They say that when you’re about to die, your life flashes before your eyes. I disagree. If you have a just a few seconds, I think you can only have two feelings: accept the inevitable or struggle against it.
On a foggy morning, I’m feeling especially peaceful walking through the curvy highway, feeling grateful to be on a pilgrimage. When I hear a vehicle coming around the bend, it’s too late for me to get off the hairpin road with a large boulder on my left. There’s nowhere to go for this forty-feet portion. A big red truck advances towards me at a rapid pace. With all the fog, the truck driver seems completely oblivious to a person walking along the side. I wave my arms to draw attention. Feeling like an ant on the road, I realize that it would take the truck about a second to reach me. I’m not sure where it comes from, but a thought crosses my mind, “If I have to go, this is as good a day as any.”
Luckily for me the driver finally sees me and presses the brakes, screeches the tires, and swerves. Outside of a giant ball of dust around me and tire marks on the road, there's no other residue. Completely unharmed, I catch my breath, relieved that this was not it. Glad that I’ll see the people I love once again.
As I continue walking on the path (now off the highway), my own surrender only moments ago is surprising. How would I feel if I wasn’t on a pilgrimage, encountering this in my daily life? Feeling like I almost dodged a bullet, I wonder “it really CAN come just like that?” I'm not naive enough to believe that age is the main factor in death, but still having an experience like this brings a deeper understanding of the impermanence of life. I’m grateful to be doing what I love while I have the opportunity.
How would you live differently knowing that the play can end any minute? What keeps you from living your life fully?
From the Camino Journals, May 28th