The Lessons to Be Learned

I’m starting today’s blog with a quote I’ve heard before.  My apologies if this isn’t the exact phrasing of it, but it gets my point across.

“God does not play dice with the Universe…”
Albert Einstein

I believe very strongly in fate; if something’s meant to happen, there’s nothing you can do to stop or change it.  I know there are many people who believe differently, but I’ve seen things happen too many times that suggest otherwise.  The key, in my opinion, is to find the lesson when fate hands you something you didn’t think you wanted…

I started a new job at the beginning of the year.  The pay is great, the people seem really nice, and best of all, it’s on the island of Alameda, which means I could ride my bike to/from work each day.  That fit in nicely with one of the New Year’s resolutions I’d made for myself.  However, that all changed on February 4th.

I had picked my bike up from the shop a couple days earlier – it needed a tune up.  I got to ride it to and from work on Thursday, without incident.  On Friday, I got hit by a car.

The driver was a teenage girl on her way (I’m assuming) to school.  She’d been at a stop sign, and was paying more attention to finding a hole in oncoming automobile traffic than watching for cyclists, and didn’t see me as I rode through the intersection.  She let up on the brake, ready to pull out, and BAM!  Her front bumper collided with my left knee and pushed me and my bike down.  She couldn’t have been going too fast, and nothing’s broken – just badly bruised – but I was more bummed by the fact that my newly-fixed bike was now toast (both tires were bent out of shape), and that I would be unable to ride for a few weeks.

The driver and her (I’m assuming) brother were both just as shaken as I was over the accident.  They were extremely apologetic and visibly nervous, and I couldn’t help feeling empathy for them.  I myself have actually hit a pedestrian while riding my bike, and know just how much guilt courses through one’s mind and body.  It’s one of those events that replay in my mind every now and then, and I wonder if/how I could’ve prevented the accident from happening.  I’m guessing the same will happen to these two.

When something like this happens, it’s very easy to sit there and wonder “why me?” and “why now?”, but over the years I’ve found it more productive to ask “what am I supposed to learn from this?”  It’s not always easy after an accident.  It was easier to complain about how unwieldy walking with a leg brace and crutches is, or grumble and grouse when Craig made me take things easier than I’m used to doing.  But, as the swelling in my knee (and ego) subsided, it became easier to pontificate on the purpose of the event.

Maybe my body needed to take a break from all the running around I’m doing while working on getting three careers off the ground.  Maybe Craig and I needed to spend some quality time together while he drives me to/from work.  Maybe I needed to see the inner workings of the Alameda Hospital Emergency Room, so that I could use it in a future book. I have definitely learned that I need to be more aware of the drivers while I’m cycling…even in a small town like Alameda.  It’s also possible that the Cosmos felt that this accident – while annoying and painful – would save me from having a potentially worse one if I’d ridden on another day.  You never can tell about these things.

I also wonder what the driver was supposed to learn from this; aside from the obvious “look both ways” lesson.  Did the event make her afraid to drive?  Did it make her dislike cyclists?  Will she decide to take a career in insurance, or with a civic government, to help create different laws?  I’ll obviously never know the answer to those questions, but I still ponder them.

It’s interesting what fate has in store for us sometimes.  That Friday morning, I had been riding in the bike lane and following the rules of the road properly.  The sky was clear and sunny.  The weather was cool but tolerable.   I had no indication or premonition that the next several weeks of my life would be upended, or that any plans would need to be altered.

Had I ridden a different route that day, or left even five minutes early or late, this “accident” might never have happened.  But that’s all moot, in my opinion.  Bottom line is, it did happen.

My job now is to uncover the lesson(s) and move on.


6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. Mom
    Feb 18, 2011 @ 12:49:19

    Sometimes, the ‘moving on’ comes before the understanding. I believe everything that occurs is correct & balanced. Currently/continuously ;} I am learning acceptance. Once I accept & face the situation, however inconvenient (:}, I can begin to look at options for a resolve if one is wanted/needed. When I am ready to understand, the explanation will be clear to me.


  2. Maddy
    Feb 18, 2011 @ 13:09:53

    I’m so glad you’re alright – not at all what I was expecting. [maybe you even found more time for writing – being a bit more static] Hope you’re free of the brace soon.


    • Alyx Morgan
      Feb 18, 2011 @ 13:36:23

      Thanks, Maddy. I am out of the brace, & walking with a very slight limp now. My apologies if the post bummed you, as that wasn’t my intention. I started writing this last week, when it felt most poignant to me.

      Thank you for stopping by, & for your concern. 🙂


  3. Diane Vallere
    Feb 18, 2011 @ 20:50:23

    When I am running late to work (often) and I pass an accident (occasional) I am always given an awareness-check: what if I had been on time? Would I be the one lying on the stretcher? And when I enter the intersection in front of my apartment cautiously, knowing how frequently someone blows through 3-way stop sign out front, I think: if I were hit, would I sustain permanent, life-changing injuries? Would life, from that point on, be so completely different that I’d only know my life now as a memory?

    You’re both brave and brilliant to be able to see the situation from both sides. I’m happy that you’re okay, and happy that you’re still able to write.

    Thanks for sharing such a moving post!


    • Alyx Morgan
      Feb 18, 2011 @ 21:48:43

      My mind does that sometimes, too, Diane. I find the “what if” game can be very enlightening, & sobering. I always think it’s a good way for me to be ready in case of such an eventuality. Though, in truth, I doubt you can every be fully prepared for things like that.

      Thank you for stopping by, & for the kind words, Diane. Yep, the accident DEFINITELY didn’t affect my tongue…or in this case, fingers. 😉


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