I believe that things happen for a reason, that there are no mistakes, and that everything that does happen, happens for your ultimate benefit. After the events of the past two weeks I believe that more than ever, the secret? Learn to look for it. But let me back up a bit and explain.
I must have gotten complacent in my driving, 30 plus years without an accident can do that to you, or maybe my attitude at 50 was. “I’ve survived this long, driving this way, so watch out, here I come!” and that caused the accident that did happen. Traveling to Denver for my job it was late Sunday night after some harrowing delays at the airport, all for a 55 minute flight. But I made it and finally checked into my hotel, tired and hungry. So I headed out again just thinking to get a quick bite. Every time I go to Lakewood, there are new places to eat and as I hurriedly sped down Colfax I spotted a new Cafe Rio and jumped into the next lane to make a quick turn, except there was a car in that lane, albeit in my blind spot, a 130 thousand dollar Mercedes the kind driver was later to tell me. There was damage to both his driver side doors, my front tire blew out. I apologized and made sure he was alright, then we got the Lakewood police and a tow truck on the way. As I sat in the car filling out paperwork, shivering from the early fall frost and making calls to a friendly co-worker to see how the insurance worked on a government rental car, I couldn’t help but to start in on the “Why Me’s?” and “If only’s”. “Why me, Mr. Good Karma, why did I have to wreck my rental car the first night in town?” “If only I had stayed in to eat at the hotel!” “If only I wasn’t in such a damn hurry!” Why?
So we got all the paperwork done and the very nice cop gave me a ride back to my hotel and although weary I couldn’t go to sleep, tons of worries and questions churned through my head with a great deal of regret as well. What would my bosses say? Am I really covered? Will the guy be able to find parts for his super rare car. Will he sue me? The thoughts kept getting worse and worse until finally I took a deep breath and examined each stressful thought with the four questions I learned from Ms Byron Katie at www.thework.com. I have read her books and am getting pretty good at recognizing the falsehood of my stressful thoughts. So eventually I fell asleep. The rest of the week was filled with the training class I was there to take, making tons of phone calls to the police and rental car company trying to get it all straightened out. Stressful week but I noticed something, my driving was much more careful, almost fearful as I would venture out each night for something to eat. It was like I was a new driver again, a healthy dose of fear makes one cautious and fortunately for me it stuck.
The Accident that didn’t happen.
So fast forward two weeks later, I’m back home and it’s my weekend with my three girls, but on this Saturday I have their twin sisters as well, so six of us in one vehicle. We were running errands on a busy Saturday and were just leaving Wal-mart trying to get home for lunch. As usual the traffic was awful as I sat for 3 or 4 minutes waiting to turn left across traffic out of the parking lot. Several cars coming from my left had their turn signals on to turn into the parking lot, here’s my chance I thought, a quick glance to my right and its clear, I only have a second or it will be too late, I start to gun it to get out into the turning lane when a little of the caution I learned in Denver kicks in and I hesitate, just then a car I couldn’t see because it was hidden behind the two turning cars shoots by… like a laser, trying to beat the yellow light to the right. My heart sank, if I would have pulled out that car would have t-boned us hard, hard enough to probably seriously injure my precious cargo. And I understood. I understood how when seemingly bad things happen they are just lessons for us. I understood how it is to be grateful for a “misfortune”. I understood that if I hadn’t had that wake up call in Denver I might be sitting by a hospital bed today or worse attending a funeral. So, yes, I do believe that everything happens for a reason, the trick is to PAY ATTENTION, otherwise the lessons just keep repeating themselves.
The next Monday the rental car company calls me and assures me they will take care of everything, I don’t even have to use my own insurance, this time the price was low and the reward was high, and yes I’m still driving very cautious. A lesson I won’t soon forget…