About six weeks ago, I was involved in a serious car accident. My mother and I were talking and laughing sitting next to each other, and then in a blink of an eye, a white pickup truck appeared lengthwise in front of us. We had less than a second to comprehend was about to happen. I swerved as best I could, angling the impact away from my mother.
The next thing I remember is the cab of the car being filled with the white powder that emits from airbags when they've deployed. A thick haze in the air. My next thought was that I couldn't breathe..and if I couldn't breathe, my asthmatic mother definitely couldn't. I tried to open my driver's side door, but it wouldn't budge. I then prepared to smash open the sun roof of the car, but luckily decided to try the power button first. It worked. Thank God.
Air poured in and we could suddenly breathe again. My mother was a bit banged up, but ok and in a seeming miracle, so was I. Suddenly, I heard a sound next to me. Outside of my door, eyes wide with concern, was a young man in his late teens. He helped me pull the door open. He asked if we were alright. When I told him we were, his eyes welled up with tears. "I am so, so, so sorry. I could have killed you."
In moments like this, things tend to become crystal clear. All of the haze of the daily mundane dissipate and you remember who you are. I embraced this man, boy, really - and. I remember myself saying "That moment is past. Here we are. There is no anger here. Just love. Let's take care of each other as we get through this." This time he embraced me.
The situation has played over and over in my head since then and I have found a striking similarity of that moment to those I have experienced in other near catastrophic situations or in the hospice room, as the line between this world and the next grows thin.
When we remember who we are, when all of the silly things that hold us back have vanished, what do you represent? What do we stand for? What would we tell those around us if we thought this might be the last day?
And then, let us consider why we ever put that off. Why do we wait? Why do we allow ourselves to not engage with those we love every day in a way that matters?
For me, this is at the center of mindfulness training. Sometimes, love is mundane. But, those things can be as simple as telling them "I love you" as you leave or, even better, just anytime, for no reason at all, other than it's truth.
I invite you to join me. Let all of the silly, petty, and mundane things fall away. Realize the gift that is life and the blessings that are those you love. Then treat them that way. You might be surprised how life starts to treat you back..