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As he swerved he prayed, “I didn’t mean it—save me.” Fleeting relief came as he narrowly missed the truck, then slid off the road, out of control. Still far over the speed limit, his car struck a gnarled, bent oak and turned over. Once—twice—it rolled, then finally came to rest on its roof, leaving him dangling from his seatbelt.

He woke unable to move and surrounded in chaos. It took him a moment to realize he was in a hospital. He felt his consciousness slipping, and fought in vain to keep it.

He heard voices as his eyelids closed, “…prepped for surgery”, and “Get him to the OR…” He heard his wife crying not far off, and for a moment he thought he would fight his way back to consciousness—but he was wrong.

He next woke in familiar surroundings. He was lying in the guest bed of his own home, only it was somehow different. His wife stood at the foot of the twin bed where he laid, while small group of young adults crowded around him. His wife was smiling, tears rolling down her face. The curious group of strangers stared at him anxiously, some smiling, some crying. Others stood still with their eyes closed peacefully.

“…he’s waking,” one of the strangers in his room whispered.

“God,” he prayed silently, suddenly panic stricken, “please don’t let me be paralyzed.”

His mind reasoned, it’s a group from church, come to pray for me. It would explain the young men and women standing over him in bed—though he strained to recognize them. To his relief, he was able to sit up, though it required more effort than he expected.

His wife dropped to his bedside and threw her arms around him. He cradled her head on his shoulder, but her embrace felt unfamiliar. Her shape didn’t conform to his own as his muscle memory expected. His own body seemed unfamiliar, as if he’d instantly lost weight. His joints were stiff, and they ached when he moved. He looked around the room wondering who the young men and women were, intruding upon such a private moment. He noted how familiar the eldest young lady was; she looked like a younger version of his wife. Only then did his mind register what his wife was saying as she wept on his shoulder.

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