lessons from a wreck

accidentSomeone hit our car last night. It’s the second time in a few weeks that the poor car is in the shop for repairs through no fault of our own. Bummer.

On the other hand, I am so very grateful that there were no serious injuries, and we have a great insurance company that is taking care of the details. A few inconveniences and hours lost, but it could have been so much worse.

After the adrenaline coursed through my veins, I had opportunity for reflection and perspective since my life was (literally) shaken up a bit that night.

First, one more reminder of the frailty of life. My mom’s cancer is a frequent reminder, but this hit even closer to home. My husband and I are finally in the process of renewing our will. We are not going to put that off. We want to prepare to make the process easier for our family… just in case. (How about you? Do you have your will and important papers in order?)

Second, friends make a big difference. We were on our way to dinner when the wreck occurred. Instead, our friends came to join us on the side of the road for the four-hour mostly-waiting-around process. Their presence and companionship was soothing, entertaining 🙂 and encouraging. We are so grateful for them and their gift of time.

Young kids can act foolish. Two young men racing down the road by our house caused the accident. They lost control, hit each other, ricocheted into us, and skidded into a grass median yards ahead. One car totaled; the other banged up, and they stumbled out of the cars laughing. They are not the car owners; they probably do not think about the inconvenience, the increased insurance rates, the diminished vehicle values, the possible harm they could have caused. Someday they will.

Family is important. Ten or more vehicles arrived over time to check on the guys and offer concern, care, and community. There may have been frustration or anger too; we didn’t see that. It was good to see the support that rallied for the young men. They made a mistake, but they have a better chance to learn from it when people care about them.

Forgiveness is key… even for little things. My emotions swung first from concern for the young men to frustration with their apparent lack of concern. I could have let that frustration simmer into a distrust of all “young people” for their immaturity and foolish choices. But that would serve no purpose. Plus, it would be unjust, since there are many young people who are careful drivers, responsible, and making choices to better our world every day. I’d rather focus my emotional energy there.

Have you been in an accident? How did you respond? What have you learned from that experience?