It is easy to forget how fragile life is as we rush from one commitment to the next. But a few weeks ago, I had a reminder:
I made the mistake of trying to drive across town after a Badger game. The Badgers are the University of Wisconsin's football team and Badger games are major events in this town, where the stadium seats 80,000 fans. I live a little more than a mile from the stadium, and I know enough to stay put on game days. But last Saturday, I really wanted to attend a meditation group on the other side of Madison.
It quickly became clear to me that the traffic was impossibly thick and there was no way I'd get to my event in time. So I drove around block and headed back home. I thought I was through the worst of it
when a SUV ran a stop sign and crashed into my beloved little car:
The hulking vehicle hit the driver's side broadside. If I had been three feet further into the intersection, I'd be dead. The other driver was very nasty -- until the police arrived. I think I shook for two days. Let's face it, Americans die on the road every day.
I always worry that I'll space out for a second and have an accident. I can't imagine living with the guilt of hurting or killing someone. However, the driver of the SUV bolted into a very busy intersection. The roads were in near-gridlock. This was a very deliberate attempt to somehow jump ahead of the other cars. This was not an "accident' in the true sense.
Of course, the irony of getting hit when I was trying to get to meditation is obvious. I think the other driver should do some meditation! I can't do anything about the other party, but I hope that I've become a more mindful driver.