Part 3 of 3: Praying for Forgiveness
All night I cried like a big baby. I couldn’t walk, run, jump, kick soccer balls, chase basketballs, or even stand up! My legs were useless. I was useless. All because of one man, and that man was Mr. Miller. Now my life was meaningless!
I was going to go to the boarding academy. I was going to go live in the dorms with other girls, eat cafeteria food at the cafeteria, attend worship at the chapel, and run on the neat track that was on campus. Now all that was ruined. They were now innocent dreams of a girl who had had everything. They were just memories of a girl who now had nothing.
“Veronica, are you OK?” Mom asked me the next morning when I woke up.
“Yeah, of course I’m ‘OK,’” I muttered. What kind of person asks that? No person whose life was just flipped upside-down is “OK.” Mom must have had a very easy life, I thought to myself.
“Veronica, what’s troubling you?” Mom ran her hand down my back where there was a slit on the hospital gown, and her hand was cold. I shivered.
“You are,” I almost retorted, but I stopped myself in time. I knew exactly what she meant. “It’s the accident,” I admitted, taking a deep breath as I fidgeted with the hem of the stark white blanket. “It’s Mr. Miller’s fault that I’m like this.” I went on to explain what had happened before I ended up here in the hospital, and by the time I was done revealing it, I was a mess of angry-hot tears. It wasn’t fair; it just wasn’t fair.
“Don’t take it out on him” was all Mom said as she once again placed her very cold hand on my back.
“Oh, Mom,” I sobbed, “but I’ve lost everything! My life is ruined.”
“That’s one thing you haven’t lost: your life,” Mom told me. I think she was trying to sooth me, but it was extremely insensitive at the same time, and I shot her a look.
But Mom was right, although it definitely wasn’t fit for the occasion. I would rather be paralyzed than dead, that was for sure.
A springy little xylophone tune chimed from inside Mom’s purse. “Veronica, your phone,” she said, pulling it out and passing it to me. As I took it, I noticed that Oliver was calling.
“Oliver?” I said, answering the phone. “Are you OK after the accident?”
“Yeth,” I heard him say. “I jutht lotht my two front teeth. Hey, uh, I’m thorry about your back.”
“That’s OK,” I sighed. “How’s everyone else?”
“Lethlie broke her writht, I think, and Pathtor Kevin cracked a couple ribth. Hey, uh, Veronica… Mithter Miller really thaved your life, you know.”
I paused. Why’d he have to bring him up?
“What do you mean?” I finally asked.
“You know, he took you out of the van. Literally momentth after he took you out of the van, it ekthploded. If you had thtayed in there, you’d be dead now.”
I tried to stifle a gasp. Mr. Miller, the man I’d been blaming for my problems, had actually saved my life. Now I felt horrible. I needed to apologize to him immediately! I was thanking God and scolding myself at the same time.
“Um, Oliver,” I interrupted, “I need to call Mr. Miller right now. See, I thought it was all his fault that I’m paralyzed now, and I need to apologize to him and thank him, too. See you -”
“No, Veronica, there’th no need to do that. You thee, that’th why I called. When the van ekthploded, he shielded you, and hith injurieth were tho bad that… uh, he didn’t make it, Veronica. He died a short while ago.”
I held my breath and my heart stopped beating. My eyes dilated and filled with tears of regret. “I’ve got to go, Oliver,” I whispered, my throat tightening as I hung up. It couldn’t possibly be true! Oh, why God? I pleaded. Why?
With Mom’s glacial hand on my back, I wept and wept into a pillow. It couldn’t be true, it couldn’t be true. I’d spent all this time sulking that Mr. Miller had ruined my life, and really, he’d saved my life and even died for me.
After a while my sobs quieted and my tears slowed, but inside was still in turmoil. I deserved to die, I realized. Not Mr. Miller.
My phone buzzed in my hand, so I immediately turned it on. It was a text from Amalie.
Amalie: Did you hear about mr. miller?
My phone buzzed again. This time it was Josh.
Josh: Sorry about ur injury. U heard about mr miller?
My phone buzzed a third time. Sniveling, I prepared to type “yes” once more. But it was different this time.
Pr. Kevin: Bible verse of the day
I read on.
Pr. Kevin: Bible verse of the day – “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” (Romans 5:8 NIV)
My eye instinctively brimmed over with tears for the hundredth time. Before, I would have overlooked that verse, thinking, I knew that! But now, with Mr. Miller’s death, it shone with new meaning. Jesus, please forgive me, I now asked.
Mr. Miller sacrificed his life for me even though I didn’t want him to help me. He did it because he loved me, not because I appreciated him or accepted him.
Basically, Jesus didn’t die for us when or because we became “good.” He did it “while we were still sinners.” In other words, He died for us because He loves us, not because we loved him back or appreciated His sacrifice. Jesus even died for those of us who refuse to accept Him. When we lay thrown on the road of life, He picked us up; He is our Highway Hero.
Veronica: thx, pastor kevin. today I finally understand that verse
Pr. Kevin: Is there something you want to tell me?
Veronica: yes, actually…
Despite what Dr. Hodgson told me, I’m relearning how to walk now. And guess what? I’m still going to be attending the Adventist boarding academy Mrs. Carver showed us, along with Terrence and Leslie. Recently I gave Pastor Kevin permission to tell my “Mr. Miller” story to the congregation in a sermon. Half of all the church members cried, and a whole family that was visiting was baptized the very next Sabbath!
God has been good to me, and I owe it all to Him.