6. I am a worry wart.
We parents were car-pooling and it was my turn so I was picking up the group of school children at 3:30pm to drive them home. As they piled into the back seat, I told them, “Be sure and buckle up your seat belts.”
To further impress their young minds with the need for this bothersome safety device, I added, “Because if we’re in an accident, you’d go flying through the windshield.”
The one girl turned to the boy beside her and said, “My dad has a name for people like that. He calls them worry-warts.”
I had to smile. If I didn’t know any more than you do right now, I wouldn’t be a worry-wart, either.
Ignorance really is bliss. But when I was in Grade 7 a carful of teens from our city went to some function at a neighbouring one and on the way home they had an accident. We heard that one girl had flown out the front windshield and skidded some hundreds of yards along the pavement on her face. So not pretty!
One young mother I met in my teens would have been really pretty in her youth, but skidding on black ice one winter evening and hitting a huge maple tree had done its damage. She was thrown through their car windshield, then fell back in again over that jagged glass. That ripped off her nose and cut her face badly. Doctors did what they could for cosmetic repair, but the scars were still there.
So I worry when people don’t take safety seriously. Safety devices have been developed because so many people have been killed or maimed without them. Seat belts, collapsible steering columns, more visible signals, head rests, running lights, air bags, etc., have made driving so much safer than it was when I was a teen, but thousands of people have paid for these with their blood. “Lest we forget.”
I also fret over the foolishness some people indulge in, stunts and practical jokes with the potential to go very wrong. Back in Grade 7 some students asked our Home Room teacher if we could play April Fool’s Day jokes on him, but he shook his head, saying, “My sister died as a result of an April Fool’s Day joke and I want no part of pranks.”
In Ontario we heard the story of one young couple, how on their wedding day the groom played a practical joke on his bride. As she went to sit down at the reception meal, just to be silly he pulled the chair out from under her so she fell on the floor – and cracked her back. He pushed her around in a wheel chair from that day on. A moment of “fun” with a lifelong price tag!
I see teens doing stunts or wheelies on motor bikes and I shudder. One false move and that bike could scoot out from under him, he’d be lying on his back on the pavement with at least a big headache, maybe even a broken back. Spending your life paralysed from the neck down would be a terrible price to pay for the thrill of show-off glory.
One time I pulled into a gas station and the young man attendant had just taken possession of his brand new motorbike. He was telling me about it and eyed it admiringly most of the time he was filling my tank. Then he asked me, “Do you know anyone who has a motor bike?”
I searched for tactful words. “I used to know people who had motor bikes.”
He looked at me silently for a moment, then said, “They’re dead, right?”
If I had to count up all the people I’ve known who were killed on motorbikes, or who’ve had children killed on motorbikes… Like my husband’s cousin. He was a skilled, careful, mature biker, but his front tire blew while he was going over an overpass and he was thrown head first into a cement guard rail. There are no seatbelts for bikers.
A few days ago I read James’ testimony on his blog* and I rest my case about motor bikes: if you can’t even SIT on one without getting killed maybe they should be banned– like peanuts on airplanes? (*http://menofoneaccord.wordpress.com/2012/09/06/a-son-off-the-edge/ So thankful the EMTs were there to bring you back, James!)
I’m not a total worrywart. I don’t lose sleep over dreadful things that might befall me. I’m not especially germ-conscious; for five years I served customers and cleaned in a café and didn’t worry about contracting AIDS. “Do what you can to be careful and trust God for the rest” is my motto; a person can’t hide in the house for fear of accidents. (The son of a friend died at home in his own bathroom when he fell –after a mini-stroke?– and his head hit the toilet bowl.)
So buckle up. Drive sensibly. Take proper precautions. Turn off the machine before poking your fingers in. Don’t try stupid stunts. Above all, pay attention to those little hunches or nudges that tell you to stop, turn aside, go back and check, avoid this person/street/whatever. God may be trying to protect you from harm.
Have a good day. ☺
And I’ll say a prayer instead of worrying.