Frank Smith, Jr. - From Near Death to Grace
Everything does happen for a reason, but some the most unexpected reasons, leads to the most beautiful lifetimes. --Treka L. House
Life has an unexpected way of restructuring who we are, before we even think we are ready to alter ourselves for the better. What is a crazy is that sometimes it takes tragedy to make us appreciate who were are, our destiny, who God blessed us with or just how blessed we are in general; to get to the next level of our lives. As beings, we can be selfish, in denial, riddled the pain of our past or just too stubborn to fix who we are for a better life. It is different for all of us, and our life molds us into someone different from the person standing next to us. It's called life, and honestly, I feel that it's life's unique occurrences that sets the precedence for our purpose. Of course, we were never meant to be like anyone else, that's why our circumstances are always different. We were always meant to touch others differently, and so we do.
I was so fortunate to convince my first cousin who has become an inspiration to our family, to interview with me to help change the lives of those who we can. It's his story, I just hope that it has the ability to change to a few people who need it right now or even later on. Sometimes it takes looking into someone else's life to choose to change. Nothing is guaranteed, and life can change in an instance no matter what your life looks like now.
1. Briefly tell us about yourself (name, what you do, family status, where you live, etc.)
My name is Frank Smith, Jr. I work for General Motors. I'm married with two sons and I reside in Memphis, TN.
2. Recently, you were in a tragic accident, nearly fatal. Tell us about that.
I was involved in accident in which I was hit head on by a car while riding my motorcycle. I sustained multiple injuries to my body, the worst being my hand and leg. The doctor told me that if it wasn't for my helmet I most likely wouldn't have survived.
3. I am sure that you have self-reflected after your accident. What did you discover?
I've discovered that life can change in a matter of seconds/moments. Life is seriously short, but it's also one of the greatest gifts. I can honestly say that I'm not afraid to die, but I realize I have so much to live for and so many people that genuinely love me. I now appreciate the little things in life. My near death experience has given me a new outlook on life and now I cherish every moment of each day.
4. How would you describe yourself before the accident?
I would describe myself as being selfish. I would consider what others would say (wife, family members, dad, friends, etc...) but at the end of the day, I would do what I wanted to do despite anyone else's feelings.
5. Why do you think that you were like that then?
I think I was like that because I didn't want anyone telling me what to do, because I considered myself as an adult (man) and I didn't want anyone telling me what or how to do things.
6. If you could go back in time and change 3 three things, what would they be?
I wouldn't change anything but I would take the time to listen and make better decisions based on what others had to say.
7. Do you feel that accident changed you? Why or why not? If so, how?
Yes, the accident changed my perception on life. I realize that life isn't promised to me or to anyone. I appreciate the simple things and I take time to let the people I love know that I love them and that I appreciate everything that they do for me.
8. Do you think you would have changed, had it not been for the accident?
Yes, but I can't say it would've happened sooner or later. I'm grateful to be alive and there has been some good things that have happened because of the accident. I spend more time with my family and loved ones now.
9. Do you feel that you could ever go back to being the person you were before? Why or why not?
No, I think that I could go back to being the person that I was, because I see things in a different perspective now. I am human and I know that I'm going to make more mistakes in the future. I now try to minimize those mistakes by taking the time to listen and have patience with situations now.
10. Who or what has gotten you through this process?
My wife, family and friends have helped me through my process by being supportive and helping me in any way possible.
11. What does life mean to you now compared to then?
Life means a little more now, since no one knows what the future holds. So with every momentI have in the present, I try to take advantage of it and try to see the positive and love in every situation now.
12. Do you feel that you understand your purpose now? If so, what do you think it is.
No, I don't feel like I understand my purpose now; however, I understand that I have my wife, sons, family and friends that depend on me for a lot of things now.
13. What are you grateful for now, and why?
I'm grateful for life, I know that my time is limited here on this earth. I just want to be the best person I can be. I seriously want to leave the earth knowing that I've made a difference somehow.
14. Being completely transparent, if you could share any words of wisdom with men, husbands, fathers or anyone for that matter; what would it be?
Never take anything that you have for granted. Love and love hard. Never give up on anyone that would never give up on you. We all make mistakes, but it's about what you do after you've made the mistake. Learn from your good and bad times. Cherish each moment because tomorrow isn't promised.
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