Tuning Out and Tuning In
Good Morning Friends, Family and Opryland Family,
Earlier this week a friend emailed me and asked me if I had heard about the BYU Student who was hit on her long board. It is a sister in law of someone she knows. The girl is 18 years old and fighting for her life. Hearing this brought back memories of my younger years and my own accident.
I was coming home from a day in the BYU Library and turning at the light by the Marriot Center. The thing is the streets are not that wide and you have to be careful and aware of what is around you. Everyone was in a hurry to get home that day including myself. As I went to make my turn I got uneasy about the car next to me. When you can simply reach out and touch it, the car is too close. So I did the obvious thing! I put on my Evel Knievel hat and attempted to jump the curb!! The key word there is "attempted." The curb has a deep gutter by it to catch the water runoff from the mountains. Half way through my jump I decided it was not the best idea I ever had. Of course by then it was too late and I was flying head first over my handle bars.
I was lucky. Obviously I have healed since then, but I didn't realize how bad I was until days later. A van with several BYU Faculty stopped to see if I needed help. I told them I was fine. They however would not listen to me and insisted they take me home and even to the hospital. I assured them I was fine. My wheel was bent in half, so I thought "Oh good new wheel and I will be back in business!" Silly me!! One of my roommates was on the BYU Gymnastics team and when she saw me walk through that door she immediately had me icing my arm. We were all going to a movie or out that night and I opted out of going. Ha ha I would later learn I was close to going into shock. She had called her coach and the team doctor to see what to do. They told her to have me ice my arm and (it was all black and blue) and if I was not better in a few hours I needed to go to the ER. About the time they were going to take me to the ER...everything seemed to be clearing up. It still took time to heal. It was very difficult for me to dress myself, to lift my arm etc. My bike was never the same and had to be replaced.
Why do I share this story, because as I mentioned an 18 year old girl was hit on her skateboard and is fighting for her life. Many accusations have been made, she shouldn't have been listening to music, she should have been watching where she was going, no skateboarding on campus (She wasn't on campus.) But it doesn't matter what corner she was hit on or whose fault it was, WE HAVE GOT TO PAY ATTENTION TO OUR SURROUNDINGS!
I take North Temple View up to the street I need to get to and to my street to go home every day! There are a couple of driveways, and only one street that seems to be a problem. The street has a YIELD sign, and of course that never applies to us! When people come down that street they are turning left, so they look right to make sure no cars are coming and off they go. On many many occasions I have stopped because the cars do not until they are halfway in the street and I could have easily broadsided them.
Yesterday I was pulling out of my driveway and I look to the street with the hill first (because once again people don't stop even though there is a stop sign there.) I look the other way and then check the street again. I pull out fairly slowly because I know how fast the cars come through there. Yesterday I was completely out of the driveway turning when a car comes down the hill, turning right and looking left. I hurried as fast as I could to get in a position where I would not get hit only to be honked at!! HULLO!!! I was in her way. I honked back and waved.
I was thinking "Oh great I can see what kind of a day this is going to be!" Ha ha Sure enough down on Canyon Road about a 10 minute or less drive, the car in front of me was driving very slowly. I have learned if people are not paying attention they probably don't know you are there, "STAND BACK!!" I am glad I did, because out of nowhere and with no turn signals she did a U-Turn right in the middle of the street. I think she decided to go back to the little grocery store on the road. The way she made her U turn when she flipped around almost once again hit me. I am sure she saw nothing wrong with what he did. But my point is, once again she was not paying attention. There were no cars coming down the road, and no cars from behind me. Just me and her and maybe that gave her the justification it was okay to do it. My guess is she was not paying attention to what she was doing, only she had to go back to the store.
We hear all the time where people were pre-occupied with something and have suffered tragic accidents. They may not have been the ones who have suffered, but most likely someone did. Often time we are told we all have choices to make. So many times I think we rationalize that they are "our choices" and don't affect anyone else. Explain that to the girls family who is fighting for her life. Explain that to the young girl in a wheel chair for life because she was hit by a drunk driver. Explain that to the children who lost their mother while she crossed the street on her way to work one morning. One of the comments I heard of a young girl accused of texting and driving was, "I was not texting, I was changing the song on my iPod." Is that any different?
Is it any different if we see someone struggling, notice them and keep on going? I was in a grocery store one day when an elderly lady was reaching to put a bag of candy back on the top row. When I came around the corner, she was talking to herself trying to decide what to do with this bag of candy she no longer wanted. Sitting on a crate and stocking the bottom part of a shelf was a young employee. He looked at me, not with a smile but with that smirky look knowing this lady needed help. I asked her if she would like some help, she said, "Oh yes! Thank you! I just didn't want to leave this and make work for someone else." The young man who had been stocking the shelves hurriedly left.
It got me to thinking about my surroundings and what I witness every day. Do I really pay attention to what is going on around me? Do I know? Did I pass someone who may have needed a small bit of help? What can I do to be more aware of my surroundings? For one thing, when I get into the car I put my phone on my charger in my car. I do this for two reasons. One it helps keep my phone charged, and two I don't have to fumble for it in my purse if it rings. I can quickly glance to see if it is someone I need to talk to and then I can pull over.
if I see something out of the ordinary I am going to pay attention. While living in Nashville, I had to go to the store to get some cough medicine late one night. Coming home I noticed a car driving very slowly down a street in my complex. When he got to the house of a friend he stopped. He was totally unaware that anyone was behind him. After a couple of minutes and him realizing I was behind him he took off rather fast. Something didn't seem right, I memorized his license plate number, wrote it down and stuck it on my fridge. The next day I was talking to a friend when the neighbor came by to report their car had been broken into over night. I mentioned the incident above and she said, "Yeah we have seen that car like he is casing the neighborhood. You didn't get a license number did you?" They caught him! And just some FYI I did not go directly home, I went the opposite direction he did and made sure no one was following me when I went home.
I have seen lost children and adults. See fires I have had to report. You never know when you will be that miracle someone needs at that time. But we cannot do it if we are not tuned into life and tune out the chaos. Just today someone made a comment about the chaos and all the noise we live in with our lives. I love when someone posts a thought about being kind and loving towards one another. The next posts shows a video of multiple people falling and slipping on the same patch of ice with their comment, "too funny not to share. What a bunch of idiots...did they not see the others?" (Okay I am being sarcastic there!) I think we need to quit fueling the fire that stirs that pot to turn off the chaos.
I hope I make wise choices, but I also hope I can turn down the chaos in my life and be aware of what is going on around me. That young girl, lying in a coma is someone's daughter, sister, aunt, and cousin. I checked her Facebook page today, almost 12,000 likes and very sweet messages from around the globe. I want to be the one that is on the positive side of the fence instead of the side who is wondering "What did I do?I know putting down our cell phones is something we all can do. Most of us are old enough to remember days when we only had phones at home and not tied to them 24 hours a day 7 days a week. We need to be aware of what is going on around us because chances are the other guy isn't paying any attention! One day that girl (or boy) on the long board could be your son or daughter! Let me know what you saw this week. Anything out of the ordinary?
Here is to paying attention this week....Hugs Laura