A few days ago, my minister asked me how I was feeling about the accident. I don’t think about it every day, but it does cross my mind when I drive to the church, since I take a route that avoids that intersection where a homeless man (a Desert Storm vet and an alcoholic) ran in front of my car, apparently committing vehicular suicide.
It’s been four years but I continue to carry the weight – knowing that I was, in fact, an instrument of death. I have at different times tried to rationalize it as God using me to give this man mercy and relief, and other times simpy figuring I was in the wrong place at the wrong time.
But no matter the reason, I carry it with me.
As I explained to Linda, the weight of it is like a layer of lead – like those lead vests they make you wear when you get x-rays – lying on the bottom of my heart, cupping it almost. It pulls my heart open…
It could be easier to try to keep my heart closed, to struggle to keep the wound closed by pinning it up and trying to build supports around it. Instead, I seem to be allowing the wound to remain open – not raw, but gently, caringly open. As a result, I think I am more compassionate, more tender, more sensitive, more loving.
I am forever changed by that moment. And I carry it with me. But it doesn’t make me less capable; it makes me more so.