What you are about to read may be disturbing and make you question everything about your behavior. You may even begin to second-guess your entire worldview.
It all starts with a simple statement: There is no such thing as an accident.
We tend to think accidents happen randomly. Or so it seems. But randomness is no proof that whatever incident or situation befell you was entirely a coincidence.
We are all creatures of habit. Of expectation. We are also creatures who crave attention. Recognition. Love. The deep-seated desire to fulfill those needs is where accidents really begin.
Imagine you are up early in the morning, preparing for a big day. Your clothes were all laid out the night before. You showered too, so that you can save time in the morning. The alarm goes off at its appointed time and you go through your bathroom ritual and get dressed, right down to your socks. But as you turn toward the closet to pull out your shoes, the foot of the bed seems to jump out at your toes. Crack! Instantly it feels as if you've broken something. The pain shoots up your leg as well. Shocking. You bend over to grab your toes and feel something moist seeping through your sock. Blood. Oh great. Now you have to find other socks to wear. Nothing else in your sock drawer matches the outfit you have on. The thought of heading to work with mismatched socks sends a shiver of anxiety through you. One cross of the legs and a co-worker might well notice your fashion faux pas. Your confidence seeps out. Why is this happening? Are you really the loser you make yourself out to be? And did you really think that big presentation was going to come off without a hitch?
Well, accidents happen. Especially when the underlying truth of our fears and misgivings about life course through our subconscience like poison.
So are they really accidents? Or does our mind and body conspire to make the worst reality possible come true?
Traffic accidents. Almost always the product of distraction.
Athletic injuries. They seem to occur whenever the pressure's on.
Back pain. They say it is often related to anger. So back pain is no accident.
These are all cries for help. Every accident may be a cry for help. For attention. For recognition. For love.
Some of us wind up in hospital beds, tended by nurses and visited by family and friends. We struggle being ill or hurt. But deep down the attention is appreciated. Needed. Vital. Desperately so. For a time, despite all the pressures of life, the loss of control is welcome. We can't do anything about our day to day freakout that we call existence. Our accidents remove the obligation to put up with the pressure. An accident is a release.
We become the focal point of life, for a time. We wear slings, knee braces, bandages and orthopedic shoes. It is embarrassing. But at the same time it takes the pressure off.
That strange little movie "Crash" from a decade ago depicted people whose sex lives revolved around calculated accidents. They got a rush of sexual drive from the crashing of cars. Their broken bodies were the symbol of their obsession, the understood and mutual love of being crashed. Accidents as sexual power and submission, all at one. Sex creates accidents. Broken hearts. Broken promises. Discarded lovers. Unwanted children. All accidents of lust and fate. But we pursue them because we must. Have accidents to survive. Be loved. Take risks. Feel alive.
The only thing that isn't an accident is the anxiety and depression of life. Those are constants, like death and birth. In between we go from accident to accident, perhaps intentionally hurting ourselves to reach out and touch the reality of shuddering difficulty. Life is hard. Even joy is difficult, for we cannot hold it close for long. It wants to escape, run around, get into trouble and find ways to hurt itself. Even joy becomes the victim of intentional accidents. It is a naive puppy thrilled to run around in traffic.
Of course we cause happy accidents as well. And those are intentional too. We tire of the strange and twisted burdens of life and allow ourselves to grow slack in our weariness. Then suddenly a sunset burst through the pines and fills our eyes with bright summer light. And by accident, we grow happy. We glance over at the one we love and think about how many things we have been through together; the money problems, raising kids, taking care of mom or dad. Just surviving and trying not to cause ourselves too much accidental harm. How did we even meet in the first place? Why did we fight? Make up? Stick it through.
Then we realize: All of life is a happy accident, except the sad parts. Those accidents we bring upon ourselves to carve out the present in bas relief, so that we can look at our position in life and try to recognize what it is we are trying to be.
An accident waiting to happen.
The Greatest Story Ever Told as found in the New Testament is really about the accidental death of a human being who came to life in supposedly miraculous circumstances. He lived quietly for years with little apparent controversy and very few reported accidents, until he elected to fulfill his purpose in the world, which was to present the face of God in humanity. That really disturbed people, and that was no accident. But if we study how the story unfolded, and how one disciple after another fell prey to their own accidental understanding of their Master's purpose on earth, the consequences added up. As a result, they became archetypes for doubt, for personal ambition and for lack of faith. Their accidents defined them in literature and in history. They serve to show us that we are bound to make calculations on our own that appear to be accidents, but which really play a role in our own personal fate, and that of others.
As the man was nailed to a cross by his supposed political enemies, he forgave them the accident of murdering an innocent man. But were their judgments truly accidents? Or were they secretly so desperate in thier misunderstanding they had to hurt another and hurt themselves in the process, in order to draw attention to their eternal need?
Accidents are not a religious problem, alone. They are the human condition and even evolution wrapped into one. The colloquial concept of evolution as 'survival of the fittest' is contradicted by our own propensity to bring accidents upon ourselves, subsciously. Or is the need to draw accidental attention to ourselves really an adaptation of the human mind, to open those channels of social support and need that help us survive?
No matter how you look at them, accidents play an important role in how we engage the world and how we survive our own twisted psyches. Accidents are the dark language of need and even hope. They are also part of our genes, whose happy and unhappy chemical accidents determine our very appearance, and our ultimate odds for survival.
There is really no such thing as an accident, in the traditional sense. Everything that happens, we really need. It illuminates where we are and who we are. It is how we respond to the accidents we experience that define both the kingdom of God and the future evolution of the human race. Accidents are selectivity at work. They are subsconscious choices made for us.
Some are happy. Some are sad. But they really are not accidents at all.