Sometimes we do not realize how fragile our lives really are. There are clichés that remind us of this fragility, but we tend to dismiss these well-known sayings, as well. One of these sayings would be that “God is watching out for you”, or that there are “guardian angels”; these sayings usually relate to a close-call with the fragile nature of our existence.
I remember one night, not long ago, when I confronted my guardian angels, and it is through this experience that I have become the person that I am today: A spiritual, and responsible person. I will now recount the events of that nearly fateful night…
The rain was drowning all of our plans out. It was just my best friend, and myself. I watched as the water made the windows blur our view of the outside. A set of headlights flashed through the drops, and I looked at my friend, quizzically. There were no plans to have company, and the party that we were going to attend, had been cancelled. I finished chewing a piece of beef jerky that had been entertaining me, and we listened to the crunching sound of the approaching footsteps. It sounded like another guy, so we were both disappointed in the heavy sound of the footsteps. Dainty, heels running through the rains would have been welcomed.
It was a guy from our class, a friend that we did not often hang out with, but who we both liked. We all agreed that it was a bummer that the party had been cancelled. I offered the bag of jerky for everyone to take a piece, and thought that I was being a good friend for sharing. But, as we sat there, chewing our cud, a crash of lightning and thunder caused us all to jump. We agreed that the lightening must have been right over the house, because the thunder was simultaneous with it.
We settled back down, my desk lamp providing us a dim light to play a game of cards. I dealt the first hand. I noticed my best friend stretch his hand over his mouth, stifling a yawn. I was about to suggest that I put a pot of coffee on, when BOOM, and even louder and brighter lightning bolt hit. This one most certainly struck the house because my lamp flickered. My bright idea came to me at this point in time. I thought about the night getting worse if the electricity were to go out. But, I also thought about the scientific fact that being grounded with rubber makes one safe from lightning strikes.
“Let’s go for a drive,” I suggested.
They both looked at me as though I had put a sour lemon in their mouths. Neither of them wanted to be out in that weather.
“Yeah, but we are safe in a car, it has tires! Plus, it will be cool to see how the storm looks from around town.” I chided them until reluctantly, both of them were putting their jackets and shoes on.
Quietly, we filed out of my room. I grabbed my keys from my nightstand, noticing that my alarm clock read ten till midnight. I figured that we would be back within a half hour or so, no big deal.
Once we were in the car, I turned the engine on, and a clap of lightning illuminated my front yard, creating a brief image of my front yard, with the melancholy oak tree reaching its skeletal branches out towards us, possibly beckoning me to not pullout of the driveway. However, I ignored its curling branches, and we coasted quietly away from my house.
I merged on to the highway, and unexpectedly saw the car that belonged to our friend, the one who was going to host the cancelled party. His hazard lights were flashing, and they glowed through the rain bouncing back from the pavement. Anticipating a convoy, I put my foot in the gas. For some reason, there was a lot of traffic, especially at this hour, and considering the rain…
But I did not consider the rain. I laughed as we turned the volume up on the radio, and as I pushed a button that put my car into sports mode. The loud roar of my exhaust wailed at us as I hit 180 km an hour.
Suddenly, my best friend screamed, and I felt my rear tires lose traction and control, sandwiched in between a truck and a SUV, I let go of the wheel and prepared myself for the worst…
My airbags did not engage, and we all walked away from the scene of the accident. The rain soaked us as we spoke with police officers about the wreck. I sat on the side of the highway, watching the hundreds of headlights pass by us without any incident, but I realized how close I had been to losing my life. But, more concerning, was the fact that two other people could have lost their lives because of my actions.
Life is fragile. The clichés about God watching, and having guardian angels are not baseless clichés. I saw my guardian angel, braving the rain and lightning that I should have feared. I reflect that the lessons that I learned that evening will never fade in my memory. The vividness with which the wreck replays itself in my mind recreate the adrenaline and fear of the moment. Never again will I throw caution to the wind, to employ another meaningful cliché.