Happy Self-Love Sunday!!
I’m going to be honest and say that I probably shouldn’t even be alive to type this message but since I am, I’m scouring the recesses of my brain to find a fitting word to describe how I feel. “Grateful” feels repetitive and empty. “Glad” seems dull and lifeless. So I’ll try to express my emotions the best way possible as I process the experiences that have brought me to this moment at 4:35am on Saturday, May 4 in a hotel in San Francisco. I’m overwhelmed to say the least. Overwhelmed with emotion to the point of utter numbness.
About 9 hours ago I sat on a plane flying from Atlanta to San Francisco writing my “Free-Thinking Friday” post, Metamorphosis that went live literal seconds before the plane took off. I had full intention of writing that post all day on Friday but time ran away from me, which time has a funny habit of doing. I hadn’t planned to write the post on the plane but that’s where the busy day led me. I reread it a few times, took a deep breath and posted it.
5 hours later, the plane landed in San Francisco and gratitude fell from my lips as I thanked the Lord for safe traveling mercies. About 45 minutes after the plane landed, a few members of my choir and I made our way to the bus that was patiently awaiting our arrival. We loaded the bus, got into our seats and prepared to make the 30 minute drive to our hotel. I finished editing an Instagram post and began catching up on my favorite blogs. This is the part of the story that gets a little shaky and maybe you’ll understand why if I give a little backstory.
In October of 2015, I got into my first car accident. It was drizzling outside and my car hydroplaned into the side of the overpass I was driving on. The car spun three to four times (I don’t exactly remember the details because of the nature of the accident), hitting the cement on the side overlooking the road below. As my car spun I remember thinking “I will fall down there, this is the end”. Spoiler alert: it wasn’t the end. I ended up totaling my car but I was perfectly (physically) fine.
In January of 2017, I got into my second car accident. It had just rained and I was driving down the side of a mountain. There are many twists and turns but since I lived up the mountain I had become comfortable with the drive. That morning was chaotic and I found myself leaving the house extremely late. But here’s the funny part, I usually speed, everywhere, anywhere, anytime, all the time but that afternoon, when I got in the car I felt a peaceful/calming sensation come over me. Something said “you’ll be there when you need to”. Driving under the speed limit, my car hydroplaned on the slippery surface and swerved from the inner lane across traffic to the outer lane and then up the mountain side. I hit a rock that prompted my car to flip over. I landed on the mountain with my front tires landing last, up the side of the rocks. I walked away unscathed. I took a shower to get all the glass and blood off my body and then proceeded to get on a bus to go to the Bahamas with my choir.
Now back to present day:
Around 12:45am on May 4, 2019, after a long day of errand running and flight catching, I was finally excited to relax on a bus as I headed to my hotel in San Francisco. I loaded my bag onto the bus and quickly found my seat. After catching up on two of my favorite blogs, I’m suddenly brought back to reality when I hear my choir manager trying to get the attention of the speeding bus driver. Before I can even process what’s happening, I watch in terror as our bus slams into a vehicle that had already been in a car accident and was waiting for relief. The bus fills with screams and cries and then bam, another vehicle slams into the back of the bus. As soon as we realized what had just happened we quickly made our exit, many of us leaving our glasses that flew off our faces during the impact, our bags, wallets and laptops. All of us leaving our suitcases. We walked across four lanes of traffic to watch in absolute horror as the bus went up into flames. We heard the bus making popping noises as parts of it blew up, taking our clothes, money, shoes and makeup with it. It all went up in flames. But I’m living to tell the story.
The 20 people on that bus walked away. The 20 people on that bus didn’t have clothes to change into or bath gel to shower with in the morning but we have our lives. The collisions didn’t end the same for everyone. The driver of the vehicle who hit us from behind didn’t have the opportunity to walk away or call their parents crying.
When I woke up this morning, I kept hearing the phrase “I am Phoenix, I am Phoenix, I am Phoenix” but if you read Two Poems, One Author, you’d know that a few weeks ago, I had realized that already. So here I am on the other side of the ashes, once again.
This Self-Love Sunday, I’m appreciating the moments I shouldn’t have walked away from but did. I deserve to be the greatest version of myself simply because I’m still here.
Here’s a link to a news report about the accident: https://sanfrancisco.cbslocal.com/2019/05/04/one-dead-three-injured-in-fiery-101-crash-involving-tour-bus-students-oaktown-university/amp/