Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Ben's Essay

In his English class, Ben has been working on writing his life story and I thought I'd share this part with you. It's a bit long but I decided not to edit it. It made me thankful that he has lived to be tall and healthy and 14, and I will add that he didn't include the story of when he and Emily wandered down the creek and got lost, or when he crashed his bike and broke his helmet, or various other incidents.

Angels Watching Over Me
Throughout my life I have had many experiences where there was nearly a fatality or serious-injury involved, yet God has protected me in every case and has saved me from injury or death. They have come almost a little bit in waves, because there were a few while I was a baby, a couple while I was about 5, and a few more when I was ten.

One of the first of those close escapes occurred when I was around 6 months old. It all started when Mom and Dad decided that we were going to move from Ontario, Canada, where Dad was teaching school, to Oregon where my Dad’s parents lived. We had been in Oregon for Christmas the winter before we moved, and we were coming home on a long, desolate road. Suddenly, there was a moose in the road. Dad wasn’t going to be able to move or stop in time, so he honked at it, but it still wouldn’t move. When we first hit the moose it looked as though everything was going to be okay. Then the smelled something hot. It turned out that the place was that the moose came in contact with the car was right at the headlight and the car was starting to burn. Hurriedly Mom tried to make sure everybody got out and grab blankets. But she almost forgot something very important. She had a baby in the car. She reached into the car and unbuckled me, and she started running with me so we could get away before the gas tank exploded. Thankfully a little bit after that a car came along, the first one we had seen in a long time. He stopped and took us to where we needed to go. From this story, it is evident that God had an angel watching over us.

Another time when we were moving to Oregon we stopped at a gas station. So we wouldn’t waste any time, everybody got and used the bathroom or whatever else needed to be done. After she did what she had to do, Mom came back out to the van and put me in the carseat. Mom had just put the shoulder strap over my head and not buckled the carseat in when she realized that she had forgotten something. She ran back inside, telling Dad what she was doing. As Dad started to pull the van forward, the carseat flipped, and since I wasn’t completely buckled in, I hung there like a convicted criminal. We can praise God that Dad heard me choking back there. He was able to flip me back right side up before any extensive damage was done, and my guardian angel was kept busy again.

One day when I was about a year old, I was playing in Mom and Dad’s bedroom, and right behind their bedroom door were these big, heavy closet doors that had been taken off their hinges and leaned against the wall perpendicular to the door. Anyway, Mom left to go do something else, so I was back there playing all alone. But, when Mom came back to look for me, She couldn’t open the door. What it turned out had happened was that I had somehow knocked the doors over and they had started falling, shut the door, and somehow miraculously it stopped on the doorknob, otherwise it would have crashed on me. Since she couldn’t get back in the door, Mom went around and looked in the window. She saw me there, and came and rescued me. Obviously, God was watching over me.

About a year after the whole door incident, I caught a chest cold, and Mom decided to use this camphorated oil instead of the Vicks she normally uses. So Mom rubbed this oil on me, and as she turned to wipe her hands, I took the bottle and dumped it all over myself. Now this might have not been too serious if it hadn’t been for two things: first, some got in my mouth, and second, camphorated oil is highly poisonous. I started coughing and sputtering some. Mom quickly called Poison Control, and they were going ballistic because camphorated oil can cause seizures. An ambulance rushed to our house, and they quickly zipped me to the hospital where I had my stomach pumped. God protected me again.

After those incidents, I guess I calmed down for a while because I didn’t have any more close calls for a while. However, when I was 5, one day Emily and I were playing together. We were playing we were businessmen, and since businessmen have briefcases, we had to have briefcases, which in this case were little bags. We played for a little bit, and then Emily piped up, "Hey, let’s go get some stuff to stick in our briefcases"
"Yea let’s," I replied.
So we went and got briefcase-fillers. Mine was paper, and Emily’s was wood. We kept on playing for a while, but then Emily got the idea to use a rope swing like our car for going to work. Of course I wanted to use it to, and soon we started fighting over it. I got mad at her and hit her with my bag. In retaliation she walloped me over the head with her bag of wood. Unfortunately, the one piece that had a nail in it came crashing down on my head. It started bleeding really bad, and not like your ordinary ding or owie. I was quickly rushed inside where Mom bandaged my head. By this time I wasn’t really crying, but Emily felt so bad. She would say, "Benjy, have my quarter," or, " Benjy, take my bubble gum." Thankfully, I didn’t loose too much blood and soon after my injuries were pretty much healed, although I still have a scar from it. An interesting side note to this story is that the hair that first grew back where the nail hit me was gray.

The next story I’m going to write about it is kind of interesting because it shows how God used something we normally think of as wrong, fear, for good. It all started back when we started getting these Tin Tin comic books about him and his sidekick, Captain Haddock. Well anyway, in one of those books Tin Tin and Captain Haddock were rock climbing when the tiny little ledge that Captain Haddock was stepping onto broke, and he was just hanging by the rope he was attached to Tin Tin with.

Anyway, one day when I saw this it gave me an idea. I went and got a rope and ran outside to our swing set that has a platform about 5 feet off the ground. Since it looked like in the comic that the rope was tied around Captain Haddock’s waist, I tied one end of the rope to my waist and the other end to the rail that went around the platform. I was going to play "Captain Haddock" and jump so I would hang like he did, but I was too afraid, so I decided not to. Then, I couldn’t get the rope untied from around my waist. I called for help, and finally Amy heard me and came and somebody came out to my rescue. This story shows how God can use things that seem bad like fear to protect people like He did to me.

Another event that could have been a lot worse happened a couple of weeks after my 10th birthday. On that August day Matt, Dad, my Uncle Rod, a couple of cousins, about 17 others, and me set off on our way up the South Sister, the 3rd-tallest mountain in Oregon at 10,358 feet, and also an extinct volcano. We slowly hiked our way up to the top, and at the top is where the near-disaster started. When we were done taking our long rests and hiked around the rim of the crater, some others started to go down the mountain. Because I was too proud and arrogant and didn’t think it was the right way, so I kept on walking around the rim. Eventually Dad realized he couldn’t see me, so he yelled to the people in front of him to see if I was in front of them. They said they I wasn’t, so Dad came back to get me. About the time that Dad came back up to the top, I realized that I had gone to far and I had started to turn around. Dad saw me and then we hiked back down together. God saved me once again, this time by Dad’s quick and logical thinking.

In March of the following year we were on going from Kisumu,the city where we stayed, to Nairobi, the capital and largest city of Kenya, so we could get on a plane to go to London. We had gone through a game park close to the city of Nakuru and since we were back on the road, and I fell asleep. As we were driving along, we came to a place where there was a truck parked on the other side of the road. Suddenly, a truck came around the parked truck and headed straight toward us. Rick McAinich, the guy we had stayed with in Kisumu, quickly swerved of the road onto a little makeshift parking lot. He was able to escape most of the blow, but he did hit our back end, which was right where I was sleeping. Suddenly I awoke to a shattering of glass and a sharp pain in my arm. That night when we finally got to Nairobi, I was taken to the hospital where they took x-rays and they said that it wasn’t broken. It quickly healed, even though it turned out later that it was a minor fracture. In this case God used a simple thing, sleep, to keep me from having maybe a concussion or a cracked skull, because if I hadn’t been sleeping I probably would have had my head against the window that got shattered.

What I like about these 8 stories is the many different things God used to protect me. He used sleep. He used a doorknob. He used fear. And all this goes to show just how great and amazing God really is.


  1. Dorcas...someone call Child Protective Services!...oh wait, he's got a guardian angel, it'll be okay..and WHY isn't your hair grey after all that?! LOL

  2. Wow...I had forgotten some of that stuff. Tell Ben he did a great job with that essay! Some of it is just so BEN--it made me laugh at the way he said things, even though it's not really supposed to be funny. :)

  3. I love those stories! To hear Ben's testimony about them is a real inspiration! Thanks, Ben, for allowing them to be printed...very well done!

    My heart is blessed!

  4. Do not send a copy of Ben's essay to the editor of that Eugene newspaper you write for or you may be out of a job!

  5. Yes, why isn't your hair gray??

  6. hmmm... better watch out, isn't ben about 15? ;) time for the next wave to start...

  7. Good work Ben!!
    And hey..what child doesn't go through hair-raising experiences when they're growing up? So no...there is nothing to Call Child Protective Services about...its normal life.

  8. yeah, anyway! yay for Ben... he has lived life in color, not in the gray, antiseptic world of safety that some people think is better than experiencing life to the fullest, simply because it's safer. :-)