I had a car accident on Saturday afternoon at 1:17 after I had a glorious, serene walk in the woods at Sharon Woods. I was driving on Maple Canyon road across Dublin Granville Rd with a green light and a car came across the service road and was right in front of me. I braked hard and fast but I still hit the car and damaged both cars.
There were a lot of "at leasts" in this event. At least the police were right and saw everything. At least no one was hurt. At least my car was driveable. At least I have good insurance. The other driver who - still believes he had the right of way! - did not have insurance and neither did his girl friend whose car he was driving. But it has all been manageable.
So on Monday morning I called my insurance and got the names of suggested body shops and Chuck has gotten us three quotes and soon my car will be repaired.
I have learned some new information since then. Monday the accident report was filed and I was immediately inundated by phone calls from body shops offering to give me quotes and work it so I either got cash back or did not have to pay my deductible. Also chiropractors have been calling as well. And every day in the mail there are more advertisements from attorneys. (yesterday there were 5!) This has all been a revelation to me that there is such a strong industry in guiding people in how to get the most from their insurance. Or to sue other people. The whole thing makes me very uncomfortable. It seems like the dark underbelly of what can be tragic circumstances in a person's life.
Yesterday I was in the car stopped at a light at the corner of Karl Road and 161 and heard in the distance the faint sound of an ambulance. I felt my whole body tighten as I opened the windows. I could not at first determine where the ambulance was coming from - behind me? beside me? Where was it? Finally it came into view and I waited while it sped by. when I saw there were no more emergency vehicles coming I went on my way.
I think part of the aftermath is that I feel kind of jumpy and unsure. The reality is that we cannot control everything that is happening to us when we are driving. There are a lot of reasons why accidents happen and often we cannot prevent them. We just have to experience them. Deal with them and keep going.
And, of course, I am thinking about more than just car accidents. I am face to face with the basic instability that is part of every person's life. The reality is that there is so much that we cannot control and what I keep learning is that all I can do is TRY to live in the present and experience it fully. Seeing what is beautiful as well as what is not. And choose to trust that God is present in all of it - loving, healing and guiding. That is what gives me peace.
Before the accident when I was walking in the woods I was listening to a book by Pema Chodren. She was writing about the process and the gift of equanimity which - ironically - I really felt I experienced in that moment. But what I know is that these peaceful feelings are wonderful as long as they last - until the next hard occasion. But they will return again as I return to life giving practices.
Here is a wonderful quote by Pema Chodren
“Things falling apart is a kind of testing and also a kind of healing.
We think that the point is to pass the test or to overcome the problem, but the truth is that things don’t really get solved.
They come together and they fall apart.
Then they come together again and fall apart again.
It’s just like that.
The healing comes from letting there be room for all of this to happen:room for grief, for relief, for misery, for joy.”
― Pema Chödrön,