Monday, September 12, 2016

It Could Have Been Me



"WHAT?  We can't use the air conditioner? Oh great. What a day for this to happen!"
I left it at that. I knew that whining wouldn't help the situation.  It was getting hotter by the hour on that mid-August day. And humid. My husband and I were on a road trip, two hours away from home.


Besides, my chauffeur was already getting stressed. No need for me to add to it. 

Turning the air conditioner off and sweating a little had to be better than the vehicle breaking down on the highway... 

We spent much of our time in nice cool places: restaurant, clothing stores, doctor's office. We didn't get too miserable while traveling to those destinations. Not only did we survive, but we even managed to enjoy ourselves a little. 

I was napping in my passenger seat while en route to the medical clinic. I was jolted awake when the car swerved sharply and suddenly. I opened my eyes to see a red truck almost on top of us, crossing the line into our lane! We avoided a collision, thank God, but it was a very close call! Oh my racing heart!!

We recovered from our near-wreck and made it to the medical appointment. About an hour later, we were headed home.  A few miles down the road, we encountered a traffic jam...

So while everyone else was waiting in their air conditioned vehicles, we turned our engine off and prayed for a breeze. The air was absolutely thick that day! We'd sit for five minutes or so, then we'd be able to move forward a few feet. Then we'd be stuck again for a while. You know the routine.

This traffic jam was in an unusual location and at an untypical time of day. The cars were lined up for about a mile ahead of us, and at first we didn't know what was going on. After twenty minutes of snail-paced creeping and stopping, we saw the reason for our delay.

A chopper was hovering above the highway. It appeared to be up where the long line of cars began. We suddenly realized it was a life flight chopper from the hospital in our city. It would go down low, almost out of our sight, then it would rise again. The pilot was trying to land it to pick up victims of an accident!

Even though I'd been in pretty good spirits all day, I was on the verge of losing my patience. I was beginning to feel a little sickly from the heat too. But then I thought about the significance of that chopper hovering there. It meant there was at least one person who was in critical condition.

Less than two hours before that, I'd awakened to see a truck headed right toward my car door. He missed us by inches!  It then dawned on me- we could have been the people requiring an emergency flight to the hospital! I actually imagined myself bleeding and in pain, being strapped to a stretcher and loaded into the helicopter.

Why did something terrible happen to some unseen strangers that day and not to us?

There are no clear answers for that question. I just know that people are injured or killed in accidents all the time. But for some reason we escaped tragedy.

My true stories almost always include positive life lessons. Sometimes I fear that people will think I'm too Pollyanna-ish. No, that is not the case.

Believe me, I have a B.A. too often. You know, a bad attitude. On road trip day, my attitude happened to be great. Shortly after I had my profound realization about the accident, I knew I wanted to share it on my blog.

Today, a month later, writing this post is helping me recover a better perspective about life. I'd misplaced my perspective a couple of weeks ago due to a hurtful conflict with someone I love.

Just a few days ago, I admitted to myself that I was carrying anger and despair around with me. I blurted out loud "And I really don't even care."

That was the moment I knew I was in a bad place with my bad attitude.  I also knew that I'd better start caring again and lay that baggage down.

I'm reminded today that I am alive and well and I'm still here for a reason. Not that I always understand why things happen the way the do. But I know that reason is not to waste my days wallowing in negative muck and mire. No!

It's time to practice what I preach, even if I need to ask for help to do it. Today is a new day.