Today on the highway someone slowed down unexpectedly in front of me. I had to slam on the brakes, hurling all the stuff on the front seat to the floor. I managed to swerve to the shoulder and did not rear end the car in front of me. It brought to mind a similar highway incident over ten years ago.
I was on the highway with a semi in front of me and a semi approaching me from behind. The truck driver in front of me realized he missed his exit, came to a complete halt, and appeared to want to back up to get to the ramp! I could not go around him because the left lane was full of traffic, and in the rear-view mirror I saw the approaching truck getting more massive in the reflection by the split second. I thought, This is it. My three children in the back seat and I are going to be pancakes. I began to scream what I hoped was a prayer. The approaching truck was able to veer off onto the exit ramp that the idiot in front of me missed. He came to a stop next to my car. I looked over at him and then put my head down on the steering wheel. Death had been so close.
I think often of those two truck drivers--forgiving one and thanking the other. Sometimes our thoughtlessness causes pain for others. Sometimes our foresight rescues others. Sometimes we are just in the middle, helpless, and praying for release. It is hard being in the middle. We like to think of ourselves as ones with the presence of mind to avoid a tragedy. It is humbling to realize that sometimes we are only thinking of our own dilemma and not realizing how it is adversely affecting others. We might be like the guy in front.