I Can Not Tell You If The Van Ran Over Me Or Not...
So often in our lives we are left without answers because our brains are protecting us from that which we should not know.
I cannot tell you if the van ran over me or how I ended up under the tail pipe. I cannot tell you why I did not see the van or why I even felt compelled to pull over and help that lady in the first place. But what I can tell you is that in a split second my life changed and it has taken me 20 years to figure out why.
On that sunny Tuesday afternoon leaving high school I was driving east bound keeping up with traffic at 65 miles per hour. A quick decision from a driver in the other lane to avoid an accident left her spiraling through the grassy median. In a split second, I didn’t even think about it, I maneuvered my car to the right shoulder, waited for traffic to clear and then ran across the highway to check on her. Obviously shaken she got out and we examined her car. All seemed to be okay for what my 16 year old brain knew about cars so she called her father for help.
Satisfied that she was okay I stood on the left shoulder ready to cross back to my car. On this sunny, clear afternoon you could see down the highway for a mile, this straight stretch of highway allowed for anyone to see what was coming, only I didn’t see what was coming. I didn’t see the van traveling at 50 mph. Why? Why didn’t I see that van?
The next thing I felt was the exhaust from the tail pipe of that van flowing across an open wound on my forehead. Determined that I was fine I began to get up but quickly I was assured that I had bones sticking out of my right leg and moving was not an option. How did I end up under the van? Why didn’t I see that van? Why has my brain tried to protect me from seeing what happened?
After 20 years of asking those questions I have come to terms that I am not supposed to know why. What I am supposed to know is that "the accident” as it is referred to in my family, happened for me. It happened so I could find my true purpose in life, albeit after 20 years of searching. It happened so I could one day realize that the mediocre life I thought I was supposed to live was not the life for me. It happened so I can change the world.
In life we often are told about things that happen to us but we don't remember them or perhaps we think we remember them but it is just a picture of the event that we remember. I have often wondered why our brains work like this. They are capable of holding so many thoughts so why is it there are things we simply cannot remember. it hasn't gone without trying over the last 20 years to figure out if in fact the van ran over me or if I slid down the side of it. It is the number one question people ask me when I tell them about the accident and then they give me a weird look when I say "I don't know."
Sometimes "I don't know" is an okay answer though. Sometimes it is better that our brains are not able to recall tragedies in our lives. Sometimes it is better to learn from the incident and move forward rather than recalling it over and over again trying to figure out the why. We will never know the why. I will never know why I didn't see the van that day but I do believe it happened so that I could change the world.
Today instead of dwelling on why something happened to you try to reframe it and realize that you don't need to know the answer you just need to know how to move forward. Tragedies can be a gift, a gift that you can choose to use however you would like. I choose to use my gift to change the world.
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