My name is Aaron Tan, and this is my testimony of how God delivered me from what could have been my last day on earth.
Feb 2015: It was just like any other day with school in the afternoon, sports training in the evening, and a good movie with friends to end off the day. After parting ways with my friends when the movie ended, I got onto my motorbike and started to make my way home…
For some reason, I felt particularly tired on that ride home with my eyelids feeling like they weighed a ton. The scarcity of cars on the expressway didn’t help in keeping me alert and awake either. In fact, I had been riding for the past few minutes without a car in sight, so I thought: “what harm could resting my eyes for just 1 second do?”
I remember when I first got my licence, I would always say a prayer of protection before riding off, stay within the speed limit, and keep within my lanes. By 2015, I had been riding for 3 years and things had changed since. I had become a pretty solid rider, so weaving through traffic was easy and I could negotiate bends at good speed (which I’m still proud of). The dangers of riding had also become less apparent to me, as was the pain that skin against tarmac would bring. So, instead of long pants and covered shoes I was always in shorts and slippers. By then, I had also stopped saying my pre-ride prayers. In short, I had become complacent.
At that time, it seemed to me that I had worked out a pretty good plan. I could keep my body upright and centred on the bike with my eyes shut, while the air resistance against the bike would keep the handlebar still. This way, the bike would go straight, and I would be able to catch some rest. Sounds like a terrible idea, but as I said, I had become complacent.
My first attempt was successful though. I managed to ride in a straight line for that one second while my eyes were closed to rest. Whether it really was one second or longer, I wouldn’t know, but I knew I was still in my lane and my eyes did indeed feel lighter. And so, there was a second attempt and a third.
Of course, if things worked out as perfectly as planned, then I wouldn’t have a testimony to share.
I had just passed marine parade exit on the ECP and there weren’t any cars on the road again. So, I decided to close my eyes again. This time, instead of yet another successful attempt, I was to be faced with one of the scariest moments in my life.
When I opened my eyes, I realised I was headed straight into the road shoulder that was by now, only a meter or so in front of me. Time is a funny thing: I could see the road barrier inching closer and closer by the millisecond (literally in slo-mo like in the movies) yet there was no time to react at all (unlike in the movies). No time to jump off my bike, no time to change the course of my direction, no time at all to hit the brakes, as if any of those options would have helped me at that point of time. All I could do was to see the inevitable consequence of my actions unfolding right in front of my face, and quite literally in my face a few moments later.
The scariest part for me, though, wasn’t the impact or the pain that I was expecting. It was more of the helplessness I now found myself to be in. Of course, dying seemed scary as well…
The next series of events happened so quickly that I can’t recall how I landed, where I landed on, how many rolls I took, how many times I hit the tarmac etc. I just remember coming to a stop, opening my eyes, and realising I had survived and I was alive. My arms and legs were bleeding, as was my face. My left ankle was busted and couldn’t take my weight, and a small part of my big toe was “shaved off”. Otherwise, I was perfectly fine, and importantly I had all my limbs and fingers in tact - which is essential for regular functioning, of course, but more so because losing them would spell the end of my sporting career. Every rider knows it’s not a matter of “if”, but “when”, and “how jialat”. Almost every rider I know has been in at least one accident. Some are lucky, and get away with a scratch or bruise, others break bones and lose limbs, while yet others lose their lives. I ended up getting off with a minor surgery to remove a piece of gravel that was stuck in my forearm, a few weeks of changing blood and pus-filled dressings, and a few months of limping around before my ankle was good again. No bones were broken, no head trauma, no internal injuries, so I guess you could categorize me as lucky-ish. Initially, I thought so as well. However, it was not until a few days later when my dad went to see the mechanic that the true extent of how “lucky” I was revealed to me.
It turned out that my bike had broken into two, with the fork having been torn apart from the main frame. The rest of the bike had been compressed so much by the impact that there was no way to salvage it with a few knocks here and there either. In short, it was irreparable and had to be sent to the scrapyard. It was only then that I knew “luck” could not be used to describe, or even begin to take credit for how I managed to walk away relatively scott-free from this accident in comparison to my bike.
It had to be God’s generous protection.
I once read about how the classic song “Amazing Grace” by John Newton is usually a song that sings of the redemptive grace of Christ the Saviour that is shown to sinners like us. However, grace essentially means unmerited favour from God. So perhaps since we are not in control of our living and our dying, then waking up to each new day and returning home safe and sound can also be seen as a gift of grace.
Despite my complacency, despite my stupidity, despite no longer asking for His protection over me… from the depths of His goodness, He still showed grace to me. In light of this, the last part of “Amazing Grace” takes on a different but equally meaningful sentiment, as it has for me since. Praise be to God!
“Tis grace has brought me safe thus far, and grace will lead me home…”