August 28, 2001. This date is carved in my memory, even now after 10 years I still remember all the lessons I've learned from that day, the day that has made me a better person, the day that taught me to appreciate life. I never thought I'd share this with anyone, but after ten years, I think I'm ready to share all what I've learned that day, maybe it can be useful to someone. Maybe I'll help someone learn something without all the mess and pain I went through.
It was a car accident, but it wasn't just that, for me, it was the experience of a lifetime. I'll leave all the ugly details of the accident off this post and any other post, there is no need to depress anyone. Let's just say I was in the USA, I had my family with me in the car, and I got seriously injured. I was taken to a hospital all by myself while everyone was taken to another hospital, at that time I didn't remember seeing anyone after the accident. I'll leave how I learned anything out, this is what I learned...
I learned how much God loves us, I used to take this love for granted. But God's love gives a different meaning to life; everyone is religious in their own way on many different levels, but only a few learn to appreciate God's love, and these people are not necessarily the most religious ones. Learning that God loves you makes you a better person, you always know that God will choose what's best for you. It helps you accept the facts because when you love him, you'll know that everything happens for a reason and even if we don't know it at that time, God's decisions are always the right ones. Otherwise it's a test and if it is, then there's something for you to learn from that test. Something that you should forever keep with you. Something to be remembered when the time is right, and when remembered, it's something you should use to be a better person.
To know that you're in safe hands, to say that I'll do this and won't worry because God loves me and got my back is the complete peace of my mind. To know that you can mess up sometimes and he'll forgive you and help you get up again, that's when you know the meaning of life. To love God back, that's the ultimate happiness. To do all your rituals with love, because you want to make God happy, that's when you'll do everything better, you'll be happy to do it, no matter how hard it is. Of course I knew God loved me before, but truth be told, I never thought he loved me that much.
I learned never to be so sure of anything. Always remember that even the unexpected can happen sometimes. That nothing, and I mean nothing, can be for sure. You can believe in things, I mean completely believe in things, but when it comes to knowing, "for sure" won't have a place. When I was in school, a kid used to say "I'm 99% sure, but the 1% can always win" and it does win. I learned to never take anything for granted. I learned that there's no such thing as knowing enough. I learned that I can feel or believe that things in the future will happen, but I can never ever know what's going to happen the next minute. Knowing is different.
The moment I opened my eyes and had a doctor tell me what happened, I said one thing, Elhamdolelah. I don't know where this came from, especially when I was talking to an American doctor who speaks no Arabic. But the comfort of this simple sentence when you really mean it is like you were holding your breath for so long and you were finally able to breathe. Elhamdolelah has so many meanings, it's not as simple as it sounds. You say Elhamdolelah because you thank God that something happened. You say Elhamdolelah because you thought things could've been way worse than they are. You say Elhamdolelah to thank God that something did not happen. You say Elhamdolelah because you want to thank him for the faith he has put in your heart. When you say Elhamdolelah, facts won't change, the world won't turn upside down, life won't suddenly change, you won't go back in time and change what happened. The only thing that changes when you say Elhamdolelah is you, because at that moment, you accept the facts and start to think of how to react to them.
I've learned to have faith, I've learned that in so many ways. My faith at that time made me believe that my family was safe before I saw anyone. I believed that no one died and that belief did not leave me even for one second. Not even when a very stupid doctor told me a story of someone like me whose whole family died. I said mine are fine and smiled, and I meant it. Of course I had my mother call me and tell me that they're all fine, but who would've believed anything without seeing? And to make matters worse, at the time the stupid doctor came to me, I totally blacked out that call, but I still believed. Seriously, doctors' bed-side manners should be tested before they start working, especially when they work at the critical care. The faith that God has put in my heart made everything easier for me, I couldn't have imagined just wondering what could've happened to my family. God knew that, and he took care of it, because at the worst of times God always takes care of us, he always makes things better, all we need is to open up to him.
This wasn't the only time I believed in something that much. And Every time this has happened, I let myself believe and never tried to stop myself even when it looked like I was wrong to believe. And every time this happened, things turned out the way I believed they will. I know this won't happen every time, but I know that God always puts this belief in my heart for a reason, and for that I should always have my faith strong and never fight it.
There was also the time when we weren't really sure how bad my injury was, that was also a time when God put faith in my heart, that's when he made me believe that at times like these, I'm the one who's supposed to be strong for my family and not vice versa. At that time, I learned to always smile and joke about my injuries, I learned that optimism will make me get better, and it did. I learned that optimism makes everything better. I always said that it's just going to take time and then I'm going to be as good as new, and during that time I have no reason to not be able to live life like a normal human being, so why worry? And now, after ten years, I still believe that the way I reacted is what made every one of us pass the bad times. I believe that by spreading my optimism and faith to the ones around me, I made everything not just sound easier, but I really made things easier.
One of the people I met in the hospital whom I'll never forget is a male nurse who was completely pierced and completely tattooed. The look of him at first made me hate that he'll be the one to take me for my tests, and that's when I learned to never, and I mean never, judge some one by their looks. This nurse, whom I've seen for not more than 30 minutes gave me a shot of positivity that I can never ever forget. Like most Americans, he talked to me as if we've always known each other. He asked me what happened and where I was going. When I told him the whole story he said one thing, now you're really unlucky to have missed going to California. I cleared things, I was on my way back, I've already gone to California. He said oh great, so you haven't missed anything, there's nothing to worry about then.
At that point, I had to laugh, I was going for serious tests and he made everything sound very simple and easy. He made it sound as if the only bad thing was if I had missed going to California. I replied saying that I missed out on a Backstreet Boys concert that I have been waiting to see forever (being a teenager this was a real dream for me). The conversation with that nurse made me feel that nothing really happened, it's just an accident that will take its time then will be forgotten, of course it wasn't that simple, but it did pass and now all its mess seems so far away. When I said my Backstreet Boys comment, he replied saying you haven't missed much, and right now, I know I haven't missed much :-)
You can think about it this way, my time hadn't come yet, but I think about it as a wake up call, a reminder to love God, to love life, to love my family, to treasure every moment, to always have faith, to never be so sure, to believe, to be happy. God wanted me to know how much he loves me, and how much my family and friends love me. He wanted my family to know that I care for them more than I care for anything in the world, even more than I care about myself. He wanted to show me my power, that I'm really strong, and that real power comes from kindness, love, optimism, and positivity. He wanted to show my parents that I'm someone they can depend on, someone that they don't have to really worry about that much.
A car accident could never be a good thing, especially one as bad as mine, but before I left the hospital, I've decided that it has happened for a reason, that God has put me through all this to test me, to test my faith, and I passed this test with his love. I knew that I was put through that test to learn something, and since that day I thought of every single moment that I've spent in my journey with that accident, and I've found out that there's a lot to learn, I found out that it was a lesson of a lifetime. And now, after ten years have passed, I'm forever grateful that God has put through this test.