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Friday we were rear-ended. It was a relatively uneventful encounter, but it was very strange and disconcerting at the same time.
We had just pulled into a parking space at Publix. Unlike 99% of the time when we go to the market when we drive my husband’s little Nissan 370Z, we were in our Hyundai Sonata sedan. As my husband turned off the engine, we were hit, the loudness and impact startling me; I couldn’t figure out what had happened. My husband calmly said we’ve been hit.
He left the car first, and I sat a moment to collect myself, trying to figure out how we’d been rear-ended in a parking space. Finally, as I looked out the rear window, I realized that the young, slightly overweight woman behind our car was deeply distressed; I then realized that in leaving her parking space directly opposite ours she hadn’t checked her rearview mirror. The space which had been empty moments before now had our car in it.
Jerry asked me to get out of the car and look at the rear-end. Thank goodness for the excellent manufacturing of rear-end bumpers! There wasn’t even a scratch. (If we had been in the Nissan—I’d rather not think about it.)
Meanwhile, the young woman was beside herself, worried whether we were okay, mumbling about her mother in the hospital and other distressing life issues that were overwhelming her. But I interrupted her. I said, “What’s important is that we are all okay. And you must, must also, pay attention when you are driving, or you won’t be available for your mother.” She looked at me, nodded silently, and we all went on our way.
Hours later I realized that there were some important messages I could glean from the incident. I decided I’d benefit from calling it a “wake-up call,” not just for the young woman, but for us, too. How odd that we had driven a car that we normally wouldn’t have driven to the market. How odd that we were harmlessly rear-ended when we were legally parked in our space. What was my wake-up call?
- That when we are overloaded with information, civic disruption, crumbling of social mores, we are likely to numb our senses and become indifferent to our own personal life challenges, like sitting behind the wheel of a car;
- That we can spend a lot of time complaining and wringing our hands without developing creative solutions to the issues that plague our country; @iwe called for commenters to contribute solutions in his latest post, to be assertive and creative;
- That we can discourage each other from coming up with new ideas, because they don’t seem practical;
- That we can become reticent about developing solutions because sometimes our own colleagues tell us that it’s too late.
My wake-up call is an important one for me. I like to both call out our enemies, but also be a cheerleader to those who become discouraged. But somehow, I believe, that isn’t enough. Maybe it is enough. But I’m just not sure.
I think I must at least ask myself, each and every day, what else I can be doing, even in small ways, to help save this country. I want to see that as an obligation, a commitment, even a spiritual act. If all of us take these steps, we just might begin to turn things around.
It will be hard work, but the country, and we as its citizens, are worth it.
Let’s wake up!
[photo from unsplash.com]Published in