It's funny the things you remember. I was out riding my bike, and it was seriously cold. I remember my itchy wool cycling socks (mainly because I never bothered to change them in the flurry of activity.) I remember the sound of the nurse's voice, and that it was somewhere around one...or maybe two in the afternoon when I got the call. I remember hearing my dad's ringtone, and thinking I'd call him back in a few minutes, after I finished my ride. But instead, I de-clipped, pulled into a park, and called his number back. A woman named Claudia answered and said that she was a nurse, and she was with my parents, whom she just watched roll their car across the interstate three times. I remember that the world stopped. She put them on the phone. Dad, predictably, said "We're going to be ok. I think." And Mom babbled incoherently. She was the one about whom we worried.
I met them at the hospital. I dug all their belongings out from the three feet of mud that was on the inside of their car. Dad had an earful of mud, and Mom had a cut on her foot that required a few stitches. And they were fine. Really, beautifully fine. I have a whole theology about the hand of God now.
That was five years ago. New Year's Eve Eve, 2008. We still celebrate every year.
But maybe it changed us all in some way, to know that in the blink of an eye, all things could've turned out wildly different. Priorities shifted, and "stuff"--whatever it was that seemed so important-- ceased to matter. What we clung to was what made us happy, what made memories, what filled our breaths with as much life as possible.
A lot of people make New Year's Resolutions. ( I set intentions). But on New Year's Eve Eve, I remind myself what it means to be alive, and I promise anew to celebrate that life with all I have. Life is fleeting and unpredictable, but I remind myself that when my life is spent, I want to be too. I say special prayers of thanksgiving on this day, not just that my parents' story turned out unexpectedly and miraculously well, and not just that we have something to celebrate. But also that we do, celebrate. We celebrate wildly and boldly. We do it by living fully.