Today while I was pumping gas at our grocery store gas station, I heard the loud screech of car tires and the unmistakably nauseating crunch of two cars colliding. I turned in time to see Car A hitting the front of Car B. Then I stood dumbfounded as I watched Car A continue driving in a very unconventional path. She plowed into a giant metal clothing donation bin, knocking it into the middle of the entrance to the grocery store parking lot, before she landed her car up over a curb and on top of a rock-filled divider.
I stood shaking as I watched a man and woman exit a very crumpled Car B, and then they reached into the back seat to get out their tiny infant. Car B man held the baby tight as Car B woman shouted new combinations of curse words. Meanwhile, the driver of Car A stood near her car, clearly confused.
I stayed until the police arrived and then I made my way out the the back entrance/exit of the parking lot.
When I was about three blocks away from home, I encountered paramedics parked in front of a house with their gear in the road. They were helping someone inside a parked car.
I drove the rest of the way home gripping my steering wheel and going about 5 mph.
My head was spinning with everything that had just happened. I kept thinking about that poor driver who had gotten so flustered from the initial accident that she drove all over the place and caused lots more damage. I can relate.
I hit a bump in the road, get flustered, and lose control momentarily. There's usually unnecessary damage.
The other thing I kept thinking was: I'm so thankful I wasn't in that car accident. I'm so thankful I wasn't standing in the street holding my baby or standing by my car confused. I'm so thankful there are no paramedics parked outside my house.
Sometimes it takes a close call or witnessing someone else's bad day to jolt me into thankfulness.
A couple weeks ago, I was watching tv and saw a woman give herself an injection in her abdomen. I suddenly thought about how thankful I am that I don't have to give myself a shot every day.
I can very easily get caught up in everything I'm dealing with. Sometimes I'm reminded to be thankful for everything I'm not dealing with.
I have minor health issues, but I don't have to test my blood sugar and I'm not waiting for an organ transplant. My kids have various struggles, but none of them have chronic illnesses or physical disabilities. My husband travels for work, but I'm not a widow. I'm not in prison or hospitalized.
I know it might sound kinda ridiculous. But it works for me.
When I'm having a hard time dumping my self-pity and being thankful for who I am and what I have, I find it easier to be thankful for everything that's not part of my life.
What "not" are you thankful for today?