Driving on a Rockslide

Rockslide! And Why Not?

Seems like our first inclination is to ask WHY? Why did this happen? Did we do something wrong? Could we have avoided this somehow? Is it our “fault,” somehow our “bad”?

Yes, I did ask myself WHY we hit a rockslide. The only point at which it seems like maybe there could have been a different future unfold was back at the gas station when we stopped to fill up about 45 minutes before the accident. Alan realized later he forgot to turn the GPS back on. I switched into the driver’s seat and we drove past the exit that The Voice would have instructed us to use in order to take the easiest, safest route to CA Hwy 101. Instead, after Alan realized the GPS was off, he turned it back on and we were instructed to course-correct and take the next exit. We were not informed that this particular mountain highway was dangerous, especially after a recent rain, that rockslides were a potential threat. I would have appreciated a consult, not orders, at this point.

The major learning I received from the experience was to do a more thorough job of planning ahead, getting the template of our journey firmly fixed in our mind, rather than being dependent on a GPS disembodied voice in the night directing us moment by moment.

Other than that, I felt deeply protected, somehow shielded from the worst that might have been. The words from Isaiah 43:2 (NIV) came to mind often during that night over the next few days as we processed our narrow escape: “When you pass through the waters, I will be with you; and when you pass through the rivers, they will not sweep over you. When you walk through the fire, you will not be burned; the flames will not set you ablaze.”

It was the strangest surreal feeling, both as we drove into the rockslide and then as we calmly received help afterwards. It was like walking on fire and not getting burned.

Somehow, by some co-occurring of circumstances, we did not go down the mountain cliff on one side nor into the mountainside on the other. We did not skid, we did not have any impact to our bodies. According to the CHP officer, I did the right thing . . . I did not try to swerve. According to the tow truck driver, even being so heavily loaded with luggage, cooler and goodies from the Longevity Conference we had just attended, helped keep us on the road and save our lives. For the first time, I felt appreciation for my over-packing tendencies.

So WHY? Better question, maybe: WHY NOT? We were dramatically reminded of something that we usually try to stay in denial about or repress the awareness of: we are mere fleas on the back of an elephant! We have the illusion of stability, groundedness, permanence. But it is illusion. Rocks slide. The earth moves. We are not always “safe.”

So the real miracle, for me, is once again: wow, I am alive! I made it through, I survived. Our hold on this life is tenuous at best – and I am still here, despite the earth moving, despite the rocks sliding, despite everything that has happened in my lifetime. I am here. Humbled. Deeply grateful.

Next: So what? What can we learn from driving into rockslides?

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