I once had a free-for-all, heart racing, crazy, fishtailing spin out, from one side of the highway to the other and back, going sixty five miles per hour, while trying to avoid another driver who had just had an accident. I remember the violence in my car, my hands flying across the wheel trying to regain control. My coffee, and everything on my front seat and storage compartment, flying past my face and around me. I ended up regaining control and driving home without a scratch.
I know, in my heart, that I could have easily died that day.
Very often, when you’re involved in a car accident, you cross over from a point of trying to avoid having the accident, to acknowledging it’s going to happen. Although I never stopped trying to regain control of my car, I did reach that point where I knew I was going to hit the cement barrier separating the other side of the highway from mine, and I just could not see any way I wasn’t either going to hit it and flip over, or hit it and fly over to the other side.
And yet… I didn’t. I don’t, to this day, understand how I didn’t, but I did not.
Now, I’m much more spiritual than I am religious, but in the direct aftermath of that event, and even to this day, it just completely feels like God slid his hand between that cement barrier and my car, cushioning the blow, and redirecting my car the other way.
So I wonder…
Cats have nine lives.
But people, …people just die.
Now, I understand that there are always exceptions to what I’m about to propose, including newborns and the very innocent young, but could it be that maybe, just maybe, humans have a certain amount of lives too, like cats, and we actually use up our lives before we die?
No one ever really counts how many times they’ve almost died. We never know how many of our own lives we’ve used up. I’m sure there were times you didn’t know just how close you came to dying, so you didn’t know it was one of “your times”. We probably aren’t aware of some of them, since they’re not always as dramatic as a car accident. The cancer scare, the silent heart attack, the time you had that surgery and didn’t die of a blood clot, or that time the peanuts didn’t kill you. Maybe it was that time your intuition told you not to argue with someone, not knowing he had a gun and would have used it, or the time you were eating lunch in your car and started choking. You coughed it up and finished your lunch. All of those times could have gone the other way, but they didn’t. Maybe you used one of your lives, and just didn’t know it.
All those times when someone well-liked and respected passes away, and the family is crying and wondering why bad things happen to good people… maybe it doesn’t have as much to do with how good or bad you are, as much as how many of your own lives you’ve used up. Death happens to all kinds of folks. There doesn’t seem to be any correlation between whether or not you’ve led a decent life. Could it be that there’s a certain amount of times humans can be in a situation where they probably should have died and didn’t, and when those times are used up, THAT’S what determines when we die?
Maybe it’s as simple as those who don’t use up their lives are the ones who die of old age.
David S. Chorney
This is where I'm supposed to write something about myself. I still have some hair left. I am still undecided which I like better, photography or painting. My four major food group are seafood, melted cheese, pasta, and Advil. I love the hunt of a finished piece of art. All quotes, essays, stories, and any other written piece on this website, are original and written by yours truly, unless otherwise noted.