What Is Life?

Finding perspective in slow motion

It is 7:20 AM. I have just cleared a climb and shifted my gears. As I gather speed, my bike chain hums. The 50 km ride ahead of me has my heart singing. Then… “Ka-thump!”

What Is Life?

I lie across a bonnet [hood] staring at a windshield. My feet still entangled in the pedal straps, I instinctively make an inventory of my body parts.

There is no pain and in an instant, I am back on my feet. I am angry! “Why did you have to join the road so carelessly?” I ask the driver when she finally rolls down her window.

“I am so sorry,” she says. “Are you hurt?” She keeps on asking me.

“I understand you are sorry. But you could have seriously hurt me. My bike is broken, can’t you see?” I respond, driven by the adrenaline rush from the crush.

“Are you hurt?” She asks again.

I insist that she pulls over to the kerb. She hesitates, but finally yields. As we try to come to a solution, I feel there’s something deeper. She begins to tear up. That’s when she tells me about her son who is on a hospital bed in critical condition.

My heart skips a beat. I take her phone number and request her to be careful as she drives to hospital. I reach out and hug a complete stranger. Two newspaper vendors who witnessed the whole event are completely confused at the turn of events.

I call my wife to pick me up.

As I sit on the kerb waiting, I contemplate on life. What is life if we can’t be human? In a world where everything is about my rights. Where what matters most is how right we are. It is a very sobering moment.

As my wife and kids arrive, I say a silent prayer of gratitude. That no one was hurt and the lady’s car wasn’t damaged.

But I can’t shake the conversation with this lady off my mind. I call her to check if she arrived safely. Her response knocks the wind out of me.

Her son has just passed on… I am stunned! Her voice screams of pain and anguish. I go back to the accident scene. What if I had been self-righteous? What if I had insisted on compensation first? What if?

We get home and my heart is still troubled. My wife and I bow our heads and say a prayer for this stranger. Our hearts are heavy.

As I look back to the day’s events, these words flood my mind. Love is patient, love is kind. This is a perspective I will carry with me from now on. To be human is to love. It is to give without expecting any payback.

I am still in a hazy daze. But as I spoke with the lady later in the day, I knew exactly what I need to do. Be a little more patient and ever more kind to everyone.

Q: What is life if we can’t reach out to one another? Have your say by clicking here.

photo: a-shuhani

Certified Professional Coach, Communication Specialist & Author

I help motivated but overwhelmed individuals and organizations regain their purpose to lead so they can focus on what matters most to build a transformational legacy.