Perspective and gratitude

On the freeway the other night, I saw a car fire on the opposite side.

The freeway is flat and straight. The sun had long since set. The flames were visible from quite a distance.

An SUV was engulfed in flames. Police were on the scene. People who had presumably been riding in the SUV were safely out of the vehicle. A moment later, a fire truck roared by.

I’ve never seen that before. A little fire in the engine, maybe. Lots of smoke that implies a fire, perhaps. But never a car just burning up.

If there had been a good place to stop and watch, I would have. It was mesmerizing.

Talking to a friend later, I said, “My day was better than theirs.”

It’s not often that I’m grateful that I have never been in a car fire; I take it for granted as I assume most of us do.

For a short while that evening, I had another thing to add to my gratitude bucket.

I try to have similar thought processes when I’m in traffic because of a wreck. I’d rather be in the traffic than in the wreck. (Though I’d double rather that people paid attention to driving…)

Years ago, an acquaintance was incensed because her flight was delayed as the result of another passenger having a sudden, life-threatening health issue. I’d rather be on the delayed plane than the one rushed off of it.

Of course no delay is better than delay, and it’s sometimes hard to have patience when it’s error or laziness that’s causing it. But often enough, it’s easy enough to say, “Wow. I’m glad to be here and not there” and let it roll.

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