Friday, January 13, 2006

Believe It
Or Not:
Boys Head
Run Over
By Truck,
He Lives

From the Indianapolis Star:

MICHIGAN CITY, Ind. -- An 11-year-old boy had a lingering headache two days after a pickup truck ran over his head.

Cameron Schuette said Tuesday he did not remember much about the accident, other than the sound.

"All I remember about it was that when the truck ran over my head, I could hear my bones crack," he said.

Cameron, a 5th-grader at Knapp Elementary School, and his 13-year-old brother, Tyler, had been helping their grandfather chop and load wood Sunday. The boys were sitting on the tailgate of their grandfather's truck when he began backing down his gravel driveway and Cameron either fell or jumped off.

Ron Shurley said he at first thought he ran over a piece of wood until he got out of the truck and saw his grandson lying face down in the gravel. Then Cameron stood up and ran into the house, Shurley said.

"He didn't look too worse for wear," Shurley said. "He was just saying he had a headache."

After spotting blood running out of the boy's ear, Shurley drove him to the hospital in the town about 25 miles west of South Bend.

Cameron then was transferred to a hospital in South Bend, where testing revealed he had a slight hairline skull fracture. His mother, Shannon England, said

he also had road rash on his neck and face, a black eye and a laceration on his ear canal.

He was released from the hospital Tuesday, suffering a stiff neck and a headache, but taking only Tylenol for the pain.

I higlighted the injuries the kid sustained because they indicate the truck ran over the top half of his head all the way down to eye and ear level.

I'd call this a miracle of some sort. The kid will not understand the magnitude of what has happened to him, until he is older. In fact, I would think it could profoundly troubling to try to come to grips with such an occurence.

This reminds me of the movie Fearless, starring Jeff Bridges. In the movie, Bridges' character is flying on a commercial airliner when it, all of the sudden, hurtles towards Earth, crashing, and exploding into a million pieces. All passengers die, except Bridges character, who walks away from the accident unharmed.

The movie then follows his character as he attempts to understand, and yet block out, what has happened. His character deals with guilt over the fact that he escaped while so many others died. He comes to have an irrational sense of invincibility, which is revealed, in reality, to be a way of acting out the trauma which comes from watching people in their last terrified moments, and then opening ones eyes to the sheer carnage, only to find that one is, against all sense, ok.

Bridges character drowns in a deep well of sadness, which doesn't make sense to him because he believes he ought to be happy that he was spared.

The movie is about the paradox of miracles, or the cleft that can open up in ones experience when one is profoundly set apart from the rest of the human race.

Now, this kid, obviously, will not be troubled by having watched others die, while he was spared. But, one would think that having such an experience so early in life, would set a precendence of intensity, or specialness about his life. This would lead to expectations. What will happen to me next? Am I different? Am I set apart for something? What is expected of me? How can I ever make up for this?

And yet, at the same time, the kid got up and ran into his house. His parents took him to the hospital. He was ok. Presumably, they took him home. He probably ate his favorite snack, while watching his favorite DVD. He probably sat on the couch and tried to ignore that fact that his parents were staring at him as if he had just vanished and reappeared, tranfigured; an elevated being. Someone blessed, almost messianic.

Of course, he is just a kid, and kids don't think in these terms, but, they do have a feeling for these complex notion. Children do understand the miraculous, the spiritual, usually better than adults. And yet, kids want to move on to the next thing. He wants to play his video game. He wants to go outside and play with his friends, go to the movies, go swimming, but will parents ever again say, "Yes, go ahead," without that look on their face?

And, as he grows up and is assailed by the ordinary disappointments in life, will he wonder, always in despair, "Was it for this, I was spared? Have I squandered my miracle?

And, of course, we all squander our miracles, but no one could ever make such a person understand this truth. Nor would we even try.

This is an amazing story, I pray for this kid, that his miracle can lead to a blessed life. I pray he can find a way to make it make sense.