The bottom fell out. Rain was coming so hard and so fast my windshield wipers on high couldn’t keep up. I slowed to a crawl, as did all the cars around me…except one. I imagine the driver had someplace to be. I could feel the frustration radiating from the pickup in the stops and starts. The irritation was evident to all of us trying to stay out of the way of the vehicle which was weaving and rushing ahead, only to be slowed by another cautious rain driver. Riding inches from my bumper didn’t convince me to go any faster. Once the road opened up, I didn’t have time enough to move into the right lane because the truck jumped over there in seconds, in order to zoom past me. I must say, I did feel relief when he was in front of me and not behind. So much water, so fast.
I was approaching a bridge, sitting on the edge of my seat, trying to see the road in front of me when the same white truck was instantly one foot in front of me, sideways and spinning out of control. Literally, I had inches to go before I would be swept into the spinning 1-ton vortex of crushing metal. I called out to Jesus (thinking I might be seeing him very soon) and he must have heard me, because in a fraction of a second, I swerved, narrowly missing the spinning truck by millimeters. I crossed over the right lane into the emergency shoulder on the bridge without hitting another car, the bridge, or ending up in the vortex. The truck had no such luck, as he smashed the entire side of his truck on the concrete barrier of the bridge and bounced back into the roadway facing the opposite direction of the traffic. All cars behind me slid to stops and managed to stay out of the fray. I kept moving, but with my voice shaking, I asked Siri to call 911, so I could report the incident.
The whole thing was one of those slow-motion moments, where time slows down and it feels like it is taking forever, but in actuality probably takes a total of 10 seconds. Your life kind of flashes before your eyes and you wonder if today is your day. One of those moments which makes you think long and hard when it is over. The truth is we all say we aren’t promised tomorrow, but I am not sure we believe it.
My pondering lately has led me to the recognition, once again, that life is short. We do not know how many days we have, or if we will die of a progressive disease over years, or in one second on a bridge. There is no way to know, even though we live as though we have all the time in the world. I say these things not to be morbid or fearful, but to give words to the reality. My after-cancer motto still stands. Live fully.
August 27th is my 56th birthday. I don’t know how many more I will get. A few days ago, on the bridge, I didn’t know if I would get this one. Currently, I am on route to Ethiopia, which I also would have never have guessed. God is so creative, isn’t he? Two years ago, I was in Paris. This whirlwind life I live is something I could have never dreamed. Last week’s near miss taught me not to have a near miss life. I don’t want to nearly miss my life, by not living now. Why wait to travel, retire, follow your dream? Why put off writing your book, singing your songs, painting your pictures? Why delay making the phone calls, righting relationships, finding your passion?
We can make our plans, but the Lord determines our steps. Only he knows our time. Until then, don’t nearly miss out…live fully.