Accidents have this way of orienting (or re-orienting) our perspective in such significant ways. I had a bit of an accident yesterday… though, I suppose for someone with an older body, it would be considerably more than a bit. Walking down the old decaying fallen tree to the river for some early morning fishing, I found myself slipping off the frost covered log and crash, crash, crashing onto the lava rock below. I suppose crash is the right word, as I had my fishing pole in one hand and that along with the “Shit!” and “Dammit” coming from below the log were all anyone would have heard. At 6am on a 35 degree “summer” morning, however, there was no one in sight.
After saying a prayer of thanks, for no broken bones, I said to myself, “There is no way in Hell I am going back home… I suppose I should see if I can fish.” And what a beautiful, mystical time it was, with the mist coming off the river and the deer swimming and the water moving amongst the fallen logs and my fingers freezing and my body aching. Woodpeckers, robins, red-tailed hawks, black-headed grosbeak, ducks. I was part of it.
And today, I question myself. Wondering what I offer the world in my reading, writing, counseling, coffee-dates, fishing, and prayer. In my morning prayers, the man in my mind’s eye (perhaps myself to the world) says, “I am not YOU.” And it is true, I am not every other person with their 9 to 5, their mortgage, and their busy lives.
I know at some point our beautiful car, the first thing that we have bought as a family, was in an accident. Looking at it, it would be hard to believe, and some say I should watch out because it might not be safe. I get defensive and question myself and what I am doing and I wonder if it was such a good move. But my gut says, I am not YOU… and it got me to my fishing hole and it carried me home, bumped and bruised and scraped.
Accidents shift our perspective and we all have different ways of seeing them. Some of us pray our gratitude. Some of us yell, “Shit” and “Dammit” and other words the whole way. Some of us lose our trust or our faith and we try to bring others into our skepticism that there is little good to be found in tragic situations. Some of us go home, take some Tylenol and a beer and try not to feel. I suppose I have been all these people.
What do you do with your accidents? What is your accident story?