Last night was a special kind of horrific. And I got a front row seat.
There was a car accident on I-65. The last driver didn’t make it. I came upon the accident before the emergency services. I did my best to get out of their way. But I watched as the IRT tried to pull him from the car. I saw the flames as the car was consumed. I heard the tires pop and the roof cave in.
I relearned two things then.
DO NOT ride tail on big trucks. It ain’t worth getting there faster.
Be grateful for the little delays that could have been worse things.
Because you know, it could have been me. I’m usually a safe driver, but I wanted to get home last night. I was supposed to feed someone’s cat and that cat, God love him, is a loud little guy. He knows how to get what he wants. Lord, it is so nice not to deal with moped drivers on the daily, but highways are dangerous.
I grew up in a suburb city. I know that your commute gets more dangerous with every interchange you get on. It’s about how many times you have to change lanes. It’s about the decision fatigue.
It also made me a little more grateful.
Grateful for the work that my uncle does as a firefighter. Grateful for the fact that I’m still breathing. Grateful for this new chapter in Nashville that I can be a lot of things that I put off being. Grateful that I do know exactly how my car turns and moves so that I can make it out of the way of big trucks and ambulances that maneuver areas that are like my parents driveway.
Have you reversed a manual up a 45 degree angle backwards with six inches to spare?
Yeah, that kind of narrow.
I spent three years on the road for a full time job, and I can usually tell the good drivers right away.
Back to Gratitude
This morning I did my gratitude like I usually do. But this morning it was a little easier to fill the space that I designate for my first thoughts in the morning.
I do this before I read my scriptures. IF I’m on top of things the night before anyways.
I know that there are some morning routines that put this as part of the routine but they leave it to after pondering the scriptures or getting the coffee going.
I will admit the coffee usually gets made before I do this, but think about how it turns on the parts of my mind that can read and write.
Heck, my morning playlist starts with a form of gratitude. It begins with songs that have given me hope, kept me alive, and gotten me going.
The Special Magic of Gratitude
Gratitude is a super power.
It is a thing that can change the entire moment from one of grief, of knowing the driver did not make it. (I asked when I caught one of the EMS people walking past. Trust me I kind of already knew. There were six fire trucks, two ambulances, eight cop cars, and at least one fire marshal on the scene before we could get past it.
My light sensitivity from an old injury was definitely fried by the time I got home. Thankfully, they turned off the sirens once they got through. My car still smells like the leftover smoke because I was there when the car started to flame. And my air conditioner in the car is… special.
It also makes me wonder about almost three years ago when I was driving through Atlanta and there was a car fire that blocked all five lanes on a Sunday at three p.m. and how annoyed I was about it. And what happened then that I don’t know about.
About who was rushed to the hospital, or there was no rush to the hospital? About the IRT person who couldn’t get someone out of the car? What are they feeling?
Granted in Atlanta, I had four hours done of a sixteen hour drive that would turn into nineteen by the time I was done getting through 500 miles of a rainstorm in February.
Last night, I was six minutes from where I’m staying and I only got antsy the last thirty minutes when I needed to pee.
It also triggered something dangerous…
I have what I like to call ‘What IF’ game that is forbidden and well, for my own good we don’t go down that rabbit hole.
It is the beginning of my depressive cycle and it is the bitch we beat. It’s like the ‘Comparison’ game that some people play that makes them spend more money than they should to keep up with the Jones’.
It basically goes ‘what if…’ and any other possibilty. What if I had gotten through the first time on that light getting on to I-24– that would have put me right where that truck and car were. Especially because it’s close to the exit I would have been taking to get on to another highway. It basically goes on and on until there is no hope or happiness about what is.
It is a literal drag into the past.
And you know what gratitude does?
It keeps that shit in the past and puts me back in the present.
It creates, as Doctor Who fans say, ‘a fixed point in time’.
There are things that we can’t undo. That’s pretty much everything.
But we can move forward and fix things.
That is the thought that I had to realize about six years ago. Life hasn’t been perfect since, far from it.
But can I honestly say that things that should have brought me down, didn’t.
My car accident in 2017 was a massive eye opener to both how much my faith had changed me as well as how much I had grown. I didn’t spend a lot of time asking God why this had happened?
I mean I did, but it wasn’t a ‘why me?’ conversation. It was a ‘what next?’ ‘what are you trying to teach me?’ kind of conversation. I was introduced to a group of wonderful people that I wish I had been more diligent then about still attending when I was back up and running with my work.
That was the 1MillionCups folks, by the way. My humpday happiness shot. There are days when I don’t need it, when I feel like things are going well, and that I show up to give to others. Most of the time, at least right now, this is my ‘energy’ drink. I get the vibe from these professionals that love their work, or at least are working on making it their work and keeps me going.
Even if they out some of my secrets as to why I’m always early… 😀
Find gratitude everyday. Preferably first, after your eyelids open. And log it. I’m not going to tell you to write it down even if I think that is a better way of wiring it into your brain.
It is a game changer.
As always, even if my posting lately has been a little out of sync, find your joy a little at a time.
That’s how we make this life worth living.