“I wanted a motorcycle. Two weeks ago I was driving a friend’s motorcycle back from Destin to Pensacola to test it out. I made a right-hand turn and collided with a car coming from the other direction. I don’t remember everything about the impact, but I remember being surrounded immediately by people trying to take care of me. Everyone stopped because it was clearly a bad wreck and something was wrong with my leg. There were people tending to me and people behind them praying over me. From the moment I had the wreck, God and his angels were surrounding me and I knew I was going to be okay. I was not wearing a helmet and having zero injuries to my head and neck is a miracle. My uncle was following me and said I made two summersaults in the air and came down on the pavement. I don’t remember that. My sunglasses shattered when my head hit the hood.
I rode a motorcycle when I was a younger man and took a motorcycle safety course about a month ago. That was my first time on a motorcycle since the course and when I ride 20 years ago. The entire ride was beautiful and glorious and everything I hoped it would be. If I would have had the wreck and broken my arm or minor injury, I would have been right back on. But what if this accident and losing my leg saved me from a more serious crash later?
I know tragedy. We all do. I had a good childhood with loving parents, but I was sexually abused by an older male when I was a preteen. That went on for a few years and warped me and made things dark for me. I didn’t get help and started acting out. I became unhinged when the girl I was seeing got pregnant. Her parents took her away for an abortion and I never saw her again. I loved her and made the decision that I was not going to let anyone get close to me again. I started using drugs and people and the downward spiral began.
During my college years I lost the power of control. I was going to use every day no matter what. I withdrew from college and couldn’t keep a job or relationship. But I partied like a rock star. I had a significant arrest in November 2004 and my face was on the front page of several newspapers throughout Alabama. I stayed in jail for two or three weeks and made a commitment to quit get clean, but the day I was released I was high before the sun went down. I didn’t know how to quit. I had another significant arrest in February 2005 and went to jail. My mother picked me up and said she was taking me to treatment in Atlanta. That was my only option. I was looking at serious prison time, so I went. I have not had a drug or drink since then.
I have spent the last years growing spiritually and trying to be a better man. Trying to be the opposite of the person I was. In rehab, I kept hearing about God and a higher power and didn’t go for it. They finally said you don’t have to believe in the God you grew up with, think of what he means to you today. That opened my eyes and gave me the freedom to find God for myself. I started living honestly and stopped being selfish. Good things came as a result of that. They started dropping charges because I was living my life in a different way. I knew this was not of me, but a bigger power. I started learning more about God and the truth of who he is.
Recovery is still a part of my life. From the moment I went into a room for a 12-step recovery, I was surrounded by men who walked up and hugged my neck. They said ‘thank God you are here. We need you.’ I had never had someone tell me that. I owe my recovery to them, now I have to pay it forward and give it to others. I am helping five or six guys right now. When they are about to give up, I tell them don’t quit before the miracle happens. I have friends who hear my story and say they can’t imagine me doing all of those things. Well thank God, because it is all real. The grace of God means a guy like me can go from where I was to where I am now.
I met my wife when we were working at a nursing home and she was the prettiest thing I had ever seen. We went on a couple of dates. I told her about my past and she wasn’t scared of me. She saw there were warning flags, but I didn’t seem like that man anymore. She respected the honesty and said I let her make the decision if it was something she could handle. It hasn’t been all rainbows and unicorns, but times like this let me know what a blessing my wife is from God.
I have a life I couldn’t have expected. I have a wife who loves and respects me and eight children. We are a blended family and the kids range from ages three to 21. I wouldn’t have it any other way.
I don’t like being in this bed and dependent on others caring for me, but I am being sustained, strengthened fed by prayers from around the world. I have a friend who is a priest in Nigeria and they hold mass for me. Friends in India and Australia have been showering me with messages of prayer and hope. It is humbling.
I met my friend Sage during recovery. After the wreck, he immediately set up a GoFundMe account. It is going to the cost of the prosthetic leg and the modification needed on my house so I can live there again. The love and support has been overwhelming. It is a long process of getting a new leg. The stump has to heal and then they shrink it to a manageable size
I have learned that people of faith can go through a tragedy and look back and see that it prepared them for something else. They can be grateful for the tragedy and see how it helps them helps someone else. It is usually gratitude in retrospect. I now have gratitude in real-time and can say thank you God for whatever you are preparing me now. Tragedies can be a time of hope instead of darkness. We can inspire and lift up each other. A guy saw my video after the wreck and he said it saved his life. It gave him hope and stopped him from suicide. That is good enough.”
(Here is the link to Zac’s GoFundMe: https://www.gofundme.com/f/zac-mccay?utm_source=customer&utm_medium=copy_link-tip&utm_campaign=p_cp+share-sheet)