I was in a car accident yesterday. Because it was my first, I was terrified and had no idea what to do. I currently work about an hour away from home and have a long morning and afternoon commute. I was on my way home yesterday when a van in the lane next to me shifted into my lane. Without giving me time to get ahead or behind them, the van kept coming and ran me off the road. I tried to shift to the left to get safely away from him, but went into the median in the center of the highway and could not correct the steering back into my lane. I lost control of my car and violently shook to the left and right. Eventually, my car spun out into the bowl-like median between the north and south highways. I turned completely around and sped into the south highway, facing north. Thank God no cars were coming in the south lanes at the time. However, I nearly flew off into a ravine and was able to break and stop mere feet away from it.
A cop just happened to be on his way home at the time and saw me within a minute or two f the accident. As well, a nice young man stopped to check on me. The police officer helped me to calm down and had me explain what had happened. The state patrol had to come out because it was on a highway and they, too, were very helpful. When they left, I was able to drive my shaky car back to the shop my husband and I use for car repairs. I made it out alive, without a scratch (just an extremely sore neck), and the car sustained minimal damage.
It was probably the single scariest moment of my life, to date, when my car spun around through the ditch-like median into a highway where oncoming traffic could have killed me. After I calmed down and my head stopped spinning and my hands stopped shaking…I had an overwhelming sense of thankfulness and gratitude. My life had been spared. I did not even have any injuries. I was alright. When I called my poor husband to tell him, he asked me what road I was on. I was so addled, that I accidentally told him the wrong highway. He left work and drove all the way to another town to the east and did not find me. We finally realized I had told him the wrong road and he met me at the car garage.
I realize it is entirely trite and cliche to say that I have a new perspective on my life after the accident, but I honestly do. The police officer intimated to me how lucky and fortunate I was to be alive and unhurt. It really hit me hard. I could have died. If there were cars coming in the opposite side of the highway, not only would I have been hurt, but they would have as well. The van sped off and did not even stop to see what had happened. I am not angry at them–accidents happen. It would have been a nice gesture, though. As a Christian, I realize that dying would not have been a terrible thing– I would have gone to be with the Lord. However, while the world was spinning outside my car windows and objects flew around the interior of my car…I had the distinct thought…”I might die.” It was a sobering notion.
I went home happy and thrilled to be alive. A strange sense of permeating peace settled over me and I relaxed. At home last night, I rested in the knowledge that I am not finished here. There are many more experiences I will and hope to have. I am so privileged to be on this earth for a while longer. I am so thankful I did not leave my husband a widower. I am grateful that no one was hurt in the accident. Sure, it is inconvenient to only have one car to drive when a husband and wife work an hour apart. But, even in that, we are blessed. We have another car. Some people are not as fortunate as we. And I am thankful that, even though we’ll have to share it for a while, we will be able to get where we’re going.
So, today, with a sore neck and a quiet sense of happiness and peace, I am simply living. I am enjoying the sounds of my students working on their tasks. I am enjoying the sunlight falling on the chair in the corner of my classroom. I am enjoying my life, because today, more than ever, I am aware that it is a tremendous, miraculous gift.
What experience in your life has opened your eyes to the impermanence and preciousness of life?