Here in the U.S. we seem to be tossing around percentages a lot lately. Especially “the 99%” and “the 1%.” Count me as a proud ’99%-er’ who never aspires to be a ’1%-er.’ Ever. But, then, my life lesson I’m working on isn’t about occupying anything but myself…and doing it the very best that I can.
On July 4th, my daughter, my dog, and I had just gone through the McDonald’s drive thru and had turned onto a busy, six lane road. We were driving along and I decided (with my driver’s seat controls) to roll up my daughter’s window the five or six inches it was open. It’s a two door car, the window quite long, and I didn’t want my dog to manage to get her entire head through it. I pulled up on the window lever, the window started to go up and all of the sudden a loud crash…. the entire window instantaneously shattered inward. The glass landed all over my daughter’s lap, the area space between the seat and the door, and on the back seat and floor.
The loud noise, the glass falling inward… my daughter and I had shrieked, at the same time, same octave. My first thought was… what??? WHAT??? A bullet? A wrist rocket? My daughter, still holding the McDonald’s bag in her hand, was completely in shock…staring at me with eyes and mouth wide open. She said, “mom, the glass is going to cut me!” I told my daughter to stay still, that it was going to be ok, that auto glass isn’t like regular glass. I immediately began looking for room to change lanes so that I could pull over and get off the road. All around us, cars still driving along as though nothing happened.
Once we parked, I helped my daughter carefully get out of the car, then flipped the seat forward and took my dog out. I searched the car and found… nothing but glass. I mentally retraced our path, replaying the scenario, over and over. We had been en route to see a fireworks show and, soon, one of my girlfriends arrived that we had been headed to meet for the fireworks show.
We all just stared at the mess, completely dumbfounded… my daughter and I still shaking and trying hard to calm ourselves.
Making a long story short (no, there’s no hope at this point), I used a shop vac at a nearby gas station to vacuum the bulk of the glass from my car. My friend drove my daughter and my dog back to my place, so they didn’t have to sit in seats that still, no matter the vacuuming, had glass on them. I parked in my spot at my apartment, emptied the glove box of all my personal belongings, taped plastic over my window, locked the car (in theory), went back to my apartment and hoped for the best. The next day I called my insurance and a glass technician with a mobile glass company came and replaced the window. Much as I wanted to attach logic and cause, etc, to the situation… there really was none. The technician gave me an explanation that “sometimes, widows just do that.” Dust can accumulates in the tracks and yadda yadda and then yadda yadda…I don’t know all other factors. But, the end result is: sometimes windows shatter in the blink of an eye, no warning.
Yesterday — nearly two months later — I was turning into my apartment complex and started to roll up the passenger window in my car. I realize that my shoulders were rising, muscles tensing. Part of me still steels myself against the possibility, each time now, rolling up the window, that it will come crashing down again.
But I reminded myself that I have driven <mumble mumble> many years and alllll those years… no window has ever shattered like that in any of my cars before. Nor in any of my parents’ cars. Or my friends’ cars. And the list goes on. Not too many people have ever even heard of such a thing happening. Let alone the fact I’ve never known anyone else that actually had it happen to them.
So, I figure the percentages are with me. And that’s how I need to proceed…that needs to be my focus if I am to not drive around with either the widows always rolled up… or not have internal dread and quivering start, every time I go to roll up a widow that I was brave enough to roll down.
And the life lesson hit me, immediately after (as it so, so often does)…and thus I subject share it with you here.
I have let fear — fear of many other types — also inhibit me, particularly lately, as I travel in the no-man’s-land (pun intended) that is post divorce. In real and practical ways, I am living life like it’s a widow that has shattered and now, at any moment, will shatter again.
Even if I go as far as to say that I *have* lived through some shattering widows in my life (which can be debatable, depending on our definition in this metaphor)… regardless, I have always, always, ALWAYS cleaned them up, and gone on about my life. Just as I did with the car widow.
I am not flaunting or taunting fate. I am not begging the universe to “bring it on!” By no means. But I realize that sometimes… metaphorical ‘widows’ just shatter in the blink of an eye, no warning. And, when they do, resilient people clean up the glass, usually seek help, get it taken care of the best they can… and then they get on with life again.
Resilient people…healthy people… think about and focus on the percentages. They act in accordance with the 99% of times that things go right, not crawl under a rock, terrified and unwilling to face the 1% of times that they don’t. They practice each day… they are polishing their courage, each and every day they get out there and do their best.