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Editor’s note: It’s been while since I wrote editorials, but my wife has impressed upon me the need to start again. Being full of wisdom (except when her wisdom disagrees with my wisdom), I figured it would be a good idea. This week I have decided to kick it off with an editorial I actually wrote nearly two years ago. Writing it gave me a lot to think about and how we may perceive certain situations as being bad until we realize through time how it brought about a positive outcome.
By John Few
It never fails that whenever I have to show my driver’s license to someone, whether it’s to cash a check at the bank or whatever, I always get – “awww, you were a Christmas baby” or “I bet you hated that as a kid.” I usually just grin a little and give a simple yes. I have always been proud of the fact that I was born on such an important day. I mean, there are 364 other days I could have popped into this world on, but I got to share in the one day we celebrate as Christ’s birth, which has always been cool to me. But, as I get older and have had some really odd experiences under my belt I have to wonder a little about this.
First of all, I was not supposed to have been born on Christmas Day. It was an accident! My mother bent over the Christmas tree to turn the lights out and ’WHAM!’ The weight of a baby in her belly (me) was all it took to tip her over like a weeble wobble (remember those. They were so much fun!). Anyway, her water broke and I was born.
I have always looked over the fact that I was a Christmas baby by accident — that is until recently. The other day I was looking back at all of the weird and unusual circumstances that have occurred in my relatively SHORT life. After all, I am still a spring chicken regardless of what my wife says. But, the argument could be made that I have been a little accident prone – or at least accidents and odd occurrences have been attracted to me for some strange reason.
Let’s see. Since my birth I have been run over, hit by two log trucks, been in at least eight car accidents (maybe more), survived Hurricane Katrina, rode out two tornados and had an ex-wife that went nuts on me, she really did.
Once when I was in the lunch line at school one of those huge industrial metal blinds that weighed about a million pounds came loose and went flying down from its perch near the tall ceiling and decided to land right on my head, just mine, and split it wide open. The principal actually tried to scold me for it too! How bad is that?
At the young age of five I was flattened like a pancake by a car that lost control and jumped the curb hitting me straight on. About 7 years ago, I was turning left onto a major highway that only had one traffic signal for miles. It was my luck that a log truck decided one red light was too much for him and was going to try to run it. He hit me on the driver’s side, smashing my car into a crumbled up mess and splitting my head open again.
This was actually the second time my car had been totaled by a log truck. I had a tiny Honda Civic hatchback once that a truck actually ran over because it was so small he couldn’t see it was parked in front of him when he took off. Fortunately, I wasn’t in at the time. Needless to say, I am not a big fan of log trucks.
During Katrina we lost our house to black mold after sustaining wind and water damage. I had to throw almost everything out and we literally had to start over. Two years later my wife came home one day all excited saying she’s had a revelation. She has found herself and a new life in an alternative religion. Of course, I wasn’t invited.
I could go on and on. I have so many odd tales, but that’s really not my point.
When I would question my mother on how life might have been if my father had not left us when I was young, she would remind me that there is a silver lining to every cloud and even things that seem bad often lead us into positive outcomes. Looking back now, I see that pretty clear.
My life may have been started by an accident, but I don’t really believe in accidents.
When I was hit by the runaway car at age 5 they had to actually pick the vehicle up to get me out. I was stuck under the muffler. I had no broken bones, no major injuries. I was in the hospital for three days and out of school for just two weeks, which stunk at the time. In my young mind, getting hit by a car should have rated at least a month off from school work. This experience ended up solidifying my faith and understanding that God was watching out for me even when I didn’t ask him to. Years later I would rely on that understanding when my oldest child went through a series of seizures as a two-year-old that baffled the doctors. They finally found the cause and fixed the problem.
The other accidents in my life also brought about life changing directions that I may not have made otherwise. Even Katrina had a huge positive influence on me. The lessons the aftermath of the hurricane taught me are precious; it impressed on me the importance of family and the insignificance of possessions which in a blink of an eye can be wiped away. It also brought me back to Meridian, MS where I began laying the foundation of what would end up being the format for Madison Weekly News.
Everything was like a stepping stone. Without all of those things happening I would not be in Madison; I would not even know Madison existed. And, my kids would not have the opportunities they have today.
As hard as it was to endure I have to admit now that my ex-wife leaving even had a positive outcome. Although I am clearly not for divorce, especially when young children are involved, I am a very fortunate man. I ended up with full custody of my three girls. A few months later I met a single mom of one daughter on e-harmony (of all places) who, get this, worked for the girl scouts. I mean, if anyone is qualified to live in a household with four daughters it would be a Girl Scout employee – right? We fell in love and things began to fall into place again. Soon after that we moved to Madison; my children are happy and I have a wonderful wife that is not nuts. Well, not yet. She might be after living with me for a while.
Even my mother falling over the Christmas tree causing my early birth may not have that much of an accident. My mother had been told by doctors that she could not bear children. Just as she and my father had decided on adoption, my mother found out that she was unexpectedly pregnant. This could have been God’s way of reminding her who is really in control, and building a strong faith in her that has sustained my mother through the years.
So when I look back at the oddities I have experienced, all of the accidents, all of the craziness, I have to wonder if it wasn’t for all of that where I would be today. Then I thank God for all of it.