Occasionally a Retelling client wants to write his own story. We can follow up to keep him writing, provide advice on story structure, edit, design the cover, print it and get it listed on Amazon. Ben Hylden, although a busy college student, completed writing the story that dramatically changed his life. He now speaks widely and sells his book, a story of tragedy, recover through major set-backs, and the power of faith.
April 6, 2007, Good Friday, started out as a normal spring day. A sophomore at Park River High School, I woke up early to finish all my chores on the farm a mile from our house. At noon I headed back home to change clothes and get ready for my physical therapy appointment to treat an injury I'd sustained playing basketball. Even though I didn't have much time, I decided to take a few extra minutes to try on my suit coat to make sure it fit well for our upcoming prom. As I passed the farm on my way into Park River, my sister was still there. She had always reminded me to wear my seat belt, but she told me later that she regretted forgetting to remind me that day. But I never listened to her anyway.
Since I was running late, I took an old back road that I used to make up time, usually when I was late for school, which was often. It was the quickest way into town since I could go as fast as I wanted. The weather was pretty cold that day, which is normal for North Dakota in early April, so the roads were half frozen over with ice. I decided to slow down a little from my usual 70-75 miles per hour to only 60 mph.
I drove an old Buick Le Sabre that tended to accelerate even when I wasn't pressing on the gas. As I as driving by the pasture where we keep our cattle in the summer, the car accelerated and I started to swerve. I tried to regain control, but I couldn't steer the car on the ice. I was now in panic mode; I didn't know what to do. I hadn't slowed down because I expected to manage the spin; consequently I flew 60 miles per hour into an approach.
As I hit, my head slammed against the steering wheel, deploying the air bag. When it popped open, all of the gunpowder inside it burned my left forearm. The gear-shirt stabbed into my right leg, and the windshield caved in on me. I was terrified; it all happened so fast.
I wasn't wearing my seat belt, of course, so as my car flipped several times I flew out of the passenger door head first into the half frozen field, slamming the left side of my face into the ground.
Not knowing where I was, I lay there in extreme pain, feeling like I'd been hit by a train. My entire body hurt. My face felt like it was crushed from the inside out. I had bitten through my tongue, so I was constantly swallowing blood as I lay there on my back. My leg felt like it had been stabbed all the way through. In a few moments my eyes and face swelled up so badly I couldn't see any more. I was alone and there was no one to help me.
Or so I thought....