September 28, 2012

A Car Accident

 "The long, winding road home. It leads me to your door... 

crying for the day... Hey Jude!" Paul McCartney

The other day I came to an intersection in my town and observed while waiting at a very long light, a car accident. There were no fatalities, no apparent injuries. The cars were in the process of being towed; the occupants stood at the side of the road, alternately being interviewed by the police and looked wide-eyed and dazed. A police officer was orchestrating the traffic around the mishap at rush hour.

Often we have a certain reality of how the world is and how it must work, how it should work. Then something jolts us, violently even, to our fuller senses, like a car crash. Even a "fender bender" is stressful. An accident such as a high speed collision, a roll over or a side impact or a tire blowout are all potentially fatal occurrences. The stress level can become very high, as a survival instinct, like fight or flight. I noticed the young men involved. Clean cut, they appeared to be university students; one was wearing clothing suitable for a Judo or Aikido class. His companion clutched some folders and notebooks to his chest and stared about vacantly. The other driver was equally vacant, seated on the grass also staring into space. The apparent passenger(s) spoke to the police.

It was striking how they appeared so befuddled, so vacant, these competent, intelligent, university men. Their world as they knew was suddenly altered; their stress and ability to cope was challenged. In the blink of an eye, their everyday existence, their ideas and values were laid out on the pavement. Their (former) car was destroyed. Taking it all in so suddenly was extremely stressful. Who could think otherwise? In an instant they were forced to speak about their vehicle in the past tense, their intended activities were possibly quite lame. It was suddenly a greater, wider reality: survival.

Reminded once again about how small and fragile each one of us are in this vast world, under great, blue skies, I thought about no matter how we get there, to the place of ungroundedness, there is always some help to secure our foundations, to establish our mooring; we have one another and each other. It is love that makes the day liveable and love that brings us close once more.
For those men involved in the accident under great, sudden stress, no doubt their loved ones were most on their minds, and they, those loved, were soon to express their own horror at the possibility of the loss of each other.
The tow truck finished its work; the policeman re-opened all lanes now that the debris was removed. The traffic moved on. It was all in a day.

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