A world can change in a flash. When you least expect it, an event involving only seconds can turn a life upside down and stop you in your tracks, make you rethink your life and your plans and force you to start asking why. “Everything happens for a reason” mystics say. Maybe there is no reason, just an unfortunate situation. The impact of such events can leave you breathless, confused, and angry. “Why did this happen?” we ask, but then after the initial reaction, we go on with our busy lives and never take time to listen for the answer or to recognize the answer when it is right in front of us. Maybe we’re unconsciously scared to hear or see the answer for fear of what we may learn about ourselves. Mystics say that if you don’t learn from your experiences, the universe has a way of bringing situations into your life over and over again until the lesson is learned, a
form of spiritual tough love on our way to awakening and enlightenment. It’s just the way life is. But as time passes and the emotional impact lessens, we think we’re over it. Some
people refer to this as moving on. But is it?
It is another beautiful summer-like morning on highway 43 approaching Smith Falls with voices in the car carefree and laughing. The extended rear view side mirrors reflect approaching cars impatiently pushing closer to be on their busy way. What a humble experience – everyone’s passing this slow cruisin’ rig. No hurry here. There’s plenty of time to get to the appointment. Don’t like the sound of that trailer hitch squeaking though, a metal on metal when turning sharply. Hope it’s not serious. “Nothing to worry about” said one RV’er on the road near Montreal yesterday. “Just get everything tightened up” he continued. No worries here after driving all the miles from Nova Scotia in every possible weather condition. This morning’s drive is pleasant with lots of straight stretches, easy corners, good surface, and wide shoulder with a good view of the surrounding countryside. It’s hard to believe that it’s October with such a warm summer-like sun shining through the car windows and colourful trees with leaves not yet fallen to the ground. Miles of expansive flat fields left fallow flicker passed the window like the lens of a slow-motion camera. Trailer handles well. The car feels luxurious beneath the wheel with its quiet smooth ride. Thank heaven there’s no more wind to be blown around like the harrowing drive a couple of days ago crossing the bridge into Trois Riviere with the narrow lanes, heavy rain and gusty high attitude winds. Never doin’ that route again. Thanks to whoever made that suggestion. Wish all drives were as pale in comparison, like this one.
Beautiful classical music is now playing on the car radio. An occasional hum is perceived in the mix of sound over the drone of the effortless sounding Buick motor. Time seems endless. Conversation is light. There’s some caution as an oncoming pickup truck at the far end of the straight stretch is slightly over the center line. It’s OK; he’ll get it together. Keep an eye on that guy. Gettin’ closer. Come on buddy, pull ‘er back. Shit, he’s way over! Not gonna make it! Pull right! What the hell was that? Passenger screams with the timely loud pop. Oh God, he took the mirror off! He took the dam mirror off! Pull over. Can’t stop here. Too dangerous. Drive further. There’s a spot. Car and trailer pull over and come to a stop on the shoulder well off the road. Don’t believe this. So close, so dam close. A short silence is broken with “Are you all right?” and the passenger nods yes with a deep breath and sigh of relief. More silence. Waiting for the truck to turn around and come back. Where is he? More silence. Can’t see beyond the corner. No signs of the truck. Silence. The dam truck took off! He took off! Get out. Have a look. Shaking. Walk some.
As time passed that morning and the drama unfolded, it became quite clear that this was a near miss head on collision. Both my friend and I felt blessed to be alive. What wasn’t obvious to me at the time of the accident was the extent of the damage to the trailer. I only really heard and felt the mirror on the car popping off during the collision. But once I got out, I realized that the truck rammed into the left front of the trailer leaving a large dent before it completely scraped everything off the side, including most of the panels and all the handles and hinges. The truck had been running so parallel to our opposing path that it was one clean scrape of the whole left side. I stood there in shock, shaking, and in disbelief. In a matter of seconds, I lost my home and almost my life.
It took me a couple of days before I could talk about the accident without breaking down in tremendous grief. I had so much emotional energy invested in the trailer and the entire
journey, and now everything is so uncertain. The truck eventually did turn around that morning and come to where we were parked. The young man driving was also in a state of shock, and his truck was seriously damaged almost to the point of not being able to drive it safely. The police did arrive a short time later after my panicky 911 call, took my statement and assessed the situation. They eventually charged the other driver with reckless driving. By the end of the week, I received a report from the claims adjuster of over $6,000 damage to the trailer. I now await repair before I get my home back, possible court appearance, and an insurance decision as to who foots the final bill.
The lesson for me in all this is not yet apparent because I resist knowing the answer to the question “Why did this happen?” There is a reason. Was it just an unfortunate accident that will make us all go home to count our blessings and forget about it in time? Or could it be yet another life lesson, a gift from the spirit world, a wake-up call trying to impact upon me so that I can progress on my spiritual path, a lesson that my limiting mind cannot grasp. Needless to say, the impact on my life by not knowing with the confusion, grief, uncertainty and loss of freedom is far worse than any possible truth, for mystics also say that the truth will always set you free. We’ll see about that.