By Ruth Bayang
NORTHWEST ASIAN WEEKLY
Did you wake up this morning? Are you still breathing? If you answered ‘yes’ to both questions, then you are truly blessed. As I am.
It’s easy to take that for granted, to go about your daily life and forgetting the gift that you have been granted another day on earth — another day to hug the people you love, another day to share your talent with the world, another day to make someone else smile, another day to experience all the joy that life has to offer.
It’s easy to get bogged down in all the stuff that’s not fun — stress, worry, anxiety. Up until recently, that was me. It took a conscious effort daily for me to count my blessings, but I still felt like I was drowning in stress, worry, anxiety — suffering from sleepless nights, the worry festering in my body until it manifested in physical aches and pains.
Then something literally threw me out of that state. Last week, the car I was driving, not more than 13 feet in length and weighing just over a ton, got sideswiped by an 18-wheeler weighing at least 40 tons.
What happened next was surreal. I felt like I was Jason Bourne — trying to escape from this massive vehicle, keep my own car under control, not hit anyone else, and stay alive.
I know it lasted only seconds. But it felt like an eternity.
I heard and felt the impact before seeing the big rig right up against my driver’s side window. I would find out later that the other driver was changing lanes and didn’t see me. I’m sure I let loose a few expletives. I remember the sound of tires screeching (his? mine?) and soon saw smoke from what I assume was the burning rubber. Then I remember my car spinning and I ended up in front of the truck — it was right up against my driver’s side window. Another string of expletives, and my car spun again — I can’t recall how many times. During one of the revolutions, my driver side door swung open. If I hadn’t been wearing my seatbelt, I might have been thrown from the car. I finally came to rest on the shoulder of the other side of the freeway, perpendicular to oncoming traffic.
I was shaking and sobbing, but I was alive! My heart was pounding — still trying to process what happened.
But I was alive! “Holy sh**,” I thought. “I can’t believe I survived a crash with a semi!”
A couple of drivers stopped to check to see if I was OK. Somebody called 911. It seemed as if the Washington State Patrol arrived within minutes. The driver of the truck got a ticket. As far as I know, he was not hurt and his truck unscathed. My car is banged up and may not be repairable.
But who cares? As much as I love that car, it’s just a thing that can be replaced.
Suddenly, everything in my life that I had been stressed about, seemed so insignificant. I’m convinced this was God’s way of jolting me out of that state, which I had been in for months — to remind me of what’s really important. The rest is just stuff and doesn’t matter. In the moments of my “dance” with the semi, I felt fear, terror, and confusion. Now, it is clear to me that there was a bubble of protection around my body, as if angels intervened to keep me unharmed.
I’m alive, I’m breathing, and in one piece. Thank you God for another day. His message to me is clear: I am blessed, I am loved, and I still have work to do on this earth.
Ruth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.