Second life

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Saturday, May 10, 2014


THEY call it a second life. I call it my second chance.

Three weeks ago, I was in a vehicular accident in the United States. It was a close call, a narrow escape. It was practically a miracle that my family and I walked away from the accident alive and unscathed.

Well, maybe not completely unscathed because now, I do get a little jumpy when I’m on the road. I constantly look at the rear view mirror for runaway cars. And I catch myself bracing for impact. It’s the trauma, I guess, of having been rear-ended on the highway.

When you come so close to death, you realize once more how fragile life is. In a split-second, you can be dead. And who decides whether you live or die? I’ve always believed that we live by the grace of God. Every day is a gift and frankly, I find it naïve when people actually believe they have absolute control over their lives.

Sure. We can make plans. And we should as thinking, responsible human beings. But the reality is that despite the precautions we take, disease can strike and accidents can happen. Death is certain. We know that. What we don’t know is when it will happen. And how it will happen.

So if you believe you have complete control over your life, you are wrong. I’ve seen it happen so many times. Even the best-laid plans can go awry when God does not will them to bear fruition. Call me foolish. Call me irrational.

But while I believe events are man-made, I believe that timing is divine.
When I returned home, I saw my manicurist of more than 20 years, an extremely devout Catholic who is practically a member of our family. She told me she had prayed for me, my sister and my niece sometime on the 22nd of April.

I had told her we would be home on the 23rd so she figured we would be onboard by then. What she didn’t know was that we had decided to extend our stay for a few more days. The accident happened on the 23rd of April.

“I prayed for the safety of your travel—land, sea and air,” she told me. Wow. Was this mere coincidence? Or was she another angel? I thanked her and said, “Your prayers were answered.”

At the moment of impact, I felt like I was inside a protective cocoon. Until now, I really can’t quite understand how I felt because my sister and I, seated at the back of the sedan were tragically not wearing seat belts. As such, we were completely unprotected.

We could have been thrown forward at impact. But no, it was a shove. That’s all it was—a shove. And a loud bang like an explosion. Given the damage to our trunk, transformed into a mangled piece of steel afterwards, our experience at impact remains inexplicable.

So here I sit and reflect on my second life. Why did God give me a second chance at life?

You know, I’ve never believed in second chances. Those who know me well call me “the unforgiven.” I have a very unforgiving nature. I rarely give people second chances. Maybe, God is sending me a message. God gave me a second chance. Who am I to deny others?

I can live this second life the way I lived my first. Or I can do better. They call it a second life. I call it my second chance, my second shot at living a better life.

(Email: sunstarcebucolumnist@yahoo.com, Twitter: http://twitter.com/melanietlim)

Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on May 11, 2014.

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