Ever asked yourself that question? I have. Years ago our family was in a car accident as we returned from a Thanksgiving holiday weekend in D.C. It was a rainy Sunday morning, the roads were slick, and we were almost home. Pete later reported that as he drove down interstate 95 that morning he thought about how much he loved our minivan, which he had found used for an excellent price. I was breathing a sigh of relief. We had managed to drive down 95 in pouring rain without too much traffic or witnessing a horrible accident.
Two miles from home a young man delivering pizza lost control of his car while fiddling with his radio and slid into us head on. We were almost stopped when he hit us as Pete saw him fishtailing along Forest Hill Avenue. It totaled our car; I sustained a concussion and later developed cataracts from the impact of the airbag. Otherwise, it was just super scary. Friends came and loaded up our travel gear, we went home and dealt with the aftermath.
The other driver’s car had made impact on the back side panel of his sliding vehicle. He then careened off the road on the other side and disappeared down a small embankment. Our car was smoking and we didn’t know why so we were scrambling to get out, afraid it was going to catch on fire. (We later learned that airbags smoke after they deploy.) After the drama of those early moments, it occurred to our daughter to wonder about the other guy.
As she began asking about his well-being, here he comes wobbling up the little hill. Obviously shaken, my daughter asks, “Are you OK?”
He replied, “Man, why does this stuff keeping happening to me? Last week I had an accident and the week before that I got a ticket. I don’t understand why I have such bad luck.” If you know my daughter you realize that this was a strategic error on his part. She explained to him in no uncertain terms that the only common denominator in all those events was him. And perhaps he should take some time to consider his choices and his driving capability. This guy, like the rest of us, was NOT making the connection between his actions and his outcomes.
For the next few days, I am going to talk about why this is such a dangerous and common error on the part of humanity, and each of us individually. It is having a huge impact on our spiritual lives. Our spiritual lives have a tremendous impact on how we see, interact with, and affect the world. This is a big deal. The reason that we sometimes feel like a particular kind of bad experience is picking on us may be, in part, because we are managing our life in such a way as to make that pattern of behavior and consequences not only likely, but inevitable. I can say this to you because it is also true for me, so I am here with my heart in my hands as I say this: there is just stuff about each of us that we are not getting, and it is impacting us and others in a negative way. I’m sorry but it is true. Want to change? I know you do! But there is a powerful internal resistance to making the necessary changes that we need to talk about.
To be continued…