by Jane Keep, UK
The other day I was working in a hospital where I work part time as a manager. I’d had a busy and enjoyable day. I knew that I needed to leave by 5pm, and when it got to 4.45pm my body gave me a nudge (it became restless) to say “it’s time to go”. I packed up my things and was just about to head out of the door when my boss asked me if I had a ‘moment’, as earlier in the day she had cancelled a meeting we had previously booked. When my boss asked me this my tummy flipped and my body felt hot and uncomfortable as I knew I needed to leave at that time. Yet I just said to myself, “a few moments won’t matter, let’s just go and see her for a few moments”. So I did that; I went into her office for 15 or so minutes. While I was in there I was constantly clock watching, and feeling hot, distracted and restless.
In the end I left around 5.20pm and walked over to the staff car park to my (bright red) car. As I got nearer I noticed something oddly different about the car, and as I got even closer I realised that it had a large dent and a deep long scratch in the middle of the rear driver’s side door. I walked around the car a few times a little confused as to how this could happen in a staff car park (when all the cars were either stationary, or people were simply arriving or leaving). At that time there were very few cars left in the car park and the car park seemed spacious.
I then noticed a hand written note left under the windscreen wipers. It was by now raining, and the ink on the note was running, but I could read a person’s name, with an apology and a phone number. I called this person and we exchanged insurance company details. He apologised in his words: “I’m sorry but I simply did not see your car there as I reversed”. I then asked him what time he had ‘bumped’ into my car…. he said at 5.10pm. When he said this time I was not surprised, though at the same time I was amazed. 5.10pm was after the time that I was due to have left the hospital that day (I was due to leave at 5pm), yet due to my overriding my feelings and not honouring the true time for me to leave work that day, I was still there at 5.20pm, and my car was still in the car park at the time he left the hospital (at 5.10pm).
As I stood in the car park that evening, for the first time in my life in this kind of circumstance I didn’t feel angry at the other person for ‘bumping my car’, and I didn’t feel it was an ‘accident’ as such. I realised that it was karma. Karma because I was due to have left the hospital earlier, and at the time he arrived to leave, my car wasn’t actually meant to be there (if you see what I mean). He drove into it, not seeing it was there, and I smiled in this realisation as of course it would not have been ‘seen’ as it was supposed to have left by that time. In these moments, and in my reflections after this occurrence, I experienced something quite different than before. When people had bumped into my car before, I had always blamed them for their carelessness etc. I had always said it was an accident and taken no responsibility for it. In this simple incident I could feel how the choices I make are connected to something much greater, something that connects with everyone else/everything else, and this confirmed what I had already known somewhere deep down: that every single action, incident, occurrence in our lives has a deeper meaning and is related to our choices – in this case my choice to dishonour my feelings and stay later, so my car was, if you will, ‘out of place’ and consequently was not ‘seen’. My choice to stay was the cause, the effect being that someone bumped into my car.
This incident has certainly given me a gentle nudge to pay full attention to my feelings, and that even a moment’s delay can have an implication somewhere down the line, whatever that implication is.