Six months ago exactly, just like today, was a gorgeous Friday in Nashville. I got on my little orange bicycle at my office parking garage to make the short, 4.5 mile ride home. I snapped this picture before I got on the bike – it just looked so pretty with its new “seafoam” handlebar tape.
I texted Justin, instead of calling, because I was so ready to get on the road and beat the heaviest traffic. I usually call him on my way home, every day. If I would have called him on October 7, maybe I would have been two or three minutes later to that intersection than I was. This is one of the 2,000 things I’ve asked myself “what if I had just…” about that day.
But I did not – I texted and got on the road. Probably 5-7 minutes after that I was on Poston Ave. at Centennial Park when I stopped at a four way stop, eased out into the intersection and everything about my perfect little bubble of a world changed. I don’t remember anything really, between the time I thought “this SUV is going to hit me” to when I woke up in an ambulance asking the nice paramedic to please hold my hand, which he did for about 45 minutes until they had to leave me.
Of course, now we’re six months past that – and in some ways it seems like a lifetime ago, and in some ways it feels like yesterday. Days like today, milestones and anniversaries, make me feel very heavy and reflective. I have started to slowly move past the “what ifs” and “if I had onlys…” to just being very accepting of this thing that happened to me and so thankful it wasn’t worse. I think of all the things he took from me that day, but really he gave me a lot too. Well, God did. It was His plan, after all. So, I try to see that and hold onto that. And when a thing happens – small or large – I think, well, maybe that was part of the plan. You were meant to be here to still experience that – or that was just a small thing that is teeing up a bigger thing for the future. Keep your eyes and heart open.
Justin and I watched the movie Patriot’s Day last night, which is about the Boston Marathon bombing and the manhunt for the two suspects. At the end of the movie, my boy Mark Wahlberg has this short monologue where he says things that I thought were so poignant for any tragedy or loss – on a national, personal or whatever level.
“When the devil hits you like that the only way to fight back is with love…That’s the only thing he won’t touch. What I saw today, good versus evil, love versus hate. There’s only one weapon you have to fight back with, it’s love. We wrap our arms around each other. I don’t think that there’s any way that they could ever win.”
He and others in the movie go on to talk about how love responded to that tragedy so fast, and that’s what the beautiful thing is about a tragedy. After my accident people wanted to know first how I was, and a close second “what about that bastard who hit you?” I’d always respond and tell them the latest on the case, but after some time, I wanted to say “but what about the dozens of people who sent me flowers, brought me dinner, cards, books, comfortable new pajamas, edible arrangements, a singing Elvis, or best yet, came over to just sit and cry with me. Don’t you know about them?” Let me tell you about those people – because that’s what was the most startling if you ask me. Not that one, horrible, waste of space crossed my path that day – but that so many beautiful, amazing people are in my life and they showed up BIG.
So yeah, he took a lot of things from me that day – like my feeling of safety doing normal, everyday things like stepping off a sidewalk, letting someone else drive me somewhere or hearing an ambulance pass. But he was the driver of an eye-opening experience and a reminder to seize every.single.moment on this earth. And to not be afraid of when the last might come. Because friends, that day is coming and we have zero control. Fearing it is a waste of time because you are completely powerless against most things in this world.
Six months was the first big milestone in my head – if I can get there, I’ll probably at least be in intense physical therapy and walking in my boot. Well, I’ve graduated from Physical Therapy, lost that boot at Christmas-time and I’m running and spinning again. I’m more in love with my people than ever. The sun is shining and I woke up with my person next to me today. That’s more than enough and I appreciate it more than I thought possible. I said it six months and one day ago from the ER, and I’ll say it again. Hug your people.
Oh, and I have to call Justin before leaving work every day now. It’s not negotiable. 🙂