Life is unpredictable. Yes, it’s cliche. But it’s true. With its many twists and turns you never know where it will take you. The wheel of life seems manageable on the façade and the steering wheel that you grab on to can only get you as far as you want to take it, but the bumps on the road, the thorns along the way…they make things uncertain, unreliable at times. Life can be erratic and fickle, like the mind of a child, like a steady stream that leads to a raging river, like a tornado that forms in the middle of a corn field, like an earthquake or lightning bolt. Unforeseeable. Unpredictable.
For others, it may come easy. But for some, the rules are not black and white. Things happen for a reason. I’d like to believe that. When a life-changing event happens, we scramble, trying to find ways to make sense of things, to cope. We ask “why” many times. Why me? Why him? Why her? Why did this happen? We begin to find a reason behind the event, a cause (or causes) that led to it. The truth is the reason is not always easy to comprehend. When a loved one almost dies in front of you, it leaves you a feeling of hopelessness. It is a shocking enough experience to witness, but the fact that you are unable to do anything at that precise moment, that feeling stays with you…forever.
Trying to make sense of why it happened is a hundred times even more complex to grasp. Yes, we have all the underlying details that led to it, but we still want to know why. We thought these things only happen on TV, to “certain” people. We hear it in the news. We read it in the newspapers. We read it online, on our smart phones, and tablets. We always see people getting into trouble or fighting for their lives. We always see bad things happen to people all the time. But we never expect it will happen to us. Why should it? We are careful. We live our lives based on a certain routine. We work, pay our bills, buy groceries, do the laundry, watch a movie, do some traveling. We know for sure (or pretend) it will never happen to us. We think we are invincible. But when it does happen, that one life-changing moment, our lives stop for a second, as though frozen in time, and we look back. In the blink of an eye, things have changed. All of a sudden, the wheel of life has turned and twisted in a different direction. The unpredictable has happened…to us. We are vulnerable after all. We all are. Every single one of us. And we cannot escape it.
It is not easy. None of it is. For some, it is a wake-up call. For others, it is simply just another event in their lives. But to me, it is a learning experience. That is the one true thing that stays. But how does one prepare for this, you ask? My answer to that is–you don’t. Otherwise, we wouldn’t call it unexpected, would we?
You live your life the way you intend to, but you keep a special gift inside of you, a special quality, something that nobody else can take away from you, so when that life-changing moment happens, you have the strength and power to give back, to give back that gift of hope, of strength, of faith, of love. And you give it with all your might!
It changes you. You look the same but deep inside, you are no longer the same person. But you keep driving. You keep holding on to that steering wheel, trying a new direction, a new path. You see a long, never-ending road this time. It’s a little more peaceful, a little more quiet than the last. And all you’re armed with is that special gift. All you can do is hope. Hope that life’s journey will go on because you never know what lies beyond the end of the road.
I dedicate this piece to a best friend who recently almost lost his life…