Sunday, October 10, 2010

Angels Watching Over Me

I was driving yesterday to a women’s retreat with a friend in the passenger seat and my daughter in the back seat. As I approached a busy intersection with a green light and traffic flowing, I was chatting with my friend but somehow saw in my peripheral vision a car coming towards the intersection from the left. The car did not appear to be slowing down. Without even thinking I slammed on the brakes as hard as I could. I didn’t even have time to say anything. The car zoomed by inches in front of my bumper and slammed full speed into the front end of the black SUV moving past me on my right, pushing it across two lanes into a van coming the other way.

In that calm way we have when our brains have not had time to process what is happening, I pulled over and got out to see if anyone was hurt while my friend dialed 911. Fortunately, there were no serious injuries. The driver who caused the accident by running the red light looked blankly at me. “I wasn’t paying attention,” she said softly.

Soon we continued on our way. It didn’t take long before my brain, fueled by adrenaline, began to catch up and play what if. A few seconds. A failure to see or to react. Not having anti-lock brakes. The other car would have crashed into the driver’s door. My door. Instead of going to the retreat for a relaxing weekend in old growth forest by the riverside, ....

Now I’m back home and reflecting on all the cliche things we think about after a close call like that. I’m going to hug my kids, treasure every moment, not sweat the small stuff, stop to smell the roses. You know the list. But beyond the reordering of priorities, I keep coming back to the inner conviction that I was being protected. I would like to tell you that I have superhuman vision and awareness, and faster than light reflexes, but of course I don’t. Something happened at that intersection that I just can’t explain.

Call me crazy, but I felt the presence of my mom, not a common experience in all the years since she died. In fact, not an experience I’ve had even once. Just an effort to make sense of a random occurrence? Sure, that’s possible. Furthermore, why would I warrant some divine assistance when the other drivers didn’t? Were their guardian angels on a coffee break? I’m certainly no more deserving than anyone else, and less deserving than most.

Maybe an accident just wasn’t in my spiritual lesson plan yesterday. Maybe my lesson was about remembering and reconnecting. Thanks, Mom.

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