From the Fires of Tragedy Springs Growth

Today is September 11th. Many people remember this day for a pretty good reason as the World Trade Center was senselessly attacked. But, I remember this day for another reason. Six years ago to the day, as I was riding my bicycle I was struck by a van that fled the scene. As I stood waiting at a two-way stop for traffic to clear, the van came from the right and cut the corner too far striking the left side of my body. The damage was severe with both lungs collapsed and every rib broken (except one, lucky rib). I was bleeding internally, externally… everywherernally. I was dying.

Fortunately, EMS came and kept me from dying completely. I still keep in touch with one of my guardian angels who told me that the doctors gave me a 5% chance of survival when they had brought me in to the hospital, one of two trauma centers in Kentucky I happened to live near.

I spent a couple of weeks in the ICU, two more in general admission, and three more in rehabilitation. After all of that, I was antsy to get out but I was still in pretty bad shape. My left shoulder had been separated. Thank goodness my arm stayed attached. My ribs had healed, but they were contorted. When a broken bone heals, it grows back stronger. This is normally a good thing unless you are dealing with ribs. The flexibility of our ribs help us to breathe and a broken rib is less flexible after healing. After breaking every rib (except one, how fortunate) my lung capacity is half what it should be.

Even through the pain, everything seemed better after I left the hospital. I was ALIVE and so grateful to be. You know how good a chocolate sundae is? It seems so much sweeter after such an experience. I felt more connected to nature and to other people than I had ever been before.

From the fires of tragedy sprung growth. I felt the need to try some things I had never done before. I quit my job and began my own business as a wedding DJ. I began to explore new interests or old interests in greater detail. I was more open to saying “yes” to opportunities of new experience and friendships. I tried every last item on the Taco Bell menu (they really only have about seven ingredients after all but I had to verify this for myself). I also became a DJ on Eve Radio with a weekly internet radio show. I placed all of my beliefs and viewpoints into question and have brand new ones (that still remain in question, uncertainty is just too sweet).

Lastly, I improved my music making abilities. Earlier this year, I decided to set a goal to create my first album and I wanted to finish it on this day, to mark the anniversary of my accident. The theme of the album is my own journey starting from before the accident, to it’s survival, the healing process, and the growth that sprang from it. Other than some final touches, I’ve met my goal and I’m in talks with some mastering engineers to get a proper job done on it. Here’s a sample from each of the eight tracks:

Through it all, I knew that the healing process would be hindered by hatred. I don’t know who hit me with their van, whether it was an accident or not, or why they couldn’t see me standing there. I could have hated that anonymous driver, but I chose to forgive. Hatred is a poison to the soul. It can only hold us back and create more negative energy in this world. I’m not saying I’d take the guy out for a beer if we met, but I don’t feel any ill will towards him. If there’s someone you’ve been hating for some time, please try to forgive them and move on.

Look for the album to come out later this year or early next year. My goal is to distribute it freely. I care more about getting a wide listener base than making a few hundred bucks selling it to a smaller one. Peace.