Life goes on, even if AfterLucy doesn't
September 09, 2007
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.
I'm so sorry about AfterLucy. I have to say I'm surprised it's held out as long as it did. I am extra glad and completely relieved and thankful that you are all okay. Vans are easy to replace, you and your family are impossible to replace. Love you.
Posted by: Groovecatmom | September 09, 2007 at 10:29 PM
I am doing better than you seem to be at the part about staying mad at the person who hit you. But my 'staying mad' is too often interupted by the uncomfortable remembering that you or I have both been in her shoes. Sigh. That forgiveness thing is intrusive, isn't it!
Posted by: Amma always | September 10, 2007 at 06:04 AM
Oh, honey. :( Big hugs coming your way (which is totally different than "bug hugs," which is what I typed at first. That would just be adding insult to injury, I think....)
Posted by: Mir | September 10, 2007 at 06:20 AM
I'm sorry about AfterLucy, but very glad that you are all okay.
Posted by: Aimee | September 10, 2007 at 08:48 AM
We're in the market for a new car [translation: Old Blue is about to do something very wrong and expensive, and we'd like to sell it before we learn what that is] we should go shopping together!
Posted by: studly steele | September 10, 2007 at 04:44 PM
Life SHOULD be easier than it is. That's not where you're wrong. If you take your life today as a starting point and say "It should be easier...", then you make yourself miserable. But if you view your life today as somewhere on a graph of history, then you can see that your life is MUCH easier than it would have been at any point in the past. It's not as easy as you want it to be, and it's not as easy as it's going to be, but in a historical sense we have a shockingly low rate of death by barbarian or starvation or any of the other things that make history a sucky place. We even have SEATBELTS!
Glad you're all okay. And it is always good to be nice to people who get in wrecks.
Posted by: The One True Josh | September 11, 2007 at 09:58 AM
Oh man, sorry about your van. I've got that thing about needing life to be easier too. I've been working hard to tell myself to accept what is. It actually seems to be working. Haven't got to the be thankful in all things part yet though.
Posted by: Sheryl | September 11, 2007 at 12:11 PM
I don't think life should be easier. If life were easier then you most certainly would not notice the wonderful, perfect moments in it. You would not notice those little gems in your day because your day would sound like this "it was easy again today" and that makes for poor blog reading. And then to top it off, your kids would turn 18 and think "wow, life is not as easy as I thought it was" because they would not have ever had to struggle against anything and the minute they encountered difficulty they would throw their hands in the air and say "forget my knees, this is far too hard and I'm going to go live in mama's basement and play Playstation and hit on teenager girls on IM for the rest of my life".
I'm very sorry about AfterLucy. Perhaps your next one will bring you a whole trunkful of new memories. Maybe you could make it a him and call him Desi.
Posted by: Heather Cook | September 12, 2007 at 12:34 PM
Oh, poor AfterLucy. I totally attach to my old, worn vehicles, so I know how you feel. What mercy that you are all alright. I think we all fall into thinking that life should be smooth, but nope. It's just not. Ever.
Posted by: Rae | September 12, 2007 at 07:54 PM