Thursday, June 12, 2014

Insights After A Car Crash

I wrote this nearly five months ago but never posted it:

They say as you approach death you see a white light. For me, confronting mortality came just beyond seeing a white light.

I was driving along the road I have gone down thousands of times, on my way to the Metro North train station that would lead me to work in the city. Just blocks from my ordinary destination, an exceptional event took place.

As I came upon a hilly street, the angle of the low-lying sun forced bright, blinding light through my winter-battered windshield. I realized I couldn’t see through it, no matter how I squinted or angled my body and turned the visor. I slowed down dramatically, to a crawl, prepared to stop at a moment’s notice.

As I came out of the blaze of light, I suddenly saw the formation of something just a few feet ahead. It was another car.

I broke immediately.

Whew, avoided a close one there.

I quickly looked up at my rearview mirror and began thinking, if I can’t see ahead of me, neither can the car behind me.

I saw the accident unfold so quickly and yet so slowly. I heard the metal crumple and the plastic surrounding my light break apart with seemingly little resistance. It was as if the metal of the Subaru behind me was drawn to the metal of my Hyundai, as if the steel needed to reconnect and become unified.

Our cars had halted to an enjoined fate.

I didn’t blame the other driver one bit, knowing how the sun’s sudden splash down left us at its mercy. He came out of the car and apologized numerous times. His car, being taller, was damaged less, but not looking pretty either.

The police happened to be on the scene because they were tending to another accident up the block, also caused by the natural elements. It’s amazing how strong light can be, stronger than metal.

Luckily, neither of us seemed hurt at the time, though my back feels a bit stiff and tense right now. It was a bad bang up, but it could’ve been far worse.

The truth of life seems to be exposed under the bright lights out there. Law enforcement authorities interrogate with bright lights. The public can see what the world is really like under sunny skies. And the deepest explorations of science and medicine happen under intense lights. But for me, the light shed darkness upon me.

It made me think about death more than I normally would. There’s no need to spend a lot of time on death. We know it’s inevitable; it’s just a question of when. We do everything to delay or avoid its occurrence. For some, they are so afraid of death that it influences their dreams, relationships, and life. Death can’t define life.

What we really do is live in moments, and over time, we’ve collected moments that were good or bad. We hope for more good than bad, greater degrees of good and lesser degrees of bad. But we spend so many moments as neither good nor bad but just waiting to get to either good or bad.

Life, more than anything, is a lot of foreplay. We wait in line to get a momentary pleasure. We save for the big purchase and then the newness wears off quickly. We spend time working out and paying a tax just to earn a sweet treat. We watch a two-hour movie to learn a 30-second punch line or plot twist. Maybe I need to enjoy all of these small points of the journey more and not worry about the destination.

For me, in one sudden moment, my destination almost changed permanently.


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Brian Feinblum’s views, opinions, and ideas expressed in this blog are his alone and not that of his employer, Media Connect, the nation’s largest book promoter. You can follow him on Twitter @theprexpert and email him at He feels more important when discussed in the third-person. This is copyrighted by BookMarketingBuzzBlog © 2014.

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