But I can remember the feeling of safety. I can remember and to this day still feel the safety in Steve's voice. The safety I knew I was going to get to. I can remember the darkness.The darkness of the walls. The darkness of the water. The oil seeping into my skin, my hair, my lungs. I can remember the feelings. The hope. The tangible assurance in Steve's voice that God had provided a way of surviving. Of being rescued from my dark, watery compartment. I remember the cautionary way he warned me of all the noise once help had arrived. I can remember the screeching of the metal being cut. The tattoo on the left elbow of one of the fireman, the pendant on the others necklace. I can remember being lifted up, and breathing fresh air.
So many hands holding me secure. Someone taking and saying they would hold onto my little piece of metal. With my legs pulled up to my chest, my eyes remained forward and I looked at our shrimp boat. As the men continued to talk and make whatever kind of transportation arrangements they needed, I watched the water lap over the white letters "Mr. Anthony." Looking up, I recognized the red, white, and blue colors of my grandfather's shrimp boat. Making out three silhouettes, I remember pointing and calling out, "Thats my pawpaw. There he is!" Then it hit me.
The white clouds were gone. The rain had cleared. A deep, blue, the sky was a clear looking glass. The water was absolutely calm. Silently still. A lingering yellowy, orange light told me it was getting to be that perfect time of the day. My favorite time of the day. The moments of the day when the heat had dissipated and it had finally cooled off enough to go throw the softball around, or work on my swing in the backyard. The kind of summer weather where my hair didn't explode into a curly, frizzy mass--well not too badly anyway haha :)
My favorite memories with my dad happened during this perfect early evening stage of the the day. My first deer I shot was during an evening hunt. My first softball practice, game, tournament. Daddy was always one of my favorite and least favorite coach. He'd push me so hard, that I would end up beyond annoyed and ready to just swing my bat at him instead of the softball. Yet, even later when he wasn't coaching me, he was my biggest supporter. Sometimes he was the only parent in the stands, and my teammates loved him all the more for it. Anyways, back to looking around.
From the moment they put me on the next boat and strapped me into the protective seat, I can remember every single person's name. Steve said that my senses were extremely enhanced due to the accident, but even a month later, I feel like they still are. People say near-death experiences make you appreciate life more. Sure, that's true. But what those people really don't understand is what it means to look around more. To notice the things you never thought as relevant before. On the boat ride to the dock where the ambulance was waiting, I remember watching a lone seagull glide through the sky. Just a casual seagull. No big deal. Not like I hadn't seen THOUSANDS of seagulls before in my life. However, this was different. I noticed the way it turned its head from side to side as it was choosing a landing spot. As it settled itself down with poise on a tall piling. I will never forget that sight.
And in the days since the accident. Walking on campus, driving around town, eating dinner with friends, watching the kids get ready for school in the mornings, laughing with my mom. All of the normal, everyday activities that I have done for years, all seem different now, I notice so much more. Details. My mind is often unfocused as it skims from one little detail to the next. Its as if all of my "spidey" senses are completely on point 24/7. I get lost in the scene of things. And I love it. I love thanking God for the little specific things. I love recognizing and giving God those little "I see what you did there, and I love it" moments.
Yes, I appreciate life more. I am more than grateful for what I have been given. But I don't see it as just an appreciation that I have for the gift of life. I see it as a recognition of the life I have been given. Maybe its the fact that I was in almost total darkness for nearly four hours, that now my eyes have become so enraptured with the colors of the world we live in. Maybe its just my way of "appreciating." Maybe its just that I have always noticed nature, and I am more than grateful that I can continue to experience it. Maybe its a combination of these things. But even now, as I look around at the quiet study hall I am sitting in, I believe that the biggest thing I have learned from the accident, is that we should all look around more. Truly observe the world we live in. Recognize the life we have been give. And find your joy in it. Find a joy in everything. Find the joy that God meant for you to experience in this breathtaking world He has created.
May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit. Romans 15;13