Life offers a plethora of opportunities to run into others, whether it’s from the interior of a vehicle resulting in a car-on-car accident, or from engaging in a heated argument ending in hurt feelings and mountain high levels of offenses. Each incident proves to be a disruption in one’s day, rattle one’s emotions and upset all parties involved. Whether I’m driving my beloved 2008 Honda Civic or just navigating my way through the day to day routine of life, I have been trying to avoid both kinds of run-ins. Lately it seems I have been quite unsuccessful on all fronts.
The car accident I found myself in a couple of weeks ago was minor. No parties were injured, yet the deductible I had to pay for the $2000 repair was not missed by my bank account. Thank God for insurance. In truth, the repair to my vehicle was purely for cosmetic purposes. It was still drivable, and the underlying desire to fix it stemmed from a spirit of perfectionism. If you’re anything like me you will hurry to the nearest mechanic if you hear so much as a rattle under the hood of your car. If you’re not like me that rattle could take years to get looked at…But sometimes there is more than a rattle. Sometimes there is an all out crash of metal to metal that demands the attention of even the most laid back personality type. Once faced with this crash, we will follow the proper steps to repair the damage. Call the insurance company, take our vehicle to the auto repair shop, get a rental, etc…But how do we respond when we crash into other people while navigating through our daily lives? When we have that heated argument? Hit below the belt…say the words we can never take back? It’s easy to make the scratches and dents on the surface of a vehicle a priority, but are we giving these same scratches and dents on the surface of our hearts, the same level of attention? Higher levels even? We tend to walk away from those types of collisions. We brush the hurt feelings off our shoulders not realizing they are really shards of glass piercing us in places now in desperate need of stitches. We give our selves a shake, roll our heads side to side and walk away, not glancing back. As if we had just bumped that person, not wrecked their day, or even worse, their lives.
I think our response is more drastic in car collisions because we can visually see the damage. It’s also easier to see who’s at fault. When you’re at fault in a vehicular accident, there’s no way around it but to own up to it. But what about when you’re at fault in life? Humility, forgiveness, reconciliation, those are ways we can respond to emotional crashes. Instead of walking away, we can suck up our pride and say “Hey, are you ok? I’m so sorry I hit you! I really didn’t mean it.” And just maybe we’ll get so good at this more caring way of navigating through life, the next time we see a potential for a fender bender, we’ll be able to smoothly dodge it. Both with our cars and with our hearts.