On March 21, 2011, a patio collided with the vehicle I was driving. Rude, right?? I know! lol
That was one of the most bizarre, comforting things to ever happen to me thus far. Bizarre in that I still don’t know how it happened. Logic says that I probably hit the gas instead of the brake in a moment of panic. I’ve been driving long enough that I pretty much have the brake and the gas pedals down by heart. Yet, there I was, careening through a patio, stopping just short of running through some poor lady’s living room. Not a good look!
Within a few moments, I was surrounded by people including the woman whose patio I had just destroyed. Everyone was asking if I was okay. I couldn’t respond beyond a nod because I was too busy hyperventilating. I had never felt such a strong mixture of fear, confusion and guilt. The crowd of onlookers advised me to just sit tight until the Fire Dept. arrived. During this entire ordeal, the voice I really focused on was that of a woman to my left. I could hear her saying in the most comforting ‘Mommy voice’, “You’re okay, sweetie. You’re safe. You’re okay.” I have no idea who she was, I never saw her face, but I heard her voice and it made me feel better. (Thank you, mystery Mommy, you’re awesome!)
The reason I was freaking out besides the crashing aspect, was the fact that the vehicle did not belong to me. I had borrowed it from a friend. So, in addtion to the guilt of destroying part of someone’s home, there was also the guilt of wrecking someone else’s car. Geesh! I was putting myself through all kinds of hell internally. I just ‘knew’ everyone was going to be angry with me and I’d be in so much trouble. I felt like a little kid who had broken the neighbor’s window with a snowball by accident.
Something surprising happened, though. Everyone was so nice to me! One of the EMT’s who came to check me out was constantly making jokes (none at my expense) to calm me down. The property manager said that sort of thing happened more often than I could imagine. I was expecting the worst or at least a whispered, ‘What kind of dumb ass drives into a patio?’ , instead, I received an outpuring of care and concern from total strangers. It was beautiful! When the car owner made it to the scene, she just hugged me and said she was so sorry it happened.
The message I got from that little adventure was that we can be harder on ourselves than anyone else. I was beating myself up for an accident. That’s why they call them ‘accidents’, otherwise they’d be called ‘intentionals’. lol
We’re all going to make mistakes, have accidents and speak out of turn – those experiences come along with being human. Apologize if appropriate, make amends if possible, but above all else – forgive yourself and keep it moving!