Imagine yourself driving down a beautiful country road in the late summer sunshine – suddenly your car enters an uncontrollable skid and heads straight into the ditch. There’s nothing you can do to stop it.
The car hits the bank with a crunch and lurches into a roll. As you are flung upside down you have a moment of clarity “I’m not ready to die”. You cling onto consciousness as the car rolls back over and comes to a halt.
The car is ruined and smoke is pouring from the engine – quick get out.
You test your fingers, toes, legs, arms; it’s a miracle everything seems to be working. Your head is groggy and your neck is in agony, but most importantly you’re alive.
How do you feel?
It really, really, really could happen
This was my experience just under 2 weeks ago on holiday in France. My wife and I were driving to the supermarket and on a patch of temporary road surface.
We were driving carefully, and the skid just happened – a freak accident.
Miraculously, we both walked away from our rolled car and sat dazed as humanity kicked into action.
People stopped to help. The police, fire brigade and ambulance arrived on the scene to take care of us.
We were whisked off to hospital and checked out – whiplash, bruises and an unsurprising dose of shock. The car was cleared away.
The next day we were home in the concerned care of our families, who were amazing.
Within 10 days our sore necks are healing, our headache gone, and the shock is diminishing. The human body doing what it does best.
How was it for you?
Reflecting on this now, I realise that this is one of my nine lives used up. This was my first “I’m not ready to die” moment.
We could have been going much faster, been on a mountain pass (we’d driven up lots of those), gone straight into a tree or oncoming traffic.
We were remarkably lucky to walk out in one piece.
Life is Precious
Realizing this reinforces my viewpoint that life is precious and needs to be lived to the full.
In 2 seconds life went from business as usual to in peril.
It definitely made me realize that there is no point in putting things off.
Our Amazing World
I also got an insight into the amazing human world we’ve created.
We were 2,000 miles from home without a mobile phone, passport or driving license (lesson learned for next time) in a country whose language we can just about get by in.
Within a minute we were being helped by the first couple to drive by. Then the human systems we’ve created kicked in to treat us, protect others from harm, clear away the problem.
There must have been 20 people involved in making this happen on a random Saturday afternoon in the countryside.
For all the complaining that goes on about the state of modern life, this is a true testament to the amazing things we often take for granted.
Once home, our families have showered love and concern on us and have really been amazing.
I want to thank everyone from the bottom of my heart.
Last, I’ve renewed my admiration for the human body and nature in general.
The first few days and nights were complete agony and I was concerned that I might have done myself some permanent damage.
Yet every day the recovery has been remarkable and rapid beyond expectation.
My mind has really worked hard to come to terms with the shock and the psychological impact as well. There have been some bad dreams and some tears.
Yet, I’m already starting to feel at peace with what happened. In a strange way, I’m grateful for it.
Having this accident has helped me put my life in a better perspective, increased my gratitude for the world and the amazing power of people.
Over to you
Have you had experiences that have shaped your perspective on the world? What happened? How did they affect you?
Tracy Todd also had a car crash and suffered paralysis. Her brilliant writing and life are an inspiring example of how to see the positive in every situation.
Photo Credit: Marianne O’Leary (Flickr Creative Commons)
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