In this life, it’s the little things that count. The things that cost nothing at all, that can mean the most. I was reminded this week just how wonderful humans can be, how much kindness there is out there in our community. We should never forget that, and each play our part in spreading the love. And also be willing to receive it.
On the weekend I was involved in a high speed collision on the Hume Highway, south of Sydney. Got your attention yet?
Being a Sunday afternoon, the traffic was bumper to bumper with city-dwellers squeezing the last juice from their weekends and reluctantly returning home to their weekly routines. Fortunately, it was nothing too serious for me; the same couldn’t be said for kamikaze kookaburra who nosedived from his roadside treehouse straight into my car!
Highway driving is a fact of life for me, I tend to travel around 3,000km every month between our farm in the country and the city base of our family’s off-farm work and school lives. Over the years I’ve learned to drive defensively, as near misses are frequent. At 110kmph there’s no margin for error and this is especially true in heavy traffic.
In the end, it was just the wing mirror that copped the brunt of the larrikin bird’s impact – very easily replaceable. A steely determination kept me driving straight, avoiding the temptation to swerve and miss the bird, knowing this would only direct me right into the heavy traffic of the outside lane, causing yet another catastrophe like so many others this stretch of road has witnessed.
The front passenger seat was closest to the impact, and in that split second it was the cause for concern. I needn’t have worried. My son who was occupying that position was so deeply ensconced – headphones on – in his Lego Nexo Knights DVD that he was oblivious to the whole kafuffle. He didn’t hear the thud. He didn’t see the impact.
The driver on the other hand was more than a little shaken.
I’d braked suddenly on the impact and the driver behind me was fortunately at a safe distance. Indicating, I wanted to take the first opportunity to pull in to a safe rest bay to regroup and inspect the damage. That’s when I noticed that driver behind me indicating too. It turns out there was a truck stop right close by, and as I pulled in she followed me in too, pulled up behind me, jumped out of the car and ran to my door to check on me.
“Are you ok?”
My instinct was to brush it off, wave her on her way, she’ll be right.
But in truth, at that moment, no three words could have meant more. Even coming from a complete stranger.
After just a few deep breaths, I really was ok. Except for that burning sorrow deep in my gut for the bird (I know! I know! But I love kookaburras!)
It turned out the stranger and her travelling companion were more shaken than me, having witnessed the whole scene from the better vantage point behind, and of course there was my braking! And so we chatted away at that truck stop for many minutes, swapping anecdotes about how the bird met its fate, how treacherous highway driving can be, sharing stories of near misses, and how lucky we’ve been, and finally lamenting our remorse for the poor bird now lain fallen at the foot of his treehouse home. And then, when she had checked for a final time that I was ok, she returned to her car and we both drove off.
As I exited the truckstop and merged back into the busy traffic I had a brief moment of reflection on how wonderful humans can be. That at its best, humanity is a beautiful thing.
The traffic was busy, the timing at dusk at the end of a weekend wasn’t ideal, I’m sure not many would have taken the time. But this stranger did. She took the time and went out of her way to ask that simple question “Are you ok?”.
Yes, I was ok. And I was thankful.
The same can’t be said for our friend’s son who took his own life two weeks ago. I understand he had his reasons. And still, it’s an awful, awful thing that I would of course change, if only I could.
Wherever you are, whatever you’re doing, I hope you’re ok.
Well… are you?
- Or are work pressures getting you down?
- Are you feeling the weight of relentless parenting responsibilities?
- Are you worried about aging loved ones?
- Are you frustrated by flailing fitness goals or do you have chronic health issues?
- Is the commute doing your head in?
- Are you feeling financial strain?
- Overwhelmed by the endless challenges of your own business?
- Are you just feeling a little lost or lacking in direction?
We’re all in this together.
Yours, in resilience,