Sunday, November 29, 2015

That sinking feeling ...

... when you are first told that one of your children has had a car accident, is only slightly tempered by the fact that it is their own voice that is breaking the news. Even so, it is another reminder of how tenuous our grip on life actually is - we like to pretend that life can be 'managed', that we can sanitise it from interruption - accidental or otherwise; that in short we can be 'safe'. It's a myth. Living is risky, sometimes dangerous. Even something like a sightseeing helicopter flight over a glacier can never be totally 'safe' (one crashed earlier this week).

Anyway, we got the call and a couple of anxious hours later child walks through the door looking a bit worse for wear, but still standing, still walking. Thank God.

Annette and I drive to the crash site to secure anything that may have been left in the car, and we find an unrepairable wreck. A list of things to be thankful for quickly begins to emerge:

  • We are thankful that he was able to walk away from the mess and wasn't carried.
  • Thankful that it wasn't the cast iron power pole that brought the car to a halt.
  • Thankful that in crossing the road, he missed the oncoming traffic and that no one else was hit or hurt.
  • Thankful that falling asleep at the wheel wasn't the result of hard partying, but from working 16 of the last 24 hours as a hospital nurse. 
  • Strangely, I can't even feel mildly upset about the loss of the car; just thankful that it did its job of holding together well enough to protect the driver. It was a good car.

Life is very precious, abundant in its generality but unique in its individuality. There are no guarantees - every day is a gamble; a new hand of cards. Sometimes the only way to beat the odds is by knowing when to fold - please don't drive tired.

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