On October 14, 2009, on one of the worse rain storm days I can remember in a long time, I was involved in a devastating accident where I hit another car from behind on Highway 280 in the San Francisco Bay Area. The accident resulted in both of our cars as a total loss. I thank God that no one was seriously injured.

Accident Aftermath

Accident Aftermath

This incident has left me full of deep remorse for disrupting the lives of so many people, my family included. My truck, a 2000 Toyota 4Runner, was a critical asset of Organic Light Photography as it provided transportation to and from photography jobs, and trips into the wilderness areas that I photograph, as well as being the workhorse in pulling a trailer filled with the show equipment I use at art shows and exhibits where Organic Light Photographs can be seen, enjoyed and purchased.

Needless to say I need to purchase another truck that can replace the loss. The whole incident has left me very shaken up. Of course any accident like this is bound to do so, and it is difficult to get past it without wondering what it all means. It is diffcult not to wonder if I had just braked a little sooner, or if I took that risk of veering into another lane if that would have averted the collision. But we can “what-if” ourselves to no end with no real benefit. What has happened has happened and it cannot be undone. When a calamity occurs, we need to find the courage in ourselves to stand up, dust ourselves off, forgive ourselves for our own inability to control things outside of our sphere of influence and find the wisdom in what has happend so that we may hopefully grow as thinking conscience individuals.

We are living in trying times. Tribulations seem to be coming upon us collectively as a society from all sides and as often as we blink our eyes. We tend to feel somewhat sheltered however when it is not happening directly to us, but the truth is that it is actually happening to other fellow human beings somewhere. Everyday someone somewhere is in a car accident, or a family member dies, or someone loses their job, and the list goes on. I am sure you don’t drive down the freeway without seeing at least one wreck a week.

The funny thing is that the traffic that results from drivers slowing down at the scene of an accident always upset me. It is a pet peeve of mine seeing all those “rubber-neckers” slowing down to get a glimpse of what happened, as if they did not have enough drama in their lives already, or enough violence as portrayed through the media that they just needed to see a little more of it so that they can get their fix.

But it has occured to me how incredibly insensitive I have been – not to the rubber-neckers, they still bother me, but to those afflicted individuals involved in the accident. The possible loss of life and property, lost earnings due to injury, the sorrow, the regret , the remorse – somehow did not occur to me. It was as if I was oblivious to all this. This was not the first accident that I have been in. When I was 16, I was in an accident with my first car, a Chevrolet Chevette, and it was pitted against a full-sized behemoth Lincoln Continental, yeah, no mystery there as to which car came out the loser. But I guess in the last 30 years I forgot what it was like being in an accident. I hope I never forget again. For when the world crashes for one person we should feel like it is crashing for all of us. In this way we can always feel compassion for those who are living through any tribulation and always express our gratitude for when we are not and showing patience when we are.

Please be safe out there this Autumn as the roads will be slick and slippery with water and snow as storms move through. The beauty of Autumn should not be overshadowed by the gloom of dealing with accidents.

Peace and Tranquilty to you all.

~ Youssef