Gobsmacked, double plus ungood
I am driving along on my way to Mass at the monastery, preparing to exit from the interstate onto a smaller highway when
A car smashes into the driver’s side of my car, blasting out the window and pushing me onto the shoulder and into the guardrail, from which we both ricochet across three lanes of traffic to end on the opposite service road: she, smashed into the guard rail; me, pulled to a stop facing north about 20 feet away.
Two drivers stop immediately and rush to the other car. I take inventory: I’m alive, nothing hurts, the engine is not smoking. I have automatically brushed some broken glass out of my hair, and have some tiny cuts on my fingers- nothing that a Kleenex won't take care of. I realize that my glasses have been knocked off in the proceedings- a Catch-22 that the desperately near-sighted will appreciate. I’m afraid to move too many things about to look for them, because of the glass scattered across the front seat. Moving very cautiously, I find them on the passenger’s side floor and put them on.
After that, things move in an orderly fashion. One of the helpful drivers assists me out of the car, through the passenger door- mine is fused shut. I phone home- after thirty years, my husband knows that any call that begins “Now, I don’t want you to get upset…” is bad news, but I assure him that I‘m fine and he doesn’t need to rush down. The EMT’s arrive and load the other driver, who they think will be alright, into the ambulance. They give me a cursory checkover and an officer and I determine that my car is driveable. While I wait for the interviewing policeman, I pick the remaining shards of glass out of the window, putting them in a produce bag I happened to have . Picked up two at once at the store and stuffed the second in my bag, for some reason. Random, but useful in the end.
After the police get their information and I’m cleared to leave, I glance at the clock. It’s only 9:09. The whole episode has only taken about half an hour.
I phone home again and tell them that since it’s still early, I’ve decided to go on to Mass. No one thinks this is a very good idea, but I’m determined, though somewhat shaky. By the time I drive to the monastery, walk up the hill and into the abbey, splash some water on my face and throw away my ruined stockings, they are almost done with the consecration. Must have been some short readings and a sketchy little sermon this morning. And while gratitude is my first emotion, because I am deeply thankful to be alive and whole- my second thought is surprising: it wouldn’t have been a bad day to die.
I’ve puzzled over why that was in the following day, and I can only conclude that the spiritual masters are right- if you work at being ready to go, while living as fully as you can at the same time, you just might be.
So, glad to be here, safe and sound. Grateful for the life illustration. Carrying on.