It was senior year and I had just cam back from an unreal school retreat called Kairos. It was one of the best experiences of my life and where I first learned that talking to and listening other people is one of the best things in the world. I had a chance for the first time in my life to talk about all the things I kept bottled inside and I help other by just listening. One of the leaders on the retreat was Beth. She was someone form school that was just an acquaintance, someone I would say hi to and nothing more. Each leader had to give a speech about their lives and about how the over came a problem or obstacle. Hers was one of two speeches I could really relate to.
She was quiet and the daughter of the principal of our high school. Her speech had been about when she had gotten very sick and missed a year of school. She had told us how alone she felt so alone and she closed her self away from everyone around her. She said that she was just finally beginning to feel loved again by her family and friends. I know how this felt because I had really no friends the two years prior in middle school. Thats why when my dad suggestion I go to a private school I was open to trying it out.
After we had gotten back from the retreat Beth and I continued to talk on a regular basis. We talk about how she felt on a day-to-day basis and I told her about my car accident. Thats another story. As it turns out she had never gotten better and was just hiding how she really felt. She would talk and would sit in amazement of what she had to say.
She was seriously depressed and that was just the beginning. We talk about how she felt alone all the time even in a room of friends, how she sat up at night and wonder if anyone would care if she was dead, and about how she cut herself. The Physical pain was a way to escape the emotional pain is what she told me. She was anorexic and bulimic. She was 54 100 and disgusted with how she looked. She had a therapist that she went to every week so my only comfort lied in the fact that she was talking to a professional who could help her. It was one of the saddest things I had ever seen, how could one person have that low an opinion of them self.
This had been going on for a while and it began to weigh on me more and more. This is when her father approached me. He told me that she had been telling the therapist nothing and that I was the only one she confided in. She fell more and more into depression. She refused to talk to anyone but me. As she fell deeper and deeper the cutting became worse and so did the eating disorder. It became extremely unsafe to leave her alone, problem was both of her parents worked until 5 and school got out at two twenty. The weird part was that her father never took it seriously but had no problem leaving me to watch her after school. It forced me to miss track almost every day. The idea that suicide was the easier way out of life began to come up in or talks form time to time, more and more frequently. The more I told her dad the more she became suspicious, but her never seem to do anything about it.
It was a lot of stress for me but it wasnt just directly from the Beth. I had begun to stay up at school with her later. I could not leave her alone if she was contemplating suicide. The problem was that I would tell my parents but they never believed me when it came to the seriousness of what was going on. It got worse; it seemed like every time I walked in the door there was an argument waiting. My house became a placed I didnt want to be, and this only added to the stress. It all culminated in one huge fight, in which I yelled at them saying you dont know what it like to have some say that their life is worthless or to know that everything I did with her and said to her could make a difference on whether see lives or dies. How could I be responsible for someone elses life I was a senior in high school?
They told me that it wouldnt be my fault if that happened, but it didnt matter what they said, because I knew how I would feel if she killed herself. I was the only one she talked to, not her parents, not the therapist, just me.
For the longest time I felt like I was the only one who was doing anything because her dad never helped. It was the only thing I thought about. She told me one day, as we sat in the chapel at school that she was taking pills and wouldnt tell me what they were. Later that day she called me and told me that she had taken twenty of them. I didnt know what to do. Actually I did know what I had to do but it wasnt going to be easy. I had to call her dad and tell her. Imagine having to call the principal of your school and tell him his daughter took twenty pills earlier that day and you were the only one she told.
He was so cold about it. He answered me like I had just told him that she was fine. I was scared and furious at the same time. How could he not care? How could he leave this on me the way he did? I didnt know what to do or what to think and I had no one to turn to.
So like any normal teenager I just kept in all inside of me. I walk around school with a blank look on my face, think about all the times I didnt know what to do or say, about the cuts on her wrists and how I when to bed most night after screaming at my parents and crying because they just didnt understand. They only people that I talked to about her going on were my girlfriend and a teacher friend that I was close to. That never helped when I was alone with her and she was crying about how she hated life and felt empty.
I guess it finally go through to her dad that there was something wrong and so he decided to commit her to a hospital that treated people like her. The problem was that he had to meet with a doctor from the hospital at his house before they could do anything. So she needed to be kept out of the house for a whole night. He expected me to take out for the night while they plan how to go about getting her there. The problem was she didnt want to go out. I ended up getting her in the car and a couple of friends of mine were going to a pizza place up north of us is I figured this was good because she wouldnt make a scene in front of them. I was wrong she cried the whole way up saying all she wanted to do was go home. She tried to get out of the car when we pulled up to a stoplight.
She seemed to become quieter as we drove. So when she asked to stop at a bathroom at one of the rest stops along the way I said no problem. When we stopped she sprinted out of the car and ran to the pay phone. By the time I caught her she broken down crying say she just wanted to get away and never come back and that life wasnt worth living. We got her back in the car and when to eat. The rest of the night was rather uneventful by my standards. She ended up going to the hospital later that week but not before she read a note on her father desk that said 20 pills and the date she took them. She called me to inquire about how he knew because I was the only on she told. I had no answer that she wanted to hear. She ended the conversation by saying I not only ruined her life but her relationship with her parents or what was left of one. She to never talked to me the same way again, or at all for the first couple of months. The hospital never helped, she escaped twice and then her dad took her out.
From then I seem to be looking in from the outside. She never told me anything and her father never talked tome either. He never told me what was going on when I asked, he never told me he was taking her out of the hospital. She still emails me from time to time about what she is doing but it is never the same. I will never be the same. It at least once a day I think maybe I could have done more, I try to reassure my self about the good I did do but that doesnt always help. She is not better, maybe never will be but for all the stress it cause me I would go through it all again in a second if I thought I could help her or any of my friends.
Nature is relaxing and Driving will never be the same!
This one is a little religious. This is one time I felt god in my life.
I remember the first time I really felt Gods presence was with me because it really wasnt that long ago. My family goes on vacation to Vermont every year. Its a tradition, and my favorite place in the world to be. My mothers whole side of the family stays in one big house on Lake Champlain. I get to spend time with relatives that I hardly ever get to see, whether its playing a board game with my grandparents or teaching my cousin how to fish, we even eat every meal together. I love it there but last summer it wasnt the wonderful experience it usually is.
My great aunt owns a house about twenty five miles from the home that we rent and she offered to drive my girlfriend, at the time, back to New Jersey so that I could spend some time with just the family. Everything went smoothly that morning before we left. I got up and had put all the bags in the car and we were on our way before 8am. It is beautiful countryside and always a joy to drive. The road followed the shoreline from our house all the way to my aunts. Around every turn and over every hill was a picturesque view of the lake with the green mountains of New York rising up behind it. I remember the last hill that I drove over in my dads Volvo. It rose up on a gradual incline and when you rode back down the other side you saw a huge farm house and a vast amount of fields that were right on the waters edge. As I drove close to the farm the road curved around a bend making it ran parallel to the lake. It was on this curve that I swerved off the road and lost control of the car.
When everything stopped moving, the car was upside down and off the road in a ditch. The whole accident seemed to go in slow motion. I remember cutting the wheel to hard and the car starting to spin out toward the left. It kept turning until it was totally perpendicular to the road. Thats when it started to lean. It seemed like five minutes even though it was only seconds, if that. The car leaned over more and more. I remember seeing all my dads thing fly towards my side of the car. I remember the bang when the door on my side hit the pavement. I remember feeling the pieces of glass hit the side of my face when my window and the windshield shattered. It kept going all the way over. The seats belt pulled me in to the seat as my weight wanted to go towards the windshield and ceiling. Off the road it went and down a small hill and nearly into a little steam bed that was about ten feet father down the road. When we came to a stop upside down, the car had flipped one and a half times. I dont know how long I sat there with my seat belt holding me in the air but I know it only took a second for me to hit the ceiling when I popped the latch on the belt buckle. I fell to the ground headfirst and once I had turned right side up I kicked the passenger door open because the ground jammed it in. I unbuckled Dinas belt and we both crawled out of the totally destroyed vehicle. I got up and walked around the car. It was bad; the whole car was disfigured on all sides by the impact with the road. I didnt even know what to do. We both appeared ok, but the car was done.
My aunts house was still 8 miles away and I didnt want to leave the car. So we waited. After a couple of minutes a passing car stopped by to see what had happened. The driver offered to take us to my aunts house and he told me to leave my name and number on the car in case a police officer came by. When we got to my aunts house I was in shock. It had finally hit me what had happened and then I had to call my dad and tell him what had happened. I had to tell him I had gotten in an accident and I had wrecked the car he loved so much. I couldnt really, all I managed to get out was we got in an accident and all I could do was cry. My uncle drove us back to the car to meet my dad. By now there were police there and a whole bunch of cars stopped. The first thing that the officer said to me was I cant believe you just walked out of there, if you werent wearing a seat belt and that wasnt as safe a car as it was you probably would be dead. That hit hard. I didnt know what to say. So he told me to go back to the car and get the Insurance card and registration for the accident report. When I reached in through the space that used to be the windshield I cut my forearm all the way from my wrist to my elbow. It was deep, extending from my wrist to my elbow. I went back to the officer and handed him the cards and went to see my parents. They were really worried. All they kept saying was are you ok, do you need anything. I was nice to see that they cared so much but that didnt take away from the awful feeling I had about wrecking the family car. We took Dina to the hospital just to get checked out. She was in for 2 hours or so and this gave me time to think the situation over in the hospital waiting room. I thought about how disappointed my parents must have been in me for the loss of the car. I thought about how I had almost killed myself and another person. That was what hurt the most. I thought about what would have happened if we had not been wearing our seat belts. What if she had been seriously hurt or even killed. That weighed on my mind and still does, every time I start my car and drive my sister to school. Its like she is entrusting her life to me each time I drive and in Vermont that year I hadn't taken care of my responsibilities.
My girlfriend went home and I stayed with my family for another couple of days. I never left my room. I couldnt sleep because all I kept thinking about was what if one us died. What if it was me? What would I miss? How would my life have gone and how would my family have been? What if it was her? What would I tell her parents? What would I have inadvertently taken away from her before she even had a chance? Would I ever forgive myself? Then My parents, what where they thinking, my dad was already stressed about a promotion he might not get, what would this do to him, could we get a new car? Would they ever forgive me? This kept me awake at night and in my room all during the day. The day came when we had to go home. I had never been scared to get in a car in my life but I was petrified. I got an unpleasant feeling in my stomach every time we went around turn or sped up. We got home but nothing changed. Those questions were still in my mind along with a few more that I came up with on the way home. Where was god? Why would he let this happen to me? Why did this all have to happen this way anyway what did I do? This bothered me all day and every night even after we came home. Soccer had started and when I went back to practice every one wanted to know how I was and the whole story. I had to relive the accident every time I saw someone for the first time since I left. It was hard to take I felt worse and worse every time. It felt like god had totally left me. It was like he wasnt watching or didnt care. I had no desire to ever go to church or pray ever again.
This was a bad feeling to have to walk around with. Then while I was at soccer practiced, about two weeks after I had gotten home, my friend Aaron asked what happen to my arm? I looked down at my forearm to see the scrape I had gotten from getting the registration out of my car. As I told him that it was from my car accident. It hit me right then and there, I walked away from something I probably shouldnt have with nothing but a little scratch on my arm. I finally began to see the experience in a new light. I have a story I want to share with you that I can really relate to my whole experience:
One night a man had a dream. He dreamed he was walking along the beach with the LORD. Across the sky flashed scenes from his life. For each scene he noticed two sets of footprints in the sand: one belonging to him, and the other to the LORD.
When the last scene of his life flashed before him, he looked back at the footprints in the sand. He noticed that many times along the path of his life there was only one set of footprints. He also noticed that it happened at the very lowest and saddest times in his life.
This really bothered him and he questioned the LORD about it: LORD, you said that once I decided to follow you, youd walk with me all the way. But I have noticed that during the most troublesome times in my life, there is only one set of footprints. I dont understand why when I needed you most you would leave me.
The LORD replied: My son, my precious child, I love you and I would never leave you. During your time of trial and suffering, when you see only one set of footprints, it was then that I carried you.
Originally I thought that God had left me as did the man in the story but the more I thought about it the more I began to see that he was never more with me than that day in Vermont when it happened. We walked away unharmed. He saved us. I really never wore a seat belt at all, that makes me wonder why then, why would I wear one then if I never did before? Another way I could see God in the experience was the man who stopped and gave us a ride to my aunts. He was her neighbor, and I had met him years ago. I know five people that live in Vermont and on that day, on that rode he was the first one to pass by. I learned that god is never more with then when you need him most. He carried me through a tough time just as he did the man in the story.