The Crash That Opened My Eyes

Evaluate a significant experience, achievement, risk you have taken, or ethical dilemma you have faced and its impact on you.

In the vast transience of life, with incessant changes occurring in everything ranging from scientific theories to the behavior of friends, truths can be difficult to find, and even more complex to explain. As the world is based largely on perception, it is seemingly impossible to know for certain much beyond what one personally experiences — a situation that has in turn provided the foundation for much philosophy and religion. What we can know and what we wish to know are seldom the same. However, there are rare moments in life via which we may be exposed to the perceptions of others, and, in even rarer cases, be able to learn from them. In these moments, the stark soul of a being, an essence at any other time indiscernible, is revealed. For most of my life, I failed to understand this concept, never coming upon a moment that allowed me to truly examine the bond I shared with another. As such, I was hungry to know how others felt around me. Is it possible that I alone felt friendship was more than a relationship based on the mutual benefiting of both parties? Then, seemingly out of nowhere, my moment of enlightenment came. Unfortunately, I also realized that, with the many personas one exhibits, that moment must be full of blind terror, despair, or rage, so as to strip another down to the barest sincerity. It was a Wednesday night. My friend Justin wanted to see a movie that began in only half an hour. Despite the apparent lack of time, it seemed feasible to both meet Justin on time and drive conscientiously. Alas, a misguided turn led me around the theater, and the necessitated backtracking meant making it to the movies on time would be impossible. I now wished nothing but to arrive at the theater safely. However, fate seemed to be set against me, for I never made it to the theater that night. At some point which I fail to recall, I lost consciousness – ironically the second time I lost something that night – and the next event I remember is being pulled from underneath a restaurant sign, my vehicle but a shadow of its former self. It later came to light that, while absentmindedly staring off, a gas station attendant coincidentally noticed me driving unconsciously down a major highway, phoning the police minutes before the accident occurred and saving crucial time. For hours my family was unaware of my condition, whilst Justin and the others at the movie were handling the just-received news of my grave collision. Today, the only physical scar that remains is a speckle of red on my left hand – the permanent reminder of the glass of the windshield. However, all lost that day was more than gained back in what I saw of those around me. They cried for me. People I had known my entire life but had never wept in front of me held no reservations that day. My friends, who had never before shown a thread of piety, prayed, and not to a God that may exist, or one that should exist, but one that does exist — for in those moments there is no doubting a God. Mementos from childhood which beforehand seemed juvenile took on whole new meanings as friends offered them in a light of hope that was surprisingly not in vain. Acquaintances with whom I had rarely conversed tried to establish lasting friendships — which could in turn mean as much as the offerings of deep-rooted friends. From these acts I gained insight regarding how others viewed me — and perhaps even more. Friendships, after all, mean more than mutual benefiting. Although the acts may be construed as those of people trying to merely sustain relationships of mutual aid, they seemed of a warmer, deeper cast. It is impossible to put into words why this felt so; as I said before, the truth is often too complex for words. Nevertheless, I value the newfound profundity of all my relationships. With all deception laid aside, one’s personal sentiments can intertwine with those of another, and an entirely new view of the world is thereby possible. With just one eye, after all, one sees but a flat picture, nothing but a colored canvas; with two, the concept of depth is added, and a three-dimensional world is revealed. When one is able to take hold of these moments, not much may be learned regarding the universal laws of science, but the depth of a relationship with another can be appreciated. In the ethereality of life, perhaps the appreciation of these relationships is the most important element of all.

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