Why 'Seatbelts Save Lives' Is An Understatement

Why 'Seatbelts Save Lives' Is An Understatement

You never think it will happen to you... until it does.
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When you are 15 years old you feel invincible. Most people are worrying about getting their license and the boy in history class and the petty fights with so-called "friends" that will not matter in six months. Your mom is worrying about you when you're out on your first real date, or why you won't answer your phone when she's called you twelve times.

However, this is not a story of a typical teenage girl. It begins with the day her brother lost his faith, the day her dad lost his chance to walk her down the aisle, the last day her mom heard her voice... This is about the day Whitney kept her life.

This is Whitney's story.


I recall it like it was yesterday. My seven-year-old self was watching "The Wiggles" and enjoying my cereal, when I heard my mother gasp for breath as tears collected in her eyes and rolled down her cheeks. My heart raced frantically as my mom told me something that changed my life forever, "Aunt Whitney's been in an accident."

I remember walking into the hospital room in Indianapolis as I saw all the machines attached to my aunt's body. I looked around the room to see my grandpa who looked defeated and my nana who seemed lost.

When they told me, "She was in the car with her friends. They were going too fast when the road turned to gravel. She flew out of the windshield 75 feet and is in an induced coma," I wondered what all this meant. How long will she be sleeping? Will she wake up soon and we can play? Nana used to make me jump on her bed to wake her for cheer practice, but she wouldn't want me to jump on the bed anymore; it wouldn't do anything — she wouldn't wake up.

Whitney spent her sweet 16 in a hospital bed. The day finally came when all my family said, "She's opened her eyes," and I was relieved. "Ah yes, she's finally better now," I thought to myself. She can talk and walk and jump on the trampoline with me like we used to. However, none of that happened. Whitney was diagnosed with locked-in syndrome. Since then, Whitney still is unable to walk or talk. However, when I asked if I could write this article for her, she gave a smile and extended her pinky finger to indicate "yes."

I remember everyone told me, "Pray that she will talk and walk again." So I prayed and prayed and prayed, and one day I woke up at 19 years old and realized my prayers hadn't been answered. There have been plenty of times that I was furious with God. "Why? Why did you do this to my Aunt Whitney?" I would scream and cry into an empty void where I didn't hear an answer. However, I would not wish this on anybody. When I asked God "Why my Aunt Whitney?" perhaps I was just asking why in a general sense. In the sense that no one should have to go through life like this. Every day I see her, I just want to tell her I'm proud of her. I want to tell her I am sorry — because this shouldn't have happened, not to her, not to anyone. Everything happens for a reason. Sometimes we will never know what that reason is, but that is supposed to be OK.

It is said that God gives his toughest battles to his strongest soldiers. I believe that God writes a narrative for us all. He chose Whitney for a purpose; he knew she was a tough soldier.

God knew he placed Whitney into a strong family. Whitney's dad does not always show it, but I know he is exhausted. I want him to know that I am sorry. No one should have to see their child go through what his does every day. I am so proud of him for working hard and being strong when I can only imagine how all he wants is to break down. Whitney's mom is the strongest woman I have ever had the liberty to know and I admire her immensely for it. God knew that Whitney's mom was a nurse, and he placed her to be with the right family. I want Whitney's mom, my grandma, to know that I am sorry. She should be able to hear Whitney's laugh fill the room like it used to. She should be able to scold her for making stupid decisions and then regretting it later and questioning her parenting ability. She should be able to hear Whitney's stories about her life and guide her in the right direction. I wish Whitney could come home over holiday breaks and exclaim the thrilling news that she's pregnant or engaged. I wish that Whitney could have a life of her own. I wish and I wish and I wish every day for things to go back to how they were before. I am so sorry that these are not the circumstances.

I am not going to ask my readers to pray for Whitney or our family. Whitney has gotten an abundance of prayers over the past decade, and I would not want to intrude on your beliefs. If Whitney could give advice to anyone though I am sure it would be this: Go on country cruises. Drive with the windows down with the wind in your hair as you belt out the words to your favorite song. Live life to the fullest. Don't take anything for granted, say please and thank you while you still can, and never forget to tell your mom and dad that you love them. Please, do not drink and drive. Do not text and drive. Do not be a reckless driver.

I always hear the phrase "Seatbelts save lives," which is true; but, seatbelts are so much more than that. One time is all it takes to change your life forever. Whitney did not wear her seatbelt, but, she is still here with us today. Strapping on her seatbelt that one time would have changed her quality of life. Wearing a seatbelt means much more than the difference between life or death.

Wear your seatbelt.

Not for me, not for Whitney, but for you.


Cover Image Credit: Mackenzie Rogers

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12 Bible Verses For Faith In Hard Times

Remind yourself that God is always with you.
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Lately, I have felt lost at what God wants for my life. Ever since I've come back to UWG everything has been horrible. It seems that I can't catch a break. I'm trying my best to focus on school, work, and extracurricular activities. But it's hard when I'm having issues with my apartment/roommates and knowing my family back home is struggling and needs many prayers. All, I keep thinking is maybe Carrollton isn't where I belong anymore. I've asked God if He can guide me in the right direction. Below, I have found Bible verses that have helped get me through these rough, past couple of weeks.

1. Isaiah 43:2

"When you go through deep waters, I will be with you."

2. Psalm 37:5

"Commit your way to the Lord. Trust in Him, and He will act."

3. Romans 8:18

"The pain that you've been feeling, can't compare to the joy that's coming."

4. Proverbs 31:25

"She is clothed in strength, and dignity, and she laughs without fear of the future."

5. Joshua 1:9

"Be bold. Be brave. Be courageous."

6. Ecclesiastes 3:1

"There is a time for everything and a reason for every activity under the heavens."

7. Isaiah 41:10

"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious right hand."

8. Isaiah 66:9

"I will not cause pain without allowing something new to be born, says the Lord."

9. Psalm 91:4

"He will cover you with His feathers, and under His wings, you will find refuge; His faithfulness will be your shield and rampart."

10. Psalm 62:1-2

"My soul finds rest in God alone, my salvation comes from Him, He alone is my rock and my salvation."

11. Philippians 4:13

"I can do everything through Christ who gives me strength."

12. Jeremiah 29:11

"For I know the plans I have for you, plans to prosper you and not harm you, plans to give you hope and a future."

Cover Image Credit: pixabay.com

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By Using God To Justify Hate, Christians Are Giving Christianity A Bad Name

I've seen people ask why young adults are straying away from Christianity, and in my opinion, it has to do with the lack of acceptance in the church.

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I grew up in Alabama, so it's no surprise that I grew up in church. I was saved, or baptized, at a young age. I grew up going to church camp, going on mission trips and participating in church activities, such as Thanksgiving lunches and Christmas plays.

As I grew up, I became interested in politics. I began watching public officials, most of whom claim they are Christians, build their platforms by turning down the rights of those in the LGBTQ community, helping the rich get richer, saying Christianity is the only correct religion and wanting to take away healthcare from those who cannot afford it.

The more I noticed these public officials saying things like this, the more I noticed that people who went to church agreed with them. This upset me.

What I was taught about Christianity was that God accepts everyone — no matter their race, gender, sexual orientation, social status or economic status. He accepts all.

What I was hearing from churchgoers and those who claimed to be Christians was the exact opposite.

I faced an internal conflict, deciding whether or not I wanted to go to church anymore, much less be a Christian. I didn't want to be labeled as someone who does not accept people for who they are. That's not the person I am.

I didn't want people to think that, if they're in the LGBTQ community, I thought they were going to Hell. I didn't want people to think that, if someone was poor, I thought they did something in life to cause that. I didn't want those of other faiths to think their religion was not valid. I didn't want people who were physically or mentally sick to think I didn't want them to receive help.

So for the past few years, whenever someone asked me if I believed in God, I told them yes, but that I didn't believe in organized religion.

It may come as a shock to some Southerners when I say you don't have to actively be in a church to believe in God. My dad always taught me that you have to sometimes separate God from church. I never fully understood what that meant until I was in that situation.

According to pewforum.org, 66 percent of college graduates surveyed consider themselves Christians, and 25 percent said they do not have a religious affiliation.

I've seen people ask why young adults are straying away from Christianity, and in my opinion, it has to do with the lack of acceptance in the church.

I am a firm believer in the separation of church and state. I believe that in church, you can be taught to love someone no matter who they are and what their situation is. I believe that you can hold your own political morals.

What I don't believe in is using God's name to justify hate toward a certain group of people. And that, in my opinion, is what is giving Christianity a bad name.

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