2.03.2011

An Encounter with a Red Truck (Day 29)

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

2 comments:

  1. Anonymous2/03/2011

    What a close encounter -- quite literally inches away! So glad you made it ... and reminded all of us to snap out of the slumber too. :)

    Your episode reminds of the story in Fight Club, where Tyler fakes a robbery at a convenient store. While looking at the cashier's drivers license and cocking the gun to his head, Tyler asks him: "What did you want to be, Raymond K. Hessel?" Raymond: "Veterinarian!" Tyler: "I'm keeping your license. I know where you live. I'm going to check on you. If you aren't back in school and on your way to being a veterinarian in six weeks, you will be dead."

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  2. Oh I totally forgot about that scene from, Fight Club. Powerful stuff! Maybe I need to watch it again. Thanks for the reminder.

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