggle to sit up, I never knew something I have been doing since I was three months old could be so difficult, but it was. My body felt strange, like half of it was missing. I do not understand what is happening to me, but I am not really scared either. I don’t know why, but the Lord is giving me a sense that everything is going to be okay.
Lord, why am I having these dreams? Are you trying to tell me something? Do they even come from you? I mean they don’t feel like bad dreams or anything, I actually kind of feel peaceful throughout them, probably more peaceful than I felt at the time I was in the hospital. I don’t understand why my mind keeps taking me back there. I thought I moved on a long time ago, I am happy to be back to living. I have been living my life for two years, proving to others that I can move on. But here I am continuing to have these dreams, dreams I don’t understand and I didn’t have dreams like this even right after the accident. There must be a reason I am having them now, help me to understand.
I get frustrated at the things I cannot do. I try not to, I just want everything to be the way it was before the accident. That’s not to be though, no matter what things have changed. I cannot dwell on that, when I let the fear take over I am lost, I am angry, I cry out, but when I let the Lord have it all I feel more secure in myself. I can see that I am going to make it, I believe in miracles. I want to believe in miracles, without miracles where would we be?
“Another dream?” Myra asked. I had woke her up, and I felt bad for doing so, despite the fact I could not help it. I had not intentionally had the dream and spoken out.
“Yeah I am sorry. I really feel bad for waking you.”
“Don’t be sorry Sienna, I know you are not doing it on purpose. Besides I was more worried about you anyway. Are you okay?”
“Yeah I am, I just don’t know why I keep having these dreams, these memories. Maybe because I didn’t really allow myself to deal with the grief? I mean in a way I did, but maybe that was not enough?”
“I don’t know Sienna, that could be it. I cannot even pretend to know what’s going on though. I have not been through what you have been through, so I cannot even pretend to understand this. I can’t understand any of it.”
“My, I am glad you haven’t been through, what I have. I wouldn’t wish this on anyone. But I am grateful you have made an effort to understand what I am going through. You are a great friend My, don’t you ever forget that.”
“Thank you Sienna. I try.”
“I know you do My, and I appreciate that. I appreciate everything you do.”
Lord I am so grateful for everything you have done in my life. I know I am blessed by the many things you have given me. I ask for your continued blessings, and I ask that you continue to give me the strength I need to get through each day. You have blessed me in so many awesome ways, I am rich in the ways that truly matter and I am more than grateful for that. I am more than grateful for everything you have done in my life. My family, my friends, they are all real blessings to me.
I had many blessings more blessings than I could count. I knew that, although I must admit there were times when I really didn’t take the time to count the blessings. I got so wrapped up in the drama that I did not take the time to see the beauty in life. I tried not to get like that, but sometimes the flesh got in the way of the spirit. I tried not to have to many times like that though, because I knew I had many blessings. God’s blessings, God’s hand was amazing and I thanked him every day for that fact. I had a lot to be thankful for.
I was not perfect, nor would I ever claim to be only the man who died for me was perfect. Christ was the only one who lived, and died a sinless life. He had been tempted but he nee gave into those temptations and the truth was I found that amazing. Jesus had died a sinless life, and I was grateful that he had took the price of our sins, when he died on the cross. He did not have to die on that cross, but he did to pay the cost of our sins. It was truly amazing that the good Lord could do something like that for us, that God could send his only son to die for us.
It’s going to take time for you to gain strength, but you will do it. Don’t give up, even the simplest tasks may seem difficult at first, but it’s not always going to be that way. Things may always take a little more effort than they did before your injury, but it’s not always going to be so difficult. You will find the strength you need to get everything done you need to get done, if you simply look within yourself. You are strong, stronger than you realize, even though at this moment you may not feel that way.
The therapist had been right when she said that, of course she knew what she was talking about, she had dealt with many patients in my situation, some far worse off than I was. I knew that I had to be grateful for what I had I had to be strong for those who could not be strong. The good Lord was going to get me through this. I knew that I could turn to the Lord for everything. I knew the good Lord had helped me through this, and I was grateful for that.
Truth was I had a lot to be thankful for, and I was going to do my best to deserve the joy he gave me. The truth was no matter how good I was though, how long I live I could not do enough to deserve all he had done for me, but I could certainly try and lead a good Christian life, and that was what I intended to do, lead the best Christian life I could. I could not help but sing the Lord my praises.
I struggled, relearning the simplest of things. Even taking care of my personal needs, had proved challenging at first, but when those challenges past, I felt a sense of joy. I found myself smiling, even as I looked back at how I had taken things for granted before my injuries. In a very real way my eyes had been opened, I had come to realize that nothing was guaranteed.
“I don’t know how you can keep up with classes with your head in the clouds lately Sienna. You have had so much on your mind lately.”
“I know My, but with the grace of God, when I am focusing on classes I am able to do that. It’s when I am not busy, that these flashbacks come to me. I guess you would call them flashbacks, I really don’t know how to describe them. I just can’t make sense of why they are coming now, and I have prayed on the matter.”
“I will be praying you get the answers you seek, and that you understand why this is happening to you, I will be praying that you start to see why God is allowing you to remember these things now. I am sure he has a reason, he always does, even if we may not always understand it.”
“Amen to that Sister.”
I felt better about everything after talking to Myra. She still had a way of encouraging me, and I her. I prayed this friendship would always be as strong as it was now. No matter what happened in my life, I believed that Myra and I would always be my best friend. God had intended it that way, I was sure of it. We had encouraged one another on a daily basis, and I was sure that would continue. Even when Myra was living in Georgia for two years prior to the accident, we had remained close, encouraging on another through text messages, and IM conversations, and plenty of long distance phone calls. If we were not meant to be lifelong friends I could not see that friendship standing the test of time and distance the way he did, and the Lord knew I was going to need Myra after the injury so he sent her back my way. I was glad that he had saw it fit, to have her and Aunt Sheila move back, I knew they had done it for me, and for Mom and I was thankful for that. We may not have been blood kin, but we were family in a way that truly mattered and I was thankful for that. I could not ask for a better family, Myra was like a sister to me, and that would never change. I could not help but look back at all the times we had celebrated together, grieved together, laughed together, cried together, that in itself was the true test of friendship.
“Sienna do you ever feel bad, because you don’t have a Daddy?” Myra had asked one day when we were in the first grade.
“Sometimes I do, I wish I had a Daddy to play with me, to teach me things.”
“Me too sometimes, but I love my Mom.”
“I do too, she’s better than some old Daddy any day.”
“Yeah I think so too.”
“Sienna do you want to come over to my house and play after school. Mommy can call your Mom, I bet they will say yes. It’s the weekend maybe we could even have a sleep over.”
“That would be fun Myra, I bet Mommy will say yes. She says we are a good fluence on each other, I don’t know what that means, but it must be good, cuz Mom smiles when she says it.”
“Good, we will have fun, I have some new Barbies.”
“Me too, I will ask Mom if I can bring them, and the Barbie Car.”
I smiled at the memory of a childhood day long gone. I could not help but smile at the pleasant memory and there were many more like that. Of course like everyone else we had our disagreements, but that was the way it was with people, as close as you were with someone you were not going to get along with them a hundred percent of the time. There were of course going to be times when you just needed to be with yourself and that was okay. The fact was there was nothing wrong with needing time to yourself just as there was nothing wrong with asking for help when you truly needed it. I had learned that lesson in a very real way, and I was thankful that I understood now that being able to ask for help when you truly needed it did not make you weak. In fact being able to admit when you needed help probably made you stronger than most. It took strength to admit you had weakness at least that is what I was growing to believe.
Thank you Lord for what you have given me. I am looking forward for all you have done. You are great Lord, and you have done great things in my life. I appreciate the wonders and the glories of you Lord. May I continue to feel your blessings, thank you Lord and I praise you for all you have done.
If you have a good support system, family and friends who truly care that will make a big difference. I will of course be here if you need to talk, once you leave the hospital it does not mean our relationship has to end. You will continue to face challenges, but you have the tools to overcome those challenges, you will do great if you realize that, and if you realize that there is nothing wrong with grieving from time to time, it is when you let that grief over take and you do not move on with your life, then you will face the trouble. I have complete faith in your ability though. Do not forget you have people who care about you, some are not as blessed. I have had patients, who were literally alone in the hospital and when they left, you have family who comes to see you all the time. You should really count yourself as blessed. It is hard for some loved ones to face what has happened but your family they just move on and offer you the support you need, that is truly a blessing for you.
“Sorry Myra, what were you saying?”
“Sienna, we need to get to Creative writing or we are going to be late.”
I loved the Creative Writing class, the professor was strict but fair, and in college I had expected to deal with strict professors. She did not show favoritism though, and she gave us all equal opportunities I loved the fact that in college I was treated no differently than anyone else. An equal amount of work was expected out of me as it was my classmates. The fact that I was in a chair, did not lead others to treat me differently and I preferred not to be treated differently, so I was truly grateful for that. I was grateful that I was giving equal opportunity to do well, or not to do so well on my own merits. I was thankful for the opportunity to prove myself not to be judged by the fact that I could not walk, at least not very well yet. I believed I would gain strength and be more confident in my ability someday, but that day had not yet come. I was just going to do my best to prove myself academically, because the sad thing was, some people tend to think that just because someone was in a chair, just because someone’s legs did not work properly somehow that meant their brains were also damaged, and in my case, as well as many others that was far from the truth. My spinal cord had been damaged, but I was still intelligent, able to learn, and do all the things academically that I had done before. The only thing I could not do was walk normally or run.
College gave me an opportunity to prove myself not so much to others, but to myself. It gave me the hope for a good future, and I truly believed that I was going to find success, maybe not in the sense some saw it though I wanted to do well financially more than that I wanted to show the others that with the Lord, you could know true joy and true success, and I believed I was already doing that. I had done that the day I had taken those first awkward steps at graduation, steps I was never supposed to take, and I prayed I was proving it now. I truly wanted to be a testimony to others, I wanted to show them the power of Christ’s love, and that was what I was aiming to do, God worked in mysterious ways, my life and all I had been through was proof of that, as well as proof of his ability to bless us when we needed to be blessed. If we accepted Christ, then he would continue to let his blessings fall down on us, the thought alone brought a smile to my face, and joy to my heart.
“I think I am going to write about the accident, and what I went through for this assignment.” I told Myra. “I mean the professor wants us to take an invent in our lives, that taught us something and write about it, this was the hardest lesson I ever learned.”
“I think you will do great with that, I was going to ask if I could write about that as well, I mean it wasn’t my injury, but what happened to you, certainly opened my eyes some, and changed my thinking about some things. First of all I no longer feel the need to pity everyone in a wheelchair, because I know that is usually not something they want. I guess none of us want to go through life, having everyone throw us a pity party constantly.”
“I have no problems with you writing about that, if the professor is okay with it, I am. You are right, what happened to me, did affect everyone around me. I am sure at times I was not the most pleasant person to be around, especially right after the accident, when I was still coming to grips with everything. Still you guys stood by my side.”
“I am glad we could be there for you Sienna. There was no way I could stay in Georgia, while your world was turned upside down, Mom understood that, so we moved back.”
“I will forever be thankful that you and Aunt Sheila did that. I know that moving is never easy.”
“Truth be told I was glad to come back. I really didn’t have a lot of friends in Georgia, and my best friend was here in California, that is where I belonged. This is where I wanted to be, and I wanted us to graduate high school together. We had been talking about that since we were little girls.”
“I know I can remember many conversations like that, and talking about what we were going to do in the future.”
Lord thank you for sending my friend back to me when you did, thank you for allowing us to realize so many of our dreams. I know we are still young and you are going to continue to work in our lives, I thank you for everything you have done, and continue to do. I know I thank you often, but still that is not enough. I know also that you enjoy hearing from us, and it hurts your heart when we stray, so Lord I ask that you keep me on the path, on the straight and narrow path, thank you Lord for everything you have done. I love you, and I praise you.
“We had a lot of dreams when we were younger didn’t we Sienna, some were just silly, but others we have watched come true , that is amazing.”
“It is and it’s amazing how God works.”
“No arguments there Sienna.”
“I didn’t think there would be.” I said jokingly, smiling at my best friend.
“You’re a regular comedian aren’t you?” Myra joked back.
“I try to be.”
“My only advice is to not to seek out a career in comedy, you’re better off as a writer.”
“Thanks a lot.” I teased back.
I loved the gentle banter between Myra and I. I was glad that we had the closeness where we could do that. We could joke around without taking each other seriously. Even if we tried to keep a straight face when we were joking we always managed to tell, and we never intentionally hurt each other by what we said. Although there had been times when what we said sounded thoughtless and hurtful in retrospect. I was glad that we could always forgive though, that was the good thing about having a best friend, you could mess up, and be forgiven. I was blessed to have a best friend who would forgive me and of course I would forgive her when she did me wrong.
“You know I was only joking.”
“I know My, it’s okay. I wasn’t taking what you said to heart don’t worry.”
“Good, now we must really must get going or we are going to be late. If we keep on like this, we will miss class all together, and I doubt either one of us want to do that.”
“No we don’t, you are right about that.”
“Well I suggest we stop talking and get going then.”
“Alright I can take a hint. I’ll shut up.”
“Sienna that’s not what I meant and you know it.”
“I know My, I guess that did kind of sound snappy. Ready for class?”
We all have moments in our lives that change us, perhaps for small ways, but there are moments that change us in big ways as well. After my injury I realize just how quickly life could change. I learned the hard way that you could not take even the simplest things for granted. I had learned my life doing things that I had not really thought about doing, sitting up, walking, taking care of daily needs, but after the accident I had come to realize just how many of those things I had taken for granted. I mean you do not really think about how blessed you are to be able to do those things, until they become either a struggle or impossible for you. It took me nearly losing everything to appreciate what I had. I am not talking about monetary things, those are easily replaceable, but the things that make you, you. The way you walk, the way you talk, little things that are not so little when you come down to it. A babies first steps, a baby’s first words are not little things in the eyes of a parent, and walking is not something to take for granted if you have lost the ability to do so.
“It looks like you get a good start on your paper.”
“Yeah I think I do Myra, how is your paper coming along?”
“Slow but sure, I want to get everything done just perfectly.”
“Just get the words down, and then worry about perfection later. If you don’t get the words down when they are fresh, you may never get them down.”
“I guess you’re right about that.”
“I know I am, and I know you will do great on this assignment as well.”
“I wish I had the faith in myself that you have in me.”
“My, you are a good writer, this class should be a breeze for you.”
“Not as good as you, besides I don’t want to get anything wrong in this assignment, I am writing about something that happened to you, what if it turns out to sound different.”
“My, it is going to sound different, everyone perceives things differently, interprets them differently, and that’s okay, as long as you get the facts right, you will do great. I have complete faith in your ability.”
“Thanks Sienna. You are a good friend, and a good encouragement. I am glad for everything you have done for me. I am blessed to have you for a friend.”
“I am blessed to have you for a friend too My. I count that blessing every day.”
Lord you are so good to me, I thank you for that. I know I have not done anything to deserve your goodness, but you still bless me with it, and I am so thankful. I am so blessed Lord, and it’s all because you have done so many wonderful things in my life, and you continue to do so. I love you lord, and I praise you for my many blessings. I thank you for giving me a best friend in Myra, and for giving us each other. I was going to count my blessings and thank the Lord for everything he had done for me. I could do no less than that for you Lord.
“If you need any help with your paper let me know.” I told Myra.
“I will believe me, if I need help with anything to do with creative writing, you will be the first person I turn to. You are very gifted.”
“Thanks Sienna, I thank God for the ability to write, I may not be anything great right now, but the Lord has given me the desire.”
“Sienna you have always been a great writer, I wish I had your talent.”
“My, you are very talented, don’t you ever forget that.”
“Okay Sienna, I will try not to. I guess the Lord has blessed us both.”
“He blesses us all if we chose to look at the good in life as a blessing. Some do not give the Lord the credit he deserves though, and I found that very sad. I would not want to go through life not thanking the Lord. I would not want to forget to acknowledge his blessings.”
“Me either Sienna.”
“It’s sad for those who do not believe.”
“I feel the same way, you will hear no arguments from me.”
“I didn’t expect to.”
I learned a lot about fighting and the will to live after my injury. I was not on deaths door, by any means, though it could have been that way, but I did see others struggling simply to survive. I saw people whose injuries were far worse than mind, who still managed to muster up a small, or a simple hello, something that may not have seemed like much, but it was something, it was everything to those who no longer had the strength to say simple words. I saw patients, whose injuries were so far worse than mind, but worse than that I saw patients who had less severe injuries than mine, who simply gave up. I found that to be the saddest of all. When I even entertained the thought of giving up, of throwing the towel in so to speak, I remembered these sad souls, and decided I was not going to allow myself to get like that. I could live a good life, if I allowed myself that, and I was going to allow myself that. I owed it to myself and to those I cared about to reach my full potential, to let the fullness of my ability to shine through. I no more had to be defined by my injury, than I had to be defined by the color of my hair. I was a person first and foremost, my disability did not have to define me, and I was not going to let it.
“I like what you’ve written so far Sienna.”
“Thank you Myra. I appreciate that.”
“No problem, I know it must be hard for you to write about what happened.”
“It’s surprisingly less hard than you could imagine. I am just letting the words and the emotions flow, and sometimes I feel a tinge of sadness, but you know what, positive did come out of what happened to me too. I remind myself of that daily.”
“It certainly gave you a great inner strength, you have always been strong, but I think going through the injury, being in the hospital, and the months of rehab and recover made you even stronger than you were before.”
“I don’t know about that, but I am thankful for the strength I was given to get through it, and I am thankful for those people who whispered or shouted prayers for me when I was too weak to pray for myself. I had plenty of moments like that. I may have hid them well, but I had them. I am sure you and Mom, and Aunt Sheila saw through it.”
“Not always Sienna, you did a good job of hiding it, but I knew you needed us no matter how strong you pretended to be, and we needed you too. I was not going to let you give up on life, on your dreams, because we had shared those dreams our whole lives, from the time we were in preschool, and I was not going to let you give up on them. I also could not have gotten as far as I have without you.”
“My, you don’t give yourself enough credit, you would have done just fine without me but I am glad we have each other. I could not imagine life without a best friend, a best friend like you. I know in this day and age a friendship like ours that stands the test of time and tragedy is rare, but here we are grown up, away at college, and still best friends.”
“I know that’s a God thing. God has allowed us to weather all the storms, leaning on him, and leaning on each other.”
“Amen to that.”
I went back to my paper, trying to put into words the way my life had been changed by that drunk driver. I was going to write about learning to cope with being told you would most likely never walk again when you were only fifteen, the frustration I felt over not being able to do even the simplest things for myself at first, and the joy I felt with each accomplishment. I would also write about how I learned the power of forgiveness, when I forgave the man who was driving drunk and hit me while I was crossing the street in the crosswalk that summer day. I could not describe everything of course, a thousand pages would not be enough to put all the feelings, as jumbled as they may be down, but I could give people the idea of how my life changed. I could also show people how I grew up and matured after the accident. I had become more sympathetic to others plights, and more willing to do something when I saw someone wronging someone else. I was by no means out to be self-righteous. I knew everything I had, I had because the Lord had given it to me, and I could thank God for that. I had a lot to thank God for, and I would thank him for it daily. I was so glad for everything that he had done in my life, and I was going to do my best to put that on paper. I was in college now, more free to express my feelings, my beliefs. Still I knew I would face some who did not believe as I did, and they would do anything in their power to discredit my beliefs, but I had no reason to question God’s ability or power. I had seen what he had done in my life, and I was a testimony to others at just what wonderful ways God worked. It made me sad to think that some thought science and education discredited God’s existence , when it did just the opposite, if anything the miracle of life proved it.
I was glad for the faith I had, because if I had gone through life as an unbeliever I would not have made it through the injury as well as I had. I would not have been as strong as I was. I was strong only because I had known to lean on the Lord, and I was thankful that I had come to that knowledge at a fairly young age, when others went through life searching. I was grateful I had found what so many had spent their entire lives for, not realizing that what they were looking for could be found in their heart if they only opened it up and let Christ in. I knew that for some they went through life, just being angry at the world, because they did not see the beauty that surrounded them. They instead only chose to see the evil in the world and not the good things the good Lord created. We were not perfect people but If we served the perfect Lord we would go through life much happier, certainly less lost. I was glad for my faith, glad for what I believed, because that faith, the good Lord had got me through the toughest time in my life. A time I could not have gotten through without that faith, that knowledge that I served a sovereign Lord.
You do not go through life without your share of challenges, the fact is we all have them. We all have those moments that are marked in our memories forever, when something changed, when we came to some realization. We have those moments when we know that the event we are experiencing is going to change us for the good or for the bad, I had come to the realization when I was lying in a hospital bed, deciding whether I was going to let this beat me, or if I was going to defy the odds. I was not going to become another sad statistic of a victim of a drunk driver. The fact is I no longer really see myself as a victim, that is not something I want to brand myself with. I am a survivor though, because the Lord has given me the ability to survive this, and I had to choose to survive. I do not see myself as a victim, I am a survivor, because the Lord has allowed me to survive something that could have easily killed me. I learned that lesson in the hospital as well, and I was thankful for that.
“I feel like I am rambling on in places.” I told Myra. As we both sat working on our paper.
“I don’t think you are, but like you told me, just say what you have to say, and then worry about narrowing it down, and cutting out the parts that are redundant later. This is only our first draft, she just wants to see that we have a good start on it.”
“Your right Myra. You are absolutely right, thank you.”
Myra and I worked on our papers in silence for a while, interrupting the silence only when she had a question about how I remembered something about the accident, or to grab a bite to eat. We both just decided after a few hours to put our assignments away for a while and go out for pizza. Other than going home on the weekends our lives pretty much had revolved around the campus for the past few weeks, and getting out even if it was only to the little pizza place we had seen down the street would do us good. Maybe we would meet some other college students there, but even if we didn’t that would be fine. Getting out of the dorm was going to welcomed to both Myra and I. We needed a break, and we were going to take it.
We really did need a change of scenery, and to get our nose out of our books and papers for a while, Myra and I were both getting tired, not so much physically but mentally, and we needed to do something that didn’t involve academics even if it were only for a couple of hours. If we worked without a break, we would both experience burn out and I did not want that for me or for my best friend. Maybe after having Pizza we could go to the mall and get some new clothes, or something. I could pick out a present for Mom’s wedding, something, anything that kept our mind off of classes for a short time at least. I figured we would be much more clear headed if we allowed ourselves a break.
“I think getting out and getting a break is a good idea, thank you for suggesting it Sienna. My eyes were starting to cross staring at these papers for so long.”
“I know the feeling, we could go get a pizza, and then go the mall, we should really start thinking about a wedding gift for my Mom, spring will be here before you know it.”
“I know. I think it’s so romantic that your Mom and Kenny are having a spring wedding, flowers are in bloom, spring in in the air.”
“Yeah I am so happy for Mom, she deserves this.”
“I am happy for her too, we all are. It’s great and you are right your Mom does deserve this.”
“Do you think your Mom will ever remarry?”
“I don’t know if the right person came along I think she would, but so far that hasn’t happy. I don’t care either way as long as my Mom is happy.”
“I agree Myra, both our Mothers deserve to be happy. They have been through so much and still have always been there for us.”
“Yes they have, we are certainly blessed in that way.”
“I know we are.”