When I replaced the What if’s with gratitude: A Thanksgiving Moment from Liz

Peter and I went on a date Saturday night. This is a very rare occurrence as we never seem to prioritize our own time together over everything else that is needed in supporting and caring for our family. But we did it. We got away for a couple of hours while my parents were home with the children.

And when we got home around 10:30pm, we were in the middle of a conversation we had been wanting to have for awhile and didn’t want to risk getting out of the car, going into the house and maybe finding someone awake or waking someone up by mistake. So we sat in the car for 5, 10, 15 minutes. Then we got out, had some luck as everyone was sleeping and started getting ready for bed.

I was in the bathroom when I heard a loud bang. I instantly thought, what is Peter doing? He’ll wake people up. I’ll admit I was angry at him for whatever it was. Thoughtless, I thought.

Next thing I knew Peter was rushing out of the house because that loud bang was not Peter but someone driving into our car at 35 mph. Our car was pushed 25 feet down the street. The whole backend was crunched. The driver was very lucky. He had on his seatbelt, his airbags engaged and he wasn’t seemingly hurt. All in all, for a really bad accident, he was ok.

As we stood out on the street the first police car arrived, than the second one, the fire truck appeared as well and the ambulance. That’s when the thought first occurred to me.

What if we had still been sitting in that car?

We were there only 10 minutes earlier. We were sitting in that car without our seatbelts on. We were sitting on our quiet street with our children sleeping inside. We could have been very severely injured if we had still been in that car. We could have been… I can’t even say it.

And now I can’t get it out of mind. That “What if” is burning in there. And here I am balancing the horrible thought of the “what if” with the gratitude of our stupid good luck that we had finished our conversation and were in our house when the car came crashing into our car.

This is my gratitude: for my luck in not being in the car, for my luck in having healthy children, for my luck that Peter and I have jobs that pay us and that we have health insurance and healthy food and water, that we have time to play with our children and love them well, that we are able to have work that inspires us where we get to be our full selves and care for others. And that we choose to use our good luck, every day of our lives, to ensure that others can have the essential good luck they deserve as well.

For all of this I am grateful.

Happy Thanksgiving to all.




6 Comments (+add yours?)

  1. jeanniemariec
    Nov 25, 2010 @ 14:13:40

    I’m so glad you were out of that car at the time….and excited to see you’ve embarked on a blog! I look forward to more postst~!


  2. Sarah Buttenwieser
    Nov 25, 2010 @ 14:18:06

    all about gratitude. shudder sometimes at what if’s but put you where you are that much more firmly. happy thanksgiving!


  3. Peter Kassis
    Nov 25, 2010 @ 15:49:46

    I did not even hear a bang! (Nor did I have a clue Liz was angry with me.) I just serendipitously happened to stick my head out of the window to make sure the car was locked, probably seconds after the collision…

    There but for the grace of God… I am so grateful for my wife, my children, our good health and all of our good fortune.

    I give many thanks on this Thanksgiving day!


  4. Karen Bayne
    Nov 25, 2010 @ 17:26:08

    Oh, Liz! Gratitude and tears some days, huh? I think at times we feel it all at the same time. I too am so grateful you are both unharmed. It’s hard to shake off the near miss. Thanks for writing!


  5. Liz O
    Nov 29, 2010 @ 01:03:26

    Liz, We are all very grateful you and Peter were not in that car, and ARE safe and sound.


  6. Deb McI
    Nov 29, 2010 @ 18:28:57

    Oh the ‘what ifs’, they will drive you insane! So much gratitude that a. you guys had a date, b. you got to finish your conversation and c. that everybody is ok! I do chuckle that Peter was the first one blamed. 😉 Great first blog!


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