Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Life from a weird frame of reference...

Yesterday morning as I was driving to work, I had a large Lexus SUV driving about a half an inch from my back bumper.  The woman driving wasn't paying particular attention, she was busy on the phone.  At a stop light, I was seriously tempted to get out of my car and knock on her window and show her the scar on my neck and ask her if she had any idea how I got it and what it felt like.  Discretion got the better of me (thank God) and I did not do this, knowing that instead of me "educating" her about the dangers of tailgating, I would more likely be perceived as an aggressor and maybe shot?  Or the police would be called?  In any event, I didn't do it.  

In 1984, I got rear-ended by a young man as I was waiting to make a left turn.  I was so freaked out about the accident and newly sober - so I was sure I was going to be arrested, even though the accident was not my fault, I was completely sober, had a valid driver's license, etc... I did not get medical care for my injury.  I said I was "fine."  I knew I was hurt.  In 1999, I finally had surgery on my neck, I now have three fused vertebrae, with bone grafts, and titanium rods.  My range of motion is virtually non-existent.  I am keenly aware that on the scale of injuries as a result of automobile accidents, this one is relatively minor, but it still affects me every single day of my life.  In pain, which I try not to talk about.  And in not taking kindly to the woman who is driving a 3 ton vehicle an inch from my bumper and talking on the phone.  

Last summer, I was the passenger in a car in another accident.  My back got jacked up again.  It hurts.  There have been lots of accidents in between.  I think it is a miracle I can drive at all - let alone run, bike, and swim.  

Oh, and did I ever tell you all about the time I nearly totaled a Buick by hitting a bear?  Yes, I did that.  It was terrifying.  

And that cute little pit bull you have?  Well, did I share with you that when I was 5 years old I  was attacked by guard dogs because I was trespassing while too young to read the signs that told me not to go there?  And I think I have shared here about the pit bull who came into my yard while I was painting my fence - my kitten at my side.  The kitten made a little snack for fluffy the pit bull.  One of my neighbors tore the dog off my cat before she was dead, and we rushed her to the vet.  But my kitten Minerva was never right again and after a year - when she attacked the face of a sponsee sitting here reading the big book with me - I took her to the shelter... and I am pretty sure what her fate was after that.  

Or about the time a stranger in a van pulled up along side me as I was walking and asked me if I wanted a ride and when I declined he picked me up and placed me in the van... I could tell you the rest of the story, but you can figure it out for yourself.  It wasn't pretty.  

I could go on and on with this, but I am sure you get the idea.

"We will not regret the past nor wish to shut the door on it."  Alcoholics Anonymous, p. 83

But we are shaped by it.  

I know that my reactions to tailgaters, dogs, strange men, familiar men, etc. are not what most people's are.  Most of the time this is not a big deal.   Sometimes it is.

Every time I leave my door and get in a car, especially as a passenger, or to take a run or get on a bike, it is an act of faith for me.  I think the fact that I am functional at all is nothing short of a miracle.  

Thank you God.


Anonymous said...

How little we know of one another and our vulnerabilities. Three years ago I had a gun held to my head in downtown Johannesburg by a man who had just shot dead a security guard. He rammed that gun into the side of my head for two hours before getting out of the car. I know that I saw his face but have no memory of it whatsoever.

If anyone tells me they are thinking of buying a gun I go into a complete blank of fear and suspicion.

Mary LA

Pam said...

Girl you keep God so busy protecting you that it's a miracle he has time for the rest of us. :)

Louisey: Our right to bear arms in the US is not so that we can protect ourselves against criminals, it's so we can protect ourselves against a government that may choose to oppress it's people.

Cat said...

"Man never made any material as resilient as the human spirit." Bernard Williams.

kel said...

Wow, your stories never cease to amaze and impress me. You are one strong lady. And I am grateful to read your stories.

steveroni said...

Mary Christine, you say, "Thank You, God". And I know you're thanking the right Person. Also I know (don't ask me how I know--I do NOT know that -grin!) I know you were meant to be: meant to be who you are, what you are, and HOW you are this moment, this hour, this day, in this way, the way you are.

I am certain as I sit here, that God loves you very much--you are really 'special' to Him. The fact that He allows you to suffer. That makes you even MORE special, more like Him, Who suffered and died for us. And I have no apple to polish here, believe me.

Trailboss said...

WOW! That is some serious stuff. I hate tailgaters also. It makes you want to just stand on the brakes and make them hit you. There are way too many careless drivers in our world.

Alix B. said...

Wow! You have such strength!
The full moon yesterday had me quite testy myself yesterday. In my head I played out scenarios that I fortunately didn't follow through with either!

Syd said...

I can tell you that you are a miracle. And yes, I know that I am firmly shaped by my past. That's what I'm working on--to reshape myself into someone better than what the past made.

Anonymous said...

Thanks for reminding me that my past did shape me, but does not define me. It has made me who I am today all the good stuff,and the bad, and for that I am grateful. Thanks again, Mary.

(PS What horrible dog experiences for you, and your kitty. I am so so sorry that happened to you.)

Scott W said...

Hi, Mary.

Anonymous said...

Thank God you are here today to tell us the story, Mary Christine.