Memories from my past bubble to the surface every now and then. At times, they feel larger than life—tall-tale even, like in Big Fish. Since taking Psychology 101 last year, some memories have become suspect.
There’s this one memory I have; the one where the ceiling caves in on me. Until recently, I wasn’t sure it was real. I asked my older brother about it. In the memory, he’s the one who carries me to safety.
Quickly, here’s the memory:
It’s an old white house in Paso Robles, California. Two stories, maybe, just one. I’m eight years old or so and scared to death of the Daddy Long Leg spiders that inhabit every corner of every room in the house. Everything is dirty and dusty. I hate it here.
“Kevin,” he yells. I wake up. The air is thick with dust and drywall; broken wood is everywhere. In fact, my bed is covered with it. I look over to my brother, standing beside the bed. He’s laughing. “You slept through it,” he says and laughs again.
Everything is confusing; I’m paralyzed with fear and can’t move. The next thing I know, my brother is carrying me out of our room and into the kitchen where everybody is listening to music and eating popsicles.
My early years were quite… different than most. After the parents split up, my dad moved us around a lot. Life got weird. Shady, actually, is a better term.
We were those obnoxious, trashy neighbors. The ones with the loud, late night parties, or fights that ended with clothes on the lawn and the cops being called. That was us.
“They were partying in the next room,” my brother said. Last year, we reminisced about our childhood and I asked him about this event. “We came out of the room,” he continued, “covered from head to toe in drywall dust. No one knew it happened. I think it was the music that caused the ceiling to fall. The bass.”
“And I slept through it?”
“Yeah,” he laughed, “you slept right through it. I thought you were dead.”
It seems a little self-absorbed to claim this event as a miracle of God. Honestly, I’m really not that important. It could’ve just been dumb luck.
Still though, I think back to the broken wood in and around my bed—some pieces large and quite dangerous. All I know is that the ceiling caved in, one ugly night in Paso Robles, California, and two young boys were spared.
In times like these, I’m reminded that I need to live my life in a worthy way. Not because I survived my childhood or because a ceiling caved in on me, but because I was born at all.
Life is an opportunity and everyday among it a unique gift. Don’t wait for tomorrow or you may just get crushed to death by your own ceiling.
“If I live the life I’m given, I won’t be scared to die.”
What are your thoughts? Do you have any good memories from your childhood you suspect are false? What is your response to living life as a gift?