A special entry by Jeremy Fong.
Time. As children, we are taught how to tell the passage of time through a clock. The passing of each big hand, a minute, and the small hand, an hour. But as an adult I’m starting to realize how little I truly understand about time. A minute is made up of sixty seconds. 1, 2, 3…60. Yet there are moments when each second is an eternity, and time refuses to flow. And there are other times when each second is so fleeting, time seems to flow right through me. What is time, and what makes it valuable?
Only a few days ago, the narrative of this newsletter would have been completely different. On December 21, my mother and I were involved in a solo car crash. As we approached the freeway from the onramp, we lost control of the car. Perhaps it was the worn out tires, the freshly wet road, or driver miscalculation, it didn’t matter. All I could think about at the time was, ‘Well this is it. This is how I die’. We bounced off the meter high wall dividing us from the thirty feet drop from the overpass, and spun around until colliding with the other side of the lane’s wall putting us facing towards oncoming traffic. It was one of the most terrifying moments of my life. The danger was immediate and threatening, and my life was not the only one at stake. Once the car had stopped, my eyes quickly shifted to my mom. Was she injured? Could I help her even if she was? We both looked at each other, examining one another for injuries. But we were both unharmed.
The rest is mostly a blur. I made sure to hold my mom’s hand while going through the conversations with first respondents, family members, and inevitably insurance companies. I’m not sure if I thought I was doing it to prove I was strong to my mom or the other way around. All I could do at the time was focus on force I could feel on my fingers as I tried to ground my body once again. Whether I was actually going to or not, as we approached the first wall, I thought I was going to die. And now I’m not going to take my life for granted again.
My life could have ended right then. Time slipped right through my fingers, as my mind struggle to keep up. It happened all within a matter of seconds. Yet even days later, I have still yet to process such a tiny percentage of my life. Of course, being the person I am, my most pressing thoughts have nothing to do with the actual event, but the philosophical implications of it. The majority of those thoughts stemmed from the idea of human frailty. Even if I was unaware, I felt entitled to this life, a future that God had planned out for me. I thought of all the things that I would accomplish, of this life I envisioned for myself. It could have been taken from me, except for the fact that it doesn’t exist. I’m not guaranteed anything in this life. I can have all these elaborate plans for my future, but I am only kidding myself if I think I can discern the plans God has for me. Albeit, this is the lesson that God has definitely placed on my heart while on this gap year, and what I can only hope, cemented, through the car crash.
Christmas marks five and a half months since arriving back. That’s a total of 240,480 minutes and 14,428,800 seconds and counting. I will be the first to admit that I hated the idea of spending a gap year living in the States. I was not in a good place with myself, and most definitely not with God. At the end of Senior year, I had tried build my life back together on my own. But it had come crashing down. I was hurting, but I was determined not to let it happen again. I needed to find God, and find Him I did.
Honestly, at this point I can’t even remember all the times I’ve seen God working in my life. Whether it be through simple conversations, cultivated relationships, or opportunities that have suddenly presented themselves, I’ve truly been blessed each day here. I distinctly remember a conversation with someone from church that has stuck with me all this time. I don’t recall the exact wording, but she said something along these lines, “Jeremy, you’re in a season of receiving. I know that may be a hard thing to accept because you have given so much to others. But God has placed you in this season for a reason…”. That was during my first month back, and looking from the mountains I have overcome, she was so right.
There are some days that I wish didn’t happen while I was here. But they pale in comparison to all the joy that has entered my life. I will always remember my time in California fondly. There’s just so much to be grateful for. I’m speechless just trying to process it all. I know I’ve grown so much here and I’m thankful for each and everyone who have helped me along the way. In a matter of months, I’ve learned a lifetime of lessons. I’ve learned to distinguish the difference between giving up and letting go, to allow my narrative to be ever-changing, to not undermine my self-worth, and ultimately to allow God to be the center of my life.
He saved my mom and I in that accident. How else can I explain any of it? I still don’t understand why exactly it happened. What was the point of allowing us to get into an accident, only to remain unscathed? But to think of other possible outcomes or circumstances makes me sick. I am here writing, breathing and unharmed, and all I can be is grateful. Those few seconds in the car were so fleeting, but I now have a lifetime to reflect. And from this moment, I know that my time is valuable. I can only hope that I continue to use it wisely.