This is the story of an accident in which I was involved back in 2014. Before I had a car, I used to ride a commuter van to get to work downtown each day. At some point, the mood in the van shifted and I found myself on the receiving end of cattiness from the other women on the van. As a result, I began to exclusively sit alone in the back seat of the van, listening to my iPod. Before things changed, I was concerned about an aggressive driver who accelerated quickly but also seemed to notice changes in the traffic at the last minute, and as a result, braked quickly in response. The thought of an accident was never far from my mind when we would blast off and then come to a disconcerting halt. I would sometimes close my eyes to nap but could never fully relax enough to do so because of concern regarding the driving. I solved the issue by always fastening my seatbelt. The click of the seatbelt allowed me to let go of any anxiety regarding potential accidents.
One morning, we left as usual and I took my seat in the back row. Alone in the back row, I started listening to my iPod. As we began the journey downtown, I noticed the day was spectacularly beautiful. The music I listened to was a set of music that especially touched my heart – Yo-Yo Ma Plays Ennio Morricone. As we made our way west across Lake Pontchartrain, I continued to marvel at how extraordinarily beautiful the day was. The beauty of that day was not limited to visual perception. I also FELT the beauty of the day, if that makes sense. At one point, a voice or thought came to me as I was silently exclaiming how beautiful the day was. The voice told me to close my eyes and listen to my music. Imagine how counter-intuitive that voice was in contrast with the beautiful reality I was experiencing. I fought the voice but the message continued to resonate that I should close my eyes and listen to the music. I finally complied. Every so often, I would open my eyes in response to sharp braking to see how much progress we had made. Each time, I could not help but be in awe of the day’s beauty. Each time I looked, there was that voice, close your eyes and listen to your music. Finally, we arrived downtown. It was my intention to stop at the grocery store before work to pick up breakfast. For this, I usually got off the van earlier than my stop and walked to the grocery store, time permitting. I opened my eyes to see where we were and what time it was to gauge whether or not I could make it. When I opened my eyes, one of the most immediate things I noticed was that there were dust particles floating in the air next to me. I had never noticed dust floating in the air of the van before. This day, I couldn’t miss it because the sun was beaming through the back window making the dust sparkle like tiny flakes of gold suspended in the air next to me!
Looking at the time, I decided I would not be able to make it to the grocery store with enough time to arrive at work in a timely manner. Again, the voice continued that I should close my eyes and listen to my music, so I did. The primary driver arrived at her destination and got off the van. Then the relief driver took over. As we pulled off, I closed my eyes and listened to my music. A moment later, I felt what I thought was the van going through a huge dip in the street. In my mind, I thought it was odd that the construction crew had made a large hole at that location because it had been a block down and over where the street construction had been going on. Next, I felt myself in an awkward position. I opened my eyes and found that I was resting on the arm rest of the seat, held in place by the seatbelt while looking at the asphalt through the window. The van had flipped over on its side! I immediately unfastened the seatbelt and maneuvered my feet on the window (which was now on the ground), opened the back door and climbed out. The other passengers were stirring around, so I could tell that they were alive and conscious. The driver wasn’t talking or making any noise that I could discern and I was extremely worried about him. He was one of the kindest people on the van. He and his wife actually helped me during my time of need. Knowing that the other passengers were conscious, I walked to the front of the van to see if the driver was okay. My heart pounded and I was almost in tears because I was afraid that I was going to see the dead body of the person who had shown me kindness in the midst of the other cattiness. I had never felt so alone and small before. It would have been easy to remain on the sidewalk at the back of the van with the others who were injured but I felt compelled to walk to the front and find out if he was okay. I reached the front of the van and saw the back end of the car ahead of us crumpled. As would be expected, the front of the van didn’t look too good either. Those images made it even more difficult to seek the driver’s status. I finally saw the driver standing, trying to bang on the windshield. Although the windshield didn’t give, seeing him move took a monumental load of fear off my shoulders because this movement meant he was alive! I could have passed out from happiness in that moment.
Soon, chaos began. The bystanders who came over and assisted the other passengers in getting out of the van, were calling 911 and asking what happened. A doctor who had been jogging nearby came over and began helping the other passengers by checking to see if they were in a position to respond to voice commands. Soon the police, fire department and ambulances were on the scene. The firefighters were able to pull the driver up through the window since he was stuck in the front of the van. Everyone had sustained some type of injury – concussion, contusion, scrapes, etc. Everyone except me. One of the officers asked if I’d like to go the hospital and I declined because I truly felt okay.
Since I was the only person not injured or in shock, my mind raced to figure out what to do. I knew that it was important that the families were notified of the accident as soon as possible but I didn’t know everyone’s family and they were all mostly in shock. When I spoke to two of the three passengers who were not driving, they all mentioned they needed to call their jobs. Not their spouse or children but their jobs. The driver had on an oxygen mask and seemed to be receiving more intense treatment than the others. I had his wife’s number but was afraid that I would break down and start crying when I told her what had happened, which is not reassuring when conveying that kind of information to someone. I then realized the van company would be best suited to handle the notifications since they had everyone’s emergency contact information on file. In addition, I figured they needed to know that their van was destroyed in the accident. That information was secondary to family notification. Once I saw the ambulances start to put people on gurneys, I walked around to find out which hospital each person was being taken to. After I had all the details, I then called the van company to let them know that there had been an accident, where the accident had taken place and the hospitals to which each person had been taken. I walked a block to my old job to get away from the chaos that surrounded the accident. Once I saw familiar people and calmed myself as best I could, I walked the four or five blocks to work (in four inch heels) and arrived one hour late.
Walking to work following the accident that sent everyone else to the hospital was a grace-filled miracle, especially considering the voice that kept telling me to close my eyes and listen to my music. Although I was grateful to be saved from injury, the amazing grace that was bestowed upon me altered my perspective. Thankfully no one died but I was left trying to figure out why I was specifically saved from injury. I didn’t talk about the accident too often because no one understood my confusion; everyone just said thank God you were okay but I didn’t feel okay inside. The strongest desire I had after the accident was to be held. I sent a text message to the person with whom it could be said that I was involved requesting to see him. I never saw him until much later. I was never held.
The days and weeks after the accident felt as lonely as the moments I walked to the front of the van. I felt I was spared for a reason and that, maybe, there is something that I’m supposed to do in this life. My life prior to the accident no longer felt comfortable. Yet, I had no idea as to what the thing would be that would make me feel comfortable. I left the area to have surgery with a doctor that I trusted and started working in my old field making significantly more money. But I still didn’t feel comfortable. I started volunteering for an HIV/AIDS service agency once a month providing Reiki to anyone who was interested in receiving a free session. Finally, I felt comfortable. Once a month for about three or four hours. From that, I decided that I would like to practice Reiki full time and let that be my livelihood.
I just hope that being in service to others while providing Reiki will be a suitable path to follow in exchange for that amazing grace. I hope that those who come to me for Reiki will benefit from the Reiki and the amazing grace.