There was a car accident today.
I know, unfortunately, that doesn’t seem too out of the ordinary these days, but this one stuck out to me. Maybe it was because it caused a detour in my plans to go to Target (yeah, probably had something to do with it). So, while I sat in my car for a solid hour, I had a lot of time to think and here is what I was thinking…
There was a car accident today. It was right off the highway exit going West so the Police Storm Troopers and Firefighters closed it off and everyone had to either stay on the highway or take the East exit. The highway going North obviously became backed up, same with the East exit. The main road that the exit spits you out at – West End – was also bumper to bumper traffic.
I was very determined to get to Target so I took the East exit and then a left onto Murphy Rd through the neighborhoods. All the detoured cars had the same idea and so, as you can imagine, there were cars EVERYWHERE. It seemed that no matter which direction I turned, there was traffic. It was like Car Fan Fair except nobody was very happy to be there.
It’s fascinating how ONE person’s decision can have such a rippling effect on hundreds of complete strangers in a metropolitan city.
I think life works this way too.
We justify our bad decisions. “It’s my life, I can do what I want to” seems to be the theme song we sing, but what is important to realize is that our bad decisions have repercussions. And from that, the rippling effects can look an awful lot like a bad traffic accident.
I don’t know the person’s story who was driving that car today. Maybe he/she had a spider on the dashboard, maybe he/she was texting, maybe he/she just took their eyes off the road for a split second and then…What I do know is that this person is currently standing in front of their car, re-telling the story to the officers on the scene, completely unaware of the massive Armageddon traffic jam their ONE decision has affected everyone else’s day.
When something similar like this happens in our personal lives, it’s hard to see the mess we’ve made around us because we’re focused on the mess of the scene. But I wonder, if we were able to look up, look around and see how our actions have affected others, would we still do it? Would we stop hurting ourselves so that we wouldn’t accidently hurt someone else in the process?
Sometimes I get in bad moods. I know, I know, it’s hard to believe. When I’m in my bad mood, I’m frustrated and my patience is at a very low zero. There have been times when I’m in my Hulk persona that I will be careless in what I say to another person. Now, imagine that person taking in what I said to them and turning around, going home and snapping at their roommate. This roommate then goes to work the next day, slightly annoyed and makes a sarcastic comment toward her coworker. And the cycle continues, and goes on and on until the SkyCam shows that what we’ve got now is a massive Armageddon traffic jam.
There’s a guy I know who drinks in the mornings. He doesn’t think it’s a big deal or if he does, he doesn’t let on that he does. His kid sits at the kitchen table munching on cereal as he pours himself a glass from the nearest bottle. When I start zooming out of that scene, I wonder if it looks a lot like that exit ramp on West End where the person is explaining the story and trying to deal with the problem at hand. And because they’re not aware of their surroundings, they have no idea all the hurts and the frustrations they are causing to the people around them.
That’s the thing about life. You can never just hurt yourself and have that be it. Whether we like it or not, what we do, what we say, how we live, inevitably affects the people around us.
I did a little amateur map of the accident and from what I know were the areas affected by it. The blue dot on the right is where the accident occurred and the streets in red are the ones with bumper to bumper traffic jams. I even circled Target in yellow so you can see where I was supposed to go.
I don’t know where you are on this road. Maybe you’ve found yourself in a wreck and you’re not quite sure where to start fixing it. Maybe you’re stuck in the middle of a traffic jam because of someone else’s mistakes. Wherever it is you are, know that there is always hope. Traffic jams always clear, insurance claims always work themselves out. And life is a lot like that too. Pain heals, forgiveness gets extended, whatever it is, remind yourself it’s not too late for you. You are going to get through this and your story will not end while you’re at a standstill.
So, don’t panic. Turn up the music in your car maybe even sing at the top of your lungs. Life is too short not to see hope in the traffic. Take a deep breath and enjoy the ride.