THANK GOD IT DID NOT HAPPEN
A calamity was averted today. Maybe I should have said a fatal accident was averted today. I would have been in the midst of what could have been a disaster.
Thank God the brakes held.
Thank God I saw it happen just in time, I was alert.
Thank God I wasn’t speeding.
Thank God I did not hit the bicycle or the cyclist. Not my mistake, he was on the right extreme side of the road and he skidded and fell just in the way of my car, both cycle and he.
Thank God I was wearing the seat belt. I could have had a whiplash.
Thank God no other car rammed into mine.
Thank God I was saved from all the messiness that accompanies such accidents – Police, Insurance, Hospitals, court case, injuries and etc. But perhaps the most calamitous would have been carrying the guilt of having been responsible for someone’s death, throughout my life.
You will notice I thanked God seven times today. I did not know who else to thank. I could not have thanked my wife, she had no role to play and ‘Thank God’ once again she was not there on the scene. I think that the first exclamation that comes to mind in such situations is ‘Thank God!’ whether you believe in him or not. This comes automatically and may not mean anything except affording you a release from all that pent up sensations that have built up within you in such situations. Try putting in some other word other than ‘God’ and see how you feel. A small exercise but would be worthwhile.
You may of course say “Bullshit man, what are you talking about? How does God come into any of this? It’s a freak incident, you were just plain lucky.” But definitely when you want to express your disgust or disapproval of what is happening, the first exclamation that comes from your lips is “Oh shit!” and you will find more colorful four letter words to vent your anger or expressing extreme disapproval.
On second thoughts I found that I could have said ‘Thank my stars’. I have never owned a star so how could I thank them. Or you could have said to me ‘Thank your stars’ after listening to my escape from a very messy situation. There are billions, trillions and more of them out there, so which one should I thank. The only stars I know are the filmy kind, who of course may end up thanking their stars for having made them into a star. For all you know I could have averted the situation if I had gone through ‘What the stars foretell this week’.
On third thoughts I could have said ‘Oh Gosh!’ or ‘By Jove!’ exclamations I remembered hearing from the more Americanized amongst us, both exclamations of surprise. So to really comprehend what they meant I sought refuge in the Free Dictionary. Well I did learn that both are exclamations of surprise and excitement. But the really revealing part is that they are somehow related to God (may be minor Gods but all the same God). ‘Gosh’ is used to express surprise or emphasis, you can always say “Gosh she’s a stunner” or something like that. It is North American in origin and used as a euphemism for ‘God’. So I could have said “Thank Gosh” but somehow that does not sound as lyrical as ‘God’. Then I experimented with ‘Jove’ and it didn’t sound alright for the situation on hand. But again ‘God’ did not leave me as I found that ‘Jove’ is derived from the old Latin word ‘Jovis’ another name for Jupiter the king of the Greek Gods.
“Wish you Godspeed” I heard someone say when I started on my journey. He could have said “Wish you speed of light” or if he wanted me to take some more time “Wish you speed of sound”. But it was explained to me that it had nothing to do with speed, only expression of good wishes for my journey. I thought that maybe they had missed an ‘O’.
So why does God creep into all this again and again. May be I got too carried away. Now where did we (sorry that should have been I) start all this rambling. All because I felt relieved that nothing untoward happened. But the moral of all this rambling should not be lost and may be the entire episode can be condensed to two words ‘Drive Safely’, which of course is in your hands and hope the other guy on the road also does, which of course is in his. Well ultimately leave the rest to God. Rest in peace or rest in pieces.
My atheist friend said “What Crap! If at all you have to thank someone it should be the manufacturer of the car, for the brakes held and the driver of the car behind for not ramming into you. There is no such thing as a God, who had come down to save you. As for the cyclist it would have been enough to let out some choicest abuses at him for that would have given you immediate release. Who is this God anyway that you have to thank him?”
Then it came to the turn of the existentialist in my group of friends. He was silent for some time as if he was in some deep thought and ultimately opened his mouth “There is no sense in trying to analyze what happened or what would have happened or what will happen. What happened just happened, that’s what life is all about, nothing more nothing less. There was nothing before and there is nothing beyond. You will discover your authenticity when you stop driving your car and avoid such situations.”
The Agnostic butted in “I do not know whether it happened or did not happen for I was not there to witness it. I only have your word for it and I am skeptical of things that I have not seen.”
So you see it all started with that episode today. I never knew that ‘God’ would generate so much discussion on such a small happening. I wish I had never said ‘Thank God’. By the way the truth is I never said anything except stopping for a moment to ensure that the cyclist was not injured by the fall and once satisfied that he had not hurt himself, I drove away. I should confess that I was though shaken up for the moment.
As a small exercise can you count the number of times that I have used the word ‘Happened’? I have not yet done that, for what I wrote so far just happened.