On August, 20th, 2002 (10 years ago), I was involved in a car accident when a driver crashed into my driver’s door at around 90km/h. I was trapped in my car for three hours and unable to walk for 10 months. I wrote this a few months after my accident …

This morning I woke up and discovered a 29 year old man in my bed. I was about as shocked as you are, until I remembered it was my birthday.

Today I was given the best gift I have ever received. It’s actually a gift I have been given every single year for 28 years. This was the first year I actually stopped long enough to notice it, examine it and revel in it. This year I noticed the gift of life! 

I think what caught my eye this year was the way in which this gift was wrapped so differently from previous years. It was wrapped in the shredded metal of a car accident 104 days ago. It was wrapped in the flashing lights and sirens of pain. It was wrapped in the wet glaring eyes of a wife and family on the side of a dark road. It was wrapped in the dim lights and shrieks of ICU. It is a gift wrapped with staples and pins and four operations and put in a constricting cast for 3½ months.

God has given me the gift of life for another day. All I have is this moment. Every fragment of creation is shouting God’s majesty. Every flower, every sunset, every rain drop displays God’s signature. It is a gift to be alive. It is as though my senses have been opened to what’s been there all along and gone unnoticed. The gift of sight, the gift of hearing music, the gift of tasting flavours, the gift of walking and running, the gift of sleep, the gift of a relaxing bath. Amazing gifts are all around us, indescribable presents to elicit gratitude reveal themselves the minute we step out of bed. But we stumble past them without a glance. We’ve wrapped them in foolish notions of “I’m invincible”, “I’m young”, “I have tomorrow”, “I have a whole lifetime” and “Not today!” 

If I’m honest my 29 years feel more like 29 light years. I feel so far away from where I started and it’s all happened so quickly. But the trauma of near death and disability has thrown open the gates of understanding and appreciation of life like never before. Come to think of it, I think I had an even greater disability before the accident – I didn’t realise I celebrated a birthday every day! 

What a birthday . . . what a God . . . what a gift!