The Second Chance – By Dr. Sameena Khan


Every story begins with “once upon a time” and I have no intention of starting mine differently. Neither do I have patience for the niceties that must go along as the prelude to any story. I’d therefore like to get started. So here is how it goes:

Once upon a time, there lived a family (they still exist, by the way). They were an ordinary family, like every other that lives on the face of the earth. They had their happy moments and sad ones, they loved and the fought but whatever the circumstances, they were always there for each other. The father and mother adored their three children. The children in turn, loved, respected and cared for their parents. Like any other family, they nagged and complained about each other. They would find faults and would then forgive. So everything went fine in their lives. Nothing perfect, just fine. Until one day, it all changed. For the better. They were driving back home from the mall during the Eid holidays. The brother was behind the wheel. He always was a careful driver, never reckless.A car swept past him at lightning speed on the highway, hitting the corner of the car’s bumper he was driving. The car shook. He panicked, and tried to duck the car away. The car hit the four feet tall concrete median strip on the road and rolled. Once. Twice. Sending sparks in the air, forcing the drivers behind to screech their cars to hit the brakes. And then the car rolled a third time before coming to a halt. The onlookers could only see a mangled mess of metal, and dreaded to find bloodied bodies inside it. The ones inside, the family, were in a trance. They did not know if they were alive or the sense of awareness came from their souls in lieu of moving on to the next life. Then the brother beckoned the others to get out of the car before it caught fire. The onlookers on the road pulled the already smashed windscreen apart and made way for the passengers to evacuate. They were all safe. Nobody who saw the destroyed vehicle could believe that anyone had gotten out of it alive. Yet here was the family. Barely with few scratches. It was a miracle. The same week the newspapers reported four cases of road accidents and even though they were less severe than this one, all the passengers in those accidents were killed.

I am one of the survivors of that grisly accident. And the above story is the account of that fateful night when my family went through one of the most spiritually enlightening experiences of our lives. We were thankful to the Lord Almighty for saving us, yet it gave us shivers to think that few others were not destined to live through that week and were to die through the same means that we survived, without any major injury. It was a perplexing question. A dilemma. Were we more special to The Creator? Did He love us more than the others? In the days that my family recovered, we began to grow closer to one another. We began to care more for one another. We constantly kept reminding ourselves of those few minutes which could have wiped out our lives and made us mere memories and we would feel thankful for being alive. We would count each new minute in our lives as a blessing, as a comeback to do everything we did not do before. To correct our mistakes. To mend relations. To tell each other that their love is beyond perfection and far outweighs any faults that they might have. Every recollection of those few minutes inside that rolling car made us more aware of our imperfections, of our ingratitude to Our Creator, of how we thought we were so right, but in reality, we were not. It brought the realization that had we all died that night, our lives would have been inconsequential, even for ourselves. This is when we realized that this was indeed a second chance for us. That the accident did not happen without a reason, and it was not meant for us to be killed because it was meant for us to learn a valuable lesson. And that lesson is that the clock of life is ticking away, that death is certain. And that we only have today, we only have now to do the right things for our family, our friends, our society and ourselves (spiritually). And further, that there might not be a tomorrow to mend things. To set our affairs straight. My family was blessed to have that tomorrow. And we learned to show gratitude for that. We never regret that accident. We call it the most blessed incident of our lives because we all came out alive of it and came out of it as better people.

We call it our SECOND CHANCE, given by our Creator to be better human beings.

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