I was in a Car Accident Once

I was in a car accident once in which I didn’t sustain any injuries and my car was untouched.  I live about seven easy minutes from my office, and at one point in my tiny commute, I get on the interstate to go up the highway about a mile and a half.  The interchange I use is angled so that the side mirror is not sufficient to see the traffic coming on behind you as you merge onto the highway, and if you literally don’t turn your head and look back, you could be in a world of trouble.  

Well, this one morning I take the interchange and am driving fairly fast, as I have done it a thousand times.  I know the turns and the twists, and I know how to look back at the traffic as I start to merge.  

On this morning, I turn my head and see two cars coming towards me traveling at a much faster rate of speed — the one on the left passing the one on the right.

Only as I turn my head forward, I see death coming right at me in the form of a big blue van hurling like a projectile from the oncoming lanes in the other direction.

This van literally has crashed through the median and is racing out of control directly towards the spot where I will be in a second.  It is vividly clear we both will meet at the same point on the highway at the exact same instant, and I know with absolute certainty all the way to the very core of my being I am going to die!  

Except, as I tighten my hands on the wheel and jam my foot on the brakes, I see from my side vision the two speeding cars passing by me, and, then, in front of me, a convergence of the two cars and the blue van.  I witness first-hand the unholy explosion, and, then, watch in shock as the two cars and the van tumble and split apart, throwing wreckage in every direction.  

My car squeals to a stop in amongst all sorts of crumpled pieces of metal and havoc.  I get out and am in a war zone; people are screaming for help and are horribly broken.  Other people from cars behind me and from the oncoming lanes are running up asking if I’m all right and racing on to help the injured.  

I remember thinking, “thank god, thank god, thank god….”   But why am I thanking god when three families have been torn apart and destroyed.  Am I thanking him for letting me live, or am I thanking him for throwing two cars in front of me.  

Why would god do this?  Why would he save me with two other perfectly good families?  

Shouldn’t I have been saying, “oh god, oh god, what have you done, why have you done this?…”  

Except god didn’t save me and didn’t destroy those people.  It was just pointless utterances of an old fool who lived to tell the tale and was an hour late for work. 

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Categories: Essays

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