So Missy and I are traveling home from South Carolina, going up route 85. We're in Norlina, NC, right before the Virginia border when what didn't happen, almost happened.
We're in a pack of cars, traveling at high speed through a one-lane "construction pipe", a temporary roadway made from jersey barriers. Somewhere several cars up the line from us, someone brakes hard, and it causes a cascade of braking all the way down the line.
Missy slams on our brakes, with both feet. I hear the tires squeal, and mentally prepare myself for us to hit the car in front of us, and perhaps be hit by the cars behind us.
It's gonna be bad, I think. This is one of those multi-car monster crashes you hear about on the news.
But miraculously we come to a full stop without impact in either direction. And the car behind us, a blue something comes rocketing past us on our right side.
At the time we were on the phone with Squee, too.
The three of us collectively caught our breath.
A few minutes later we cross into Virginia.
I commented to both of them how grateful I was that we didn't crash, didn't have an accident, and how I've frequently had nightmares about getting into one, or hearing Squee get into one, while we were on the phone. (We talk on the phone while driving a lot, because of our long distance relationship.)
We were all really shaken by it, all grateful too.
Even days later though there's something about the whole incident and my gratitude that's stuck with me. It has to do with perspective.
In that moment, the likelihood of a terrible accident was high. I was grateful that things didn't work out the way they looked like they probably would. But there was (and still are) other ways to frame that.
I am also simultaneously grateful that:
- My brakes work so well.
- Missy has great reflexes.
- The guy behind us managed to slip to the side.
- No one was hurt.
I see that I can see my expectations fall away as well as my mindful attention to what is actually happening . They're two sides of the same coin, yin and yang.
Each moment I'm alive, there's an infinite number of things not happening, and an equally huge number of things that are.
I see that when I'm present, mindful, and open I have a limitless power to use that. Even now I have this awareness that I'm being constantly reborn into the present moment, constantly moving through an infinite sea of possibilities, outcomes, choices, and actions.