The roads were horrid this morning, especially the roads along my delivery route (I have a newspaper delivery route for side income) that travels up the mountain to the local ski lodge. It honestly appeared as if the plow trucks had done nothing, which most certainly wasn’t true since I kept passing them on my route. It seems that it was just snowing too fast for the trucks to keep up with, and the temperature range during the storm was apparently perfect for the creation of dangerous roads. Needless to say, I was overjoyed once I slid my last paper into its tube a mere 4 hours late. Yes, my normal 2 hour route took me close to 6 this morning, as for all the snow my area has received this year, today saw the worst driving conditions.
Anyway, I called the newspaper quickly to report the 10 papers (a record this winter) that were undeliverable due to road conditions, and started to head home. Because of the snow and the simple fact that it is a winding road leading up to the highest local elevation, I was making the drive at 20 mph (in a 35 mph zone) with my flashers on because I was going so far under the limit.
Turns out 20 mph was probably too fast for conditions this morning. Rather than describing it, here is a visual aid:
Yeah. I ended up taking out a newspaper box (like a mail box only for…) right before I hit the embankment. The paper box left the only mark on my car, a small dent in front of the driver’s side door. This was literally the only spot on the road where I could hit an embankment instead of ending up in a ditch, or even worse, flipping the car down a hill. If a car would have been coming the other way, it would have been a bit messy as well.
After catching my breath, checking for damages, and leaving a “I will bring and install a new paper box in the morning” note on the destroyed box, I started to make a three point turn to continue on my way (since a 540 spin finishes with me facing the way I came…). While I was turning, a Sel-lo heating oil truck, driven apparently by a crack smoking junkie who just sold enough oil under the table to afford a fix, blew past me, very nearly into the side of my car, going close to 50 if not a higher mph.
If I was a believer, I am sure you could guess the direction this post would take:
“It was a miracle! Forget the starving children, the victims of sexual or physical abuse, the innocents caught in the way of violence, and the large number of people who die in auto accidents each and every day, God saved me, not them! I’m so special. God’s chosen. Suck it, dead people. Guess God didn’t love you enough to save your life.”
Of course, I’m not a believer, so rather than praising an invisible sky daddy for choosing to save me instead of the countless other possible accident victims today, I took a closer examination of what I am doing with this, my only life. One thing I think is impossible for believers to understand about atheism from the outside is the immense value the worldview places on life. We have no reincarnation to act as a reset button, nor an afterlife for us to continue on throughout existence. This is it, however many years we get on this planet before our body stops working. Some of us do not even get a day, if an hour, and others live past 110; no matter how you look at it, fair it isn’t. But no matter how fair or unfair it may be, it is still all that we get.
I can see how someone from the outside could look at this worldview and shiver. Belief in an afterlife didn’t spring out of nowhere, I can definitely see why many find the belief comforting. But without an afterlife, each and every minute we are alive gains infinite value. It is far too easy to forget this fact, to fall into a pattern of watching the days go by as we sleepwalk through our daily routine. I know that I had fallen into that trap.
My car has a dent from my journey spinning through the snow today. My car has a dent, and hopefully I have a rekindled appreciation for each and every day I continue to draw breath.
As I said, fun morning.