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05-19 Sarah Raplee – Riff on 7 yrs. Of SPAM & a Giveaway

Friday, October 3, 2014

Why Didn't I Die?

by Judith Ashley

It happened on a Sunday about this time of year over forty years ago. I-84 was fairly new and not as well traveled as it is today. I'd spent the weekend in Umatilla, OR and was driving home to Portland - traveling west on I-84.

"The Rains" had arrived.

Wipers and radio on, I was singing along.

One minute I was driving and the next I was flying…my car hydroplaning. 

I lost control, spun out, and crashed into the cement divider. When the car stopped it was pointing the wrong way. Barreling towards me was a pick-up truck and cars.

I’m going to die, flashed through my mind. 

Accepting my fate, I curled in a ball facing the back of the front seat covering my head and face with my arms hoping I protected my face enough that the casket wouldn’t need to be closed.

My life did not flash before my eyes but I did pray my son would be okay and that he would be able to stay with my parents and not go to Ohio to live with his father.

Tapping and a voice caught my attention.

“Are you okay?” a male voice called out.

I lifted my head. A man knocked on my window.

Stunned, I struggled to sit, the seat belt still tight around my waist.

It wasn't easy but he managed to open my door. (The passenger side door was lodged against the cement divider). Thoroughly shaken, with supreme effort I scooted out and leaning heavily against the car, stood.

Another driver stopped and directed traffic until the state police arrived and took over that job. After getting my information and account as to what happened, the trooper arranged for my car to be towed to the nearest town, Cascade Locks.

A few days later, a friend of mine drove me out to get my car in his truck.

I stood staring at my car, my only transportation and the reality of what could have been slammed into my gut. My knees wobbled and if there had been a place to sit nearby, I would have reached for it. Instead I grabbed my friend's arm and held on until the wave of weakness passed.

I had no choice. In order to get my car back to my place I had to steer. We had a towline not a trailer. It was a dicey trip from Cascade Locks to North Portland. We stopped more than once and at the very end had to push my car onto the parking pad behind my house. 

Lessons learned?

Beware when "The Rains" come. Pavement turns to glass.

The concept “Life is fleeting” is a reality, not a myth. 

Some things did die that day (the car totaled, my belief that I was invulnerable destroyed). 

Yet, over forty years later, when I think back on that time, I have no idea how those vehicles stopped in time. I have no idea why I didn’t die.  

And yet, when I think back on these past forty years, I can see many things I was able to accomplish in my work with vulnerable children and adults. Most recently I wonder if I survived that day so I could tell stories. 

So maybe this is why?                                       

Or This?

Or This?

Book One in The Sacred Women's Circle Series

© 2014 Judith Ashley 


Sarah Raplee said...

Wow, Judith!I can't imagine my life without you in it! You have touched so many lives, uplifted so many people. And since you became an author, you are touching even more.

We would all do well to remember the Baha'i saying, "We are but one step away from Eternity."

Judith Ashley said...

Thank you, Sarah. I can't imagine my life without you either. I do want my books to touch lives, to show people different ways to move beyond the fear that traps many in loveless at best and abusive at worst relationships.

In that moment 40 years ago, I was one step away from Eternity and it changed my life.

Shannon said...

What a beautiful story of the goodness of people. It's nice to hear positive stories. Thank you for sharing.

Judith Ashley said...

Thank you for stopping by, Shannon. There are so many good people in the world doing good works. CNN has a program around Thanksgiving "Every Day Heroes" and it has become an annual "A Must Watch" program. It is so inspiring to see what one person can accomplish.

Diana McCollum said...

I can't imagine not having had the privilege of knowing you Judith. Life CAN change it the breath of a second. I will definitely be buying the Anthology so I can read the rest of your story! Take care and see you at ECWC!

Judith Ashley said...

Thanks for stopping by and commenting, Diana. I'm looking forward to ECWC and the Book Fair - 10/18 from 4:30 to 6:30 at the Bellevue Square Westin Hotel. See you there!