I got rear-ended on Tuesday.
I’m fine, and my car is fine. I have two nasty holes where the license plate of the pickup truck hit me in my bumper, but that’s the worst of it. We’re doing all the steps that we need to do and I’m doing my best not to stare at the dings and dents.
I can’t even pretend: I’ve been playing the “why me?” game like you wouldn’t believe. Especially since there was a car next to me on the road just seconds before the crash who had essentially driven side-by-side with me for half a mile and then ran the red light that I had slowed down and stopped for. In fact, I was remarking on how that guy had blatantly broken the law just as I heard the loudest bang and felt my car lurch forward.
Seriously, why me, why my brand new car, and why did it have to happen as I was obeying the law (while the person next to me was breaking it with no consequences)? I was lamenting this to my best friend, who replied with: “Maybe there is no ‘why’. Maybe sometimes things really don’t happen for a reason.”
As I told her, I disagree with that sentiment. I truly believe every single thing happens for a reason. We might not know it yet, but there is a reason for everything. But I think people get hung up on looking at the events in their lives and immediately going, “But how did this event at all affect my life for the better?”
I’ve been there, too. Been there too many times for me to keep track. And I arrived at one big conclusion: don’t be so egotistical. Maybe the reason has absolutely nothing to do with you.
It’s not always an easy mindset to swallow. I struggled immensely with the idea when I found out my friend’s mother’s cancer had taken a turn for the worse. And it only became harder when she passed away. But maybe the reason for this has absolutely nothing to do with us. Maybe the purpose of this tragedy has nothing to do with the people who cried so much in her memory last week. Maybe the reason has everything to do with a relatively unknown person, whose life was changed in such a subtle manner, but in a way that set off a chain of monumental events that neither my friend nor I will never be a part of.
Maybe the reason for me getting rear-ended has absolutely nothing to do with me. Maybe my life is not going to shift because I have to get my bumper repaired. But maybe it will for the passenger in that pick-up truck.
Or maybe it will for someone who was driving by and saw the accident. Maybe witnessing the event changed how they acted that day. Maybe they drove a little slower than they normally would. Maybe, because they got to their destination just a few seconds later, they were at the front door in time to hold the door open for someone else. And maybe that someone who received that small act of kindness was kinder to someone else in the course of events that day. Maybe it snowballs from there. Maybe it doesn’t. Maybe it continues its ripple-pattern into infinity.
How narcissistic of us to assume that all the events that happen around or to us must have happened for a reason that involves us. We’re one of seven billion. How silly it is to think for even a second that every single obstacle is supposed to happen for a reason that will affect us and us alone.
This is a seven-billion-person dance. This is not a solo act with 6.999999999 billion background dancers.
So, while I’m frustrated as all get-out that I got rear-ended, I recognize that there’s nothing to gain by whining over, “Why me?” I accept that I’m going to have that pretty pitiful thought process, but I also accept that there’s nothing in it for me to stay there. It’s time to drop the “why did this happen to me?” attitude and instead pick up the “how did this affect the overall song and dance?” mindset.