Suzanne's Second Estate

A web log of my thoughts, activities, life....

Friday, August 11, 2006

The Interviews: Adam Smouse

I missed a Friday interview when I was out of town last week, but I trust this one was worth the wait. I interviewed 24-year-old Adam Smouse of Portland, Ore. a little over a year ago. Adam’s words impacted me deeply. His is a story of transformation.

On February 22, 2004, as Adam was driving home from college group, an unidentified motorist slammed into the left rear side of his jeep. The impact flipped the jeep multiple times. Adam managed to crawl out of the vehicle, but the impact had shattered every bone in his face. From the article I wrote for Breakaway magazine:

The left side of Adam’s face took the hardest hit, crushing his cheekbone and nose and splitting his skull all the way to the brain, leaving it loose like a flip top.

Adam lost his left eye, and underwent extensive reconstructive surgery on his face. Adam shared with me the intense pain of dealing with the loss of his identity and the peace of accepting God’s plan.

What has been your greatest challenge?

“The single most difficult thing is the fact that I hate the way I look. I wasn’t aware of how I looked for three of four days [after the accident]. They kept me so sedated, that it was the last thing on my mind. I remember the first time I looked in the mirror. There was a ton of swelling. Stitches covered my face. A feeding tube was stitched into my nose. The hardest thing is accepting myself the way I am.”

How did the accident change you?

“The last couple of years I’ve struggled with vanity. I got a lot of attention for the way I looked. I’m a musician, so I got a lot of attention from girls. It went to my head. When the accident happened, I felt like God was pointing right at it. It was blaringly obvious to me. I didn’t have that. I couldn’t be confident in the way I looked. I couldn’t walk around with my head high because I was dressed nice and my hair was cool.

I went through some serious depression. I stayed in my house for almost three months. I did not want anyone to see me, and I couldn’t accept the way I looked. It’s still extremely hard. But God has given me peace. The first time I looked in the mirror even though I was shocked and horrified, I felt like God was holding me, and saying, “It’s OK. It’s not the end of the world. You are alive. I kept you alive. And I’m going to see you through this.”

What was it like when you returned to work?

“I was really scared. As a server, I have to talk to people I don’t know. Just having people look at me is really unnerving. Or having to explain to people when they get up the courage to ask. Being out in public has been an incredibly slow process.”

How has the accident changed the way you view others?

“It’s been a lesson in realizing that the outside doesn’t matter. You hear it all the time. Whatever. It never really meant anything to me. But now that it directly affects me, I realize that it’s true. God doesn’t look at the outside; He looks on the inside. That has taken on a whole new meaning for me in the way I treat people. God’s given me compassion and a thirst to really get to know people.”

How has this experience impacted you?

“This is the worst and best thing that ever happened to me. It has changed my life. My friends say I’m a completely different person. God has given me a quietness of spirit and a deeper thirst for him. If I never told anyone about what God has done in my life, I think it would be tragic. He’s done something so great for me.”

This spring, Adam is attending the Contemporary Music Center. In the future he hopes to release a CD of original songs. “I want to sing about the things that God has taught me.”

When Adam was in the hospital, he read the book of Job. “A verse that struck me was Job 13:15,” he says. “ ‘Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him.’ He’s upheld me. And as long as I’m breathing, I’m going to trust Him in the best way that I know how.”

Adam is a talented musician. Check out his music at


Post a Comment

<< Home