Most of you know that on March 12, 2005, my wife and I were involved in a very serious car accident. According to witnesses, I entered an intersection and our Honda Civic was side-swiped by a Dodge Durango doing no less than 50 mph. You can view the results on my blog at:

http://davemcdowell.blogspot.com/2005_03_01_davemcdowell_archive.html

(After clicking, scroll down for the pictures.)

I suffered a fractured ankle and some minor injuries to my knee. My wife suffered some deep bruising. Believe it or not, both of us, even four months after the accident, are still sore. The morning after the accident, once the shock wore off, I began to feel a great amount of guilt. I was waking up at night dreaming about the accident. After trying to return to work a week later, I decided (or should I say my body decided) that I did indeed need more time off than I thought. The doctor ordered me out of work for what was to be a total of six weeks. When all you have is a walking cast on your right foot and you do not have a vehicle, you spend a lot of time alone and at home. The initial guilt wore off. It took some time, but I came to the conclusion that I could not have really controlled what happened. I do not remember why I entered the intersection; I simply remembered the moment of impact. But there were still some nagging questions for me. And many of them were very basic and important questions. The biggest question was, “What if?” If I had died that day on Telegraph Road, what would I have to show for it? I was ashamed to say that my life’s accomplishments had been very small. Most of the first few months of 2005 were spent complaining about my job, complaining about the circumstances of life, and complaining that I felt like I could do nothing about it. I was feeling like I had nothing under my control and the accident only reaffirmed that. I was not enjoying life. I would go to work, come home, sleep, and go to work.
What happened in the next few weeks was that God slowly showed me the importance of life. It is something that I have believed for some time, but now really feel like I possess. Life really is short. God did not give it to us to be wasted and he most certainly did not give it to us to walk around like a curmudgeon and complain all the time. Life is here to be enjoyed. God grants it to us and it is indeed precious.
As God began to open up my heart, I responded by simply letting go of some fear and anxiety and literally and figuratively stepping back up to the mic. Although I immensely enjoyed it, I had given up singing karaoke a few months back for many reasons. I loved to go out and sing and I was told that I am quite good. I guess at the time I believed that other things were more important, so when I quit karaoke, I quit going out, stayed home, and sulked on my couch fretting about how bad my life is. My wife and I were actually on our way to sing karaoke when the accident occurred. I had sunk so low that I ran back to the only thing that I knew that I could control…my voice. What I learned after the accident is that I am never in control. Control is an illusion. God is sovereign…all the time.
After God worked on me for awhile, the time came when I wanted to go out again; I wanted to sing again. I had worked all the mental stuff out in my head and it was time to unleash some pent up emotion. But this time, when I stood up in front of that mic, I knew whose my voice was and let it scream. “I feel angry, I feel helpless,” I sang. “Wanna change the world. I feel violent, I feel alone. Don’t try to change my mind.” All these were emotions that I felt before and after the accident. But I was also quick to sing the chorus: “One, oh one. The only Way is one.” The truth is that I am still a bit angry. I admit it. Things have happened recently and I resist the urge to shout at the sky. I still feel helpless, but in that good way where my trust lies with my Creator rather than myself. I will always want to change the world, but the violence is gone and I know I’m not alone.
So where does this leave me four months later? My love for music has grown and I’ve discovered and rediscovered my love for it. I’ve always been quite eclectic in my taste, but I find myself a sucker for blues guitar. I am singing karaoke as much as I can lately and enjoying it immensely. I actually had someone approach me for studio time last time I sang. It probably will not happen, but it did make me feel quite good. Instead of life looking like an endless parade of challenges, life now looks like an endless parade of possibilities. The taste of optimism is indeed sweet on my tongue.
I received an incredible letter today. It read, “We are pleased to inform you that your file is now complete and that you are officially admitted to Ashland Theological Seminary to pursue the Master of Divinity degree…You will encounter many opportunities and challenges in your studies here at Ashland. We trust that you will grow in many ways—academically, professionally, and spiritually.” I must confess that I did a little jump in the post office (despite my sore ankle) when I read the letter. God has indeed been so good. I can’t wait! In the next few months, Kandice and I will be moving to Ohio.
One of my favorite movies is Dead Poets Society. At the beginning of the meetings, a Henry David Thoreau poem was read which has always inspired me. He says, “I went into the woods because I wanted to live deliberately. I wanted to live deep and suck out all the marrow of life…to put to rout all that was not life; and not, when I came to die, discover that I had not lived.” To look back at my life and think that it may have been for waste and that it had not been lived would indeed be a travesty. I am pressing on to greater things.

Living Deliberately For Him,

Dave McDowell

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