So, on the way to church this morning we got in a little fender bender.
I say “little fender bender” because no one was hurt and it wasn’t our fault. However, my van is not drivable at this point. We’ll have it towed tomorrow and find out the damage…but my money’s on “totaled.” It was getting old, cv joints held together by chewing gum and irrational hope. Damnit. I love that van.
Dad gave me a ride to get Clay’s truck, and as I headed back to where Clay and the boys were waiting, I tried on the emotion of being mad at the person who caused the accident. I pictured her, standing by her new car, weeping into her cell phone. She was having a REALLY bad morning, she told us. I tried to be affronted. In my head I sniped, well why did you have to hit US? Did THAT make your day better?
But it didn’t really take, in my thoughts.
I’ve smashed up cars before. I know how it feels. She was making an inadvisable left hand turn, rushing to get through an intersection before the light turned red and the cameras took her picture to mail her a ticket. Can’t you just feel what that was like? Easing out into the intersection, eyes tracking the traffic around you, glancing in the rearview mirror, the light turns yellow, tension builds, those CAMERAS, and you see a break in traffic, and swing into a turn. But just as you start, just when you floor it and commit to the turn, a van flashes by you. Hit the brakes, but your momentum can’t be overwhelmed by their feeble grip. A body in motion tends to go ahead and smack the car in front of it. And then the energy of the arc that was supposed to sail you through the intersection, energy which cannot be destroyed by your anguished NO, is transmuted into shattering headlight, screeching tires, crumpling metal, and two massive objects shudder in odd directions away from each other.
We squeezed into Clay’s truck, picked up niece Kate, and headed for church (now an hour late). Max’s stomach hurt. Tre’s legs were still a little wobbly. Raphael wanted everyone to know he wasn’t scared at all, but his knees hurt (his knees weren't hit or bumped in any way. I attribute this to the aftereffects of adrenaline, fearless boy). Clay rested his hand on my knee and rubbed it with his thumb. "Everything's going to be fine, you know," he told me. I nodded. "You okay?" I nodded again.
On the drive there I called the insurance company to report the accident. Carefully spelling out the details to the businesslike young man on the phone brought out the petulant child in me. “No, I wasn’t driving,” I said. All we were doing was trying to get to church. “It was the Mazda,” I informed him. MY Mazda. AfterLucy, she is named. “Yes, I have the other party’s insurance information.” Tell me, does she carry the kind of coverage that’s going to work it out so my life isn’t complicated and strained? Does she have insurance to make this not disrupt our days? “No, our vehicle isn’t drivable.” WHEN do we catch a break?
And THAT is the silly thing inside my head, as reliable as the law of conservation of energy, Kira thinks life should be easier than it is. Maybe a LOT easier. I don’t know where I got the notion that someone was going to provide me special dispensation from the mundane assaults of the world, but I seem to believe it. Evidence would suggest that life IS pain, highness. Get over it. My life is far too full of good to whine about.
We arrived at church just in time for the peace.
“And may the peace of the Lord be always with you,” sang out the priest, and we answered, “And also with you.”
Standing at the back of the church, our family turned and held one another in turn. Peace of the Lord, we murmured, giving and receiving.
And it really was ok.