There is one word that I never use these days and that is the word ‘coincidence’. This is a word that I hear used very often, signifying that the speaker considers that the event which has just happened in their lives was really nothing to do with them: it was an accident, bad luck, good luck and so on, but the general gist is the belief that it was totally out of their hands. I used to be one who believed the same, but as the years have rolled on by and these seemingly random events continued to ‘just happen’ in my life I began to see a pattern, a pattern I eventually could no longer ignore. I began to see that these events which appeared to be out of my control were actually messages for me and often for others as well, with some of them resulting in seemingly divine constellations.
I have almost come to take these messages for granted these days as they have become so ordinary, but recently I received such a big one that it woke me up to the fact that we live in a most wondrous world; we are all connected in some way and there is always a purpose for the communications that we are endlessly receiving, but perhaps have simply chosen to ignore.
Eighteen months ago, there was a fatal car crash outside our property which I did not see but heard. The horrendous sound of the two cars hitting head on is very hard to describe but it was a sound that impacted right through my body and had me moving into action in less than a second. I spent the next twenty minutes or so, until the emergency services arrived, sitting in the car with one of the drivers who was still alive, but who I felt strongly was not going to make it. And she didn’t, passing away fifteen minutes after being removed from the car. As I knew this woman, I realised that as her life had touched hundreds of people over the years, her passing was going to touch many hundreds as well, including some of the emergency personnel attending this tragic event.
When I returned to my home and my family, I spoke about how I was feeling. I shared that I had just witnessed first-hand the real toll of the road toll, how one event like this would impact on many other lives, and that I was feeling impulsed to write about it. I could feel in every part of me the arrogance of so many drivers, taking for granted that they have a right to drive whenever and however they chose to: drunk, drugged, too fast, too dangerously and often with no or very little concern or respect for those other drivers they are sharing the road with, or even pedestrians on the side of the road. I felt that it was so important to share how one death on the road is one too many as the ripples from the passing of this one person would flow ever so widely, touching not just family and friends but every other person they have come in contact with.
But for some reason I kept putting off writing this super important piece, even though I did write a blog about planning today for not being here tomorrow. The outcome of this accident had highlighted to me the significance of ensuring that we have everything in place in the event of our lives coming suddenly to an end, so we don’t leave a ‘mess’ behind for our family to deal with.
As the months rolled on by, writing about the impact of road toll did not go away and regularly I would be reminded of its relevance. Then one day, about eighteen months after the accident, I received the clearest message possible that it was time to write.
On this beautiful and still, late summer morning, I was impulsed to go for a walk along a picturesque country road close to home. Ten minutes into my walk I stopped to chat to a woman who was weeding the roadside garden of what I presumed to be her property, but which in fact was the property of a friend. I had never met her before, but we began chatting so naturally, like old friends who were catching up after not seeing each other for a few days, with wandering vines that were choking healthy plants being the main topic. The conversation then found its way to the recent rehabilitation of the local country road I live on, and the disregarding behaviour of so many of the drivers, some of whom use it for a by-pass to miss traffic congestion elsewhere, determined to get to where they want to go as fast as possible.
I was then stunned when she shared that a dear friend of hers had died on this road about eighteen months ago. It felt like time had stopped as I wondered what and how much I should say next, as I realised that this would likely be shared with her late friend’s family. As the surviving driver eventually pleaded guilty, I had not had to go to court to share what had happened from my perspective and which the family may have not been aware of.
But I took a gentle breath and trusted that what needed to be shared in that moment would be expressed. So, I told her that I had sat with her friend, holding her hand and her head, talking to her until the paramedics arrived. With tears welling up in her eyes she thanked me and said that she was so pleased that her friend was not alone in the last moments of her life. She then shared a little more about this woman who I had also known, not as a friend like her, but in a community situation.
I also shared that I had been planning to write about what I could clearly see was the real toll of the road toll, but so far, I hadn’t. And in that moment, I made her a promise and that was when I got home from my walk, I was going to write what had been waiting to be written for so long. And I did. Finally, eighteen months after the event and as a result of the biggest and most clearest message, the piece was written and the next day submitted to the nationwide section in one of the country’s main news’ feeds.
The moment I hit the send button I took a long but very gentle breath and then breathed out all the tension from the delay that had built up in my body over these many months. But then what became clear is that maybe what I perceived to be a delay was actually divine timing which had a set purpose to it and that purpose was that, on that day and at that exact time, it was all set up for me to be in the same place as this woman; that she and I were constellated to meet so I could bring her a loving and most welcome completion to the life of her friend.
I don’t know whether she will have passed on what I shared to the late woman’s family, and that doesn’t matter, but what matters is that as a result of this constellation, the woman I spoke to finally had the opportunity to complete her healing process and for me, the time had arrived to write about this offering an opportunity to contemplate on our collective responsibility to others the next time we get in our car.
That morning as I walked away from that obviously constellated conversation, I could feel every particle of my being coming alive. I was smiling on the inside with the knowing that just as I had received the message and then followed the impulse to write, so too was I the messenger for what came next as I was the only person who could truly share the last moments of her friend’s life with her. There was no arrogance in this knowing but simply a beautiful settlement in my body from the acceptance that what had unfolded was not a coincidence but a divine constellation, one that had such a powerfully healing purpose for all.