A few years ago I took a Dale Carnegie course. One of my favorite lessons I learned from the instructor is: “if you lived it you have the right to tell the story.” So that is what I am doing now. And it has turned in to an ongoing series that serves my purposes.
I’ve only edited for grammar/punctuation and clarity. I wrote the entry on July 26th. Don’t worry, there is an end soon. I will return to butterfly and flower photos before you know it. In fact, I threw in some friendly photos in this post to soften the subject.
July 26, 2015
Because of you I have lost and I have gained.
I learned the value of friendship. My friends came to my aid when I needed them. My friend Tore took me all over kingdom come to distract me from the thought of death. To distract me from sorrow, terror and rage. We drove to countless state parks and city parks. Sometimes multiple parks in a day. And certainly a new park each day of the weekend. I escaped by admiring bugs. Admiring the tiny details in nature that only I was witnessing at that moment.
My friends offered me a listening ear as I declared my disdain and my proclamations that specific people on this planet are costing the world more than they are giving.
My faith was shaken. I wondered for at least two weeks what would have happened if God forgot to take care of me. Not that he would. But what if? And how exactly, how precisely did I grab my steering wheel when I lost control of the car— how did I bring myself to safety? How? Physics proves my car should have veered to the right— but like a stunt driver I compensated and steered to the left. Friction slowed me down. I got a C in physics. And I can’t even parallel park. I’m the last candidate capable of executing the task of stunt driving. And if I had known what Friday, May 29th would bring I would have stayed home. God led me to safety even as my car was destroyed. I walked out of my car with every limb attached. Not a drop of blood— despite being violently struck from behind.
Despite my windshield shattering—despite having all sides of my car getting wrecked as the car bounced off of other cars… I am alive.
Imagine the surreal moment of going to the impound to say goodbye to a car you paid off months earlier. Grabbing all your belongings.
Remembering the good memories. Thinking of moments before the accident. The innocent times. Then everything was stolen in the blink of an eye. Helplessly and with vulnerability and smallness— you grab the remnants of what’s left in the car. You sit in the seat and look back at the shattered windshield. You wonder how the hell you lived through it. How did your number come up today, as if it was chosen like jury duty. Why me? Why today? Now what? How?
And then there was the day I sat for 2 long vulnerable hours in a waiting room hoping to talk to a counselor to figure out how I’m supposed to function. I was scared to drive every single day. Just driving 5 minutes away to my Starbucks was a daunting, highly stressful task. I was convinced 9 out of 10 drivers were careless and I was inches away from accidents and perhaps death everywhere and anywhere I went. When I was told I needed to take a vacation by going to group counseling for a week that included taking daily medication— I rebuked the counselor with every ounce of fight in me. And even under those conditions I was as gracious and polite as I could pull off given the circumstances. You (the counselor) didn’t deserve graciousness. I was careful not to insult you or your patients with severe psychological problems. I am not in that same category. I was in a car accident.
To the chiropractor and shady individuals I have encountered: you are a disgrace to your profession and I hereby put you on notice. I will never trust you again. Integrity. Ethics. Honesty. These words have meaning and value to me and I will not let you change their definition. Gray is not an option. You are opportunistic and selfish. I’d rather be poor and have integrity than make a living doing dishonest things as you have chosen to do.
To the careless drivers who talk on the phone, text, drink and drive and do anything but focus on the responsibility of driving: someday you may cause a near fatal accident or even worse. Are you prepared to deal with the guilt, responsibility, expense, disgrace and shame of your actions? And if you are—I do not give you permission to involve me in your decisions. Pass me by. I’m the one driving the speed limit. Let me be. You do not have the right to hurt me or the property I have worked hard to earn.
To the coward of a man who denied the truth. I will never forget you. I will never forget the example of a coward you are. A living, breathing Pontius Pilate. That you can look at yourself in the mirror— that you can face your family and friends and associates with dignity is appalling. You are the worst example of a coward I have personally encountered. You denied the truth. I hope I never encounter you or anyone similar to you again. I would sooner die alone than to be married to such a person as you. If I had kids I’d want them to respect me and remember me for my honesty. But I suspect there are many more of you out there. It takes courage to take responsibly for actions even when the consequences are heinous, unimaginable, disgraceful. But to deny the truth is even worse. I pity you.
To the people that listened. To the people that had empathy. To the people that prayed. To the people that worked hard to keep Denise focused on positive things, on keeping me busy, on making sure I ate and engaged in happy pleasant activities— God bless you. I would have cracked without the support of all of you. To Dawn who was there late night to talk me back down to a calm demeanor— thank you. Because of you I wasn’t alone to face the monsters by myself. To my friend Jennifer who gave me advice to use my creativity as an outlet to cope: thank you.
To my parents who agreed to take me far away— on a vacation— because the walls around me were getting small. The vise around my head was getting too tight as everyone – from the insurance company— to the faux health care providers and the liars and opportunists— were draining every ounce of my energy— thank you— mom and dad— for taking me far away.
To the associates at work who lent a sympathetic ear when you didn’t have to. Thank you. To my friend that embroidered a card and mailed it to me via snail mail. Thank you.
To the doctors who were honest. Thank you. You prove there are decent, kind, caring and honest people on the planet. You understand your role and responsibility. You listened. You let me ramble and ask questions. You demonstrated the goodness of humanity. Thank you.
To the priest who spent 2 hours of your day to counsel me. You let me pour out my fears and anger.
To the gym trainer who let me unleash every ounce of anger and hurt out through a boxing lesson. That was the best medicine. You empowered me to declare war on the demons eating me. The fear, hurt, rage, resentment, cynicism poured out like a volcano. It was a release I needed. And only boxing could do for me. Thank you, Greg.
This concludes my story of Friday, May 29, 2015. Thank you for reading.
Cameras: Canon EOS 5D Mark II, iPhone and Canon G16.