Thursday, October 25, 2012

Clarity from Calamity

Hello again. I'm here because my fingers punch keys faster than they swivel pencils. There is a lot in my mind and my heart, this evening. 

This morning, on my way back to Provo, I was the at the forefront of a major car accident involving seven cars on I-15 between 500 S. and Pleasant Grove. 

Due to another accident a quarter mile ahead of the flow of traffic I was in, a sea of red ignited before me, queuing my braking reflexes and heightening my attention. The relief I felt in maneuvering my car to a halt before I hit the car in front of me was short lived. About a millisecond after coming to a full stop, mere feet behind another car, I felt an instantaneous surge of heat and metal crashing on my ears and powering through my body from behind. 

When I regained my vision and hearing, I realized I was facing the concrete wall on my left, and a kind man in front of me asking if I was alright. My doors were locked, his voice muffled, but I nodded that I was after a minute of regaining my sense of reality. I immediately call my mom, tell her I've been in a slight accident.

Looking to my left, I see the woman who had crashed into me from behind. I got out of the car, to ask if she was okay also. She had a baby in the back seat. She was a mess. She was on the phone. She was hysterical. I told her that everything would be alright. She kept saying sorry over and over again. I don't know why. I thought it was my fault. 

Through mutual apologies, I saw out of the corner of my eye a blue truck attempt to break but spin about 300 degrees and barely miss us. I ran back to my car, realizing I was still in the middle of the freeway with cars whizzing past, possibly holding up more people and putting more lives in danger. With the help of a couple on the side who had seen everything, I made my way over to the far left lane, wincing at the reluctance of my wheels being slashed by my back bumper.

I get out of my car again, seeing the scene from a different angle. The woman in the van is still crying but calming down. Then another van comes out of no where and slams into her while she is in the middle of the free way, on the phone, trying to dry her eyes.

I have never seen sheer terror from any human being than before that moment. Her back arched as if she had been stabbed from behind. Her fear looked like physical pain.

The couple who helped me get to the side of the freeway made their way over to the two vans in the middle. The girl helped the mom out of the car, got her baby, and led them to the side of the road.

With my hand to my mouth, I'm racking my brain on figuring out what could be done. There is nothing.

Suddenly, a PT Cruiser swerves around the woman's van and the man who crashed into her, and into my car at around 30 mph, though it was parked away from the flow of traffic. I will never forget that muffled screaming, close enough for me to hear as she barely missed my vulnerable body by a few feet. 

As she opened the car, she was even more hysterical than the woman in the van with the baby. I am a terrible comforter, but I held her arm and asked her if she was okay. She couldn't even get a sentence out. Just tears and screams and confusion emanating from her mouth and eyes, her black hair unruly. Then the couple who helped me get over to the side were there. The girl was a nurse. I have never been more grateful for nurses.

As the nurse and I were with the black haired woman another blue car smashed into the wall, then hitting the couple's car on the side of the road, along with another car with an elderly lady in breathing tubes and a skinny  20-yr-old in it, which I hadn't noticed before. The blue car was absolutely decimated. He wasn't moving. But the man from the couple checked to see if he was okay and told him not to move. He was alive. I've never been more grateful for a seatbelt.

I made my way over to the woman with the baby, who just kept crying and crying and crying and holding her baby named Knox, and then hugging me and apologizing. So I hugged her and Knox back and told her it was all alright. Then we laughed because life was surreal. I've never been more grateful for laughter.

Looking at everything. All of the metal all over the shiny street. Smelling smoke, heart eerily calm, every muscle in my body shivering from wet, coldness. It was the most submissive moment of my life. I could do nothing but give in to chaos. There was no control, no order, no breathing, no nothing. 

Then I heard sirens.

I have never been more grateful for sirens in my life.

Firefighters, Paramedics, Highway Patrol.

The firefighters made their rounds, making sure we were okay.
The paramedics got the man in the second van, and the man in the blue car, and the black-haired woman on yellow stretchers.
The highway patrol came last and made sure everyone was okay, too.

I don't know how to describe this morning at all. My life has been changed. I experienced, witnessed, and was the recipient of people at their very best in the midst of the very worst. 
Compassion. From everyone. The first man at the beginning, the nurse, the boyfriend of the nurse, the firefighters, the paramedics, the highway patrol, even the crying woman with her baby. All were true victims of calamity. And all exemplified the kind of person that is the right kind of person. Compassion. I have never been this close to losing my sanity or life. I have never been so eerily calm before. I have never seen so many adults regress to childhood. Or so many young people rise up to the call to action and forget themselves to aid others. Compassion.

On and off all day, today, I can't stop crying. Nor do I really want to. I am so blessed. I am SO blessed. I am determined. I have an answer to things I have been asking and praying about. I may have a little PTSD for the next few weeks, but I have faith in the Human Race, and will never lose that faith again.

For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind. -2 Tim 1:7

Today, I thought I was just moving. I ended up surviving.
Today, I was unsure. Now I am set in stone.
Today, I gained clarity through something cataclysmal.
Today, I am alive, I am okay, and I am unafraid.


  1. So glad you are Ok Ari! I'm inspired by your spiritual gift which allows you to find Clarity in Calamity.

  2. I'm guessing this is what that post was about... holy crap. I'm sorry Ari :( I'm so happy youre okay though!

  3. wow, very crazy. good luck!

  4. I love you and why don't you blog more often.