Saturday, March 15, 2014

I Could Have Died

I was driving in a snowstorm last night, having brought my friend back to her home in the next town over after having her over for dinner and a visit. I'd made most of the trip without issue, and I was coming up on the outskirts of my town. Large wet flakes were falling from the sky, and the highway was completely covered. Visibility was extremely poor. My speed was well below the limit and I was being careful. That didn't make a lick of difference.

It happened instantly. One second, everything was fine. The next the world was spinning around me as my vehicle slid in circles. Blood rushed hot in my veins as I lifted my foot from the gas pedal and did my best to steer away from hazards. I watched the snowy landscape flash past in my headlight beams, praying all the while that I wouldn't fly into a light post or a deep ditch or another vehicle.

That there was no one driving towards me, and no one close behind, is something for which I am deeply grateful. My van eventually slowed and skidded into a fat snowbank on the side of the highway. I was able to just drive right out and come home. But it could have been so very, very different. I could have died.

That's something of which I've always been conscious. It only takes a split second, a chance happening, and a life is snuffed out, or destroyed forever. As I gripped my steering wheel and did my best to control my runaway vehicle, I had an image flash back to me.

A few weeks ago I was driving to school one morning and passed a truck being pulled from the ditch. It had rolled, at least once, as it went over. The cab and the hood were crumpled and crushed, as if a giant fist had smashed down on it in anger. I could picture my own van, upside down in a ditch, lights muffled in the snow. Injured and bleeding out. And no one would know I was there.

I know still that I could go out today, and that could happen again. And it might not go as well as it did last night. I could let fear cripple me. Some people can never drive again, after being in an accident. But I can't live like that. My eyes were forced open again, to reality. I can just hope that I make the most of it, that I don't let good things pass me by for fear. I've lived in fear of so many things for too long. It's time to stop that. Because do I really want to die, having been too afraid to go out and get the things I want? Hell no. I'm still afraid though, of all the stupid little things. Even after all that.

A year ago, I was afraid. Afraid of what might be, and what might not. I had big decisions to make. Eventually, I pushed that fear aside and took the plunge. And now here I am, so grateful and happy that I did. It's time I get to know that brave woman again, find out why I let her slip away. I could have died. And that brave woman would not be happy with me for how I've been living. I could have died.

So there's no sense living paralyzed in fear, because that's next to death. But I am alive! No more sleep-walking through life. No more fear. I have a gift, we all do, and there's no sense in wasting it. Cheers...

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