I’ve never been more unprepared to die than last Tuesday.
The moment I rolled into the crosswalk, I turned to see a white Lexus hurling toward me. What happened next is a bit fuzzy. All I remember is pressing down hard on the pedal clipped to my shoe. Silence. So this is how it’s going to happen? An instant after what should have been impact I turned my head to see the car whiz by.
I just glared at its back end. No taillights. Black windows so no chance to see a facial expression. The driver never slowed down. Did they even see me? No.
How did it miss me?
The drivers in the other three lanes of traffic looked at me in wide-eyed shock. They almost saw a horrific event. Was this even real?
I must have been in shock because I clipped in my other foot and wheeled on across. After looking back to be sure this even happened, I glanced up at the traffic light to my left. Yes, it was red. Yes, the WALK signal was still lit up. A driver gazed at me and mouthed something to the effect “Are you okay?”
After a timid nod of confirmation, I resumed my evening bike ride. For the next hour I rehashed the moment countless times. Was it my fault? God must have pushed me? Maybe it wasn’t that close. What if….? No! Yes, but what if….? What about…? Who’s going to…? NO!
The Lexus ran the red light. No doubt. What were they thinking or doing? It was careless of me not to make sure the driver of the car was stopping like the others. I either never saw it or it was far enough away that there was no visible threat. I can’t remember which. And therein lies my contribution to this near-death moment.
At first I was angry with the driver. That anger increased when I stewed about making no attempt to stop or even slow down to check on me. Surely someone chased him down and gave them a talking to. What a jackass!
Then…God. I thanked God for pushing me out of the way. There can be no other explanation. Wow, God, why do you keep saving me? He didn’t answer me on that. I think that’s just his way of saying “That’s what I do.” And so it is.
When I said I was unprepared to die, it is based on being so self-absorbed at that particular moment. Didn’t folks realize I am extremely busy doing stuff. Things were in motion at work that only I could handle. How had I prepared my family for this sudden end? I have much left to do. The chaos that occurred with each WHAT IF scenario I conjured up in my head was crippling.
Then…God. He wanted my mind elsewhere. God asked me about the driver. How do these WHAT IF’s impact him?
Anger with the driver is easy. Had something tragic happened, that is where the blame would land and land hard. I can hear the speculation about texting, drinking or old age being a factor. But answer me this: If you were that driver, how could you live as the dealer of that ending? When it replays in the mind a decade later all you can see is tragedy and death.
Of course the driver was completely in the wrong. But the penance for that mistake would certainly outweigh the crime. We all make mistakes. I guess it just depends on how close you are to the wrong end of the mistake to deem eternal torment as just punishment.
So by the time I got home, I was thanking God for saving us both. Saving both our families from living through something so senseless. Something that doesn’t fade away with a good night’s sleep.
I’d like to say that I left all this in the past and no longer play the WHAT IF game. With each ride comes total recall. Vivid and real. I try desperately to see the driver. Do I know you? Why can’t you see me? I’m right here. The white giant is once again on top of me. Then…God. A flash and my mind is elsewhere. The memory leaves as quickly as it arrived.
The other day I was running and saw a white Lexus approaching. I peered inside and this time saw a lady starring back at me. That’s her! Then…God. He tells me this innocent woman is not the driver. But that’s not all. He explains that I can see her because her windows aren’t tinted. He tells me to forget about the other driver. That it is not important. Let it go.
And so I do.
Run in Peace, Rest in Grace