PREPENT5771: DAY 4, Friday 8:13 Nothing's Accidental?
by Amichai Lau-Lavie
Friday August 13, 2010
There’s no such thing as an accident, goes the popular expression. But does that include actual accidents? Is a rupture of the regular part of the Plan? (What plan? What’s regular?) This one happened very fast. My first car accident. Late last night, right outside the Denver airport, the car in front of us suddenly slows, and the next thing I know there’s screeching brakes, airbags, a collision. Then the domino effect of these 5 seconds of confusion: police, paramedics, halted traffic, lots of questions, forms to fill, flashlights. Could have been way worse: None seriously hurt, no damages, no ticket and all fully insured. Everybody being helpful and kind. One cop even offered a ride to the airport, another first for me last night – riding in the back of a police car, chatting casually with officer Jack about the merits of late night shifts - “way more action”. Naomi also gets a first – riding in the back of an ambulance to get checked up in a nearby hospital. She’s sore, but there’s no injury. Thank God. And thank God for airbags. And seat belts, kind people, luck. Thank God. Period. Roadside crisis is when these sentiments and expressions are firmly present. The other driver and I part ways with “God bless you” and a hug. Afterwards there’s lots of time for somber reflection. What happened, how, how could it have been avoided, and what does this accident tell me, teach me, how does it wake me up to be more present, 100% focused, all the time. I started this 40 days journey of getting ready for the Day of Judgment, the ritual of ‘what if I were dead tomorrow’, and just as the third day ends there’s this brush, if gentle, with that brutal inevitability, a close call. And if there really are no accidents, then this one, too, is a lesson from beyond, a part of some plan for improvement, for progress? A Wake up call? At the very least: a reminder to take nothing for granted; be more grateful, more careful, more here and now.
And now, back home to NYC.