My very first day on the 50 was working as a prisoner to pick up trash with about nine or ten other inmates. It was around 9am and the road was starting to clear up from all the morning rush hour traffic. The road was quiet for the most part while the sun was shining bright, and for a split second the day began to seem more beautiful than bad.
All of a sudden I was startled by a loud banging and crashing sound. It literally scared me so bad that I thought I had shit my pants. A horrible wreck had just taken place while my back was turned, and not even a football field’s distance from where I was working.
This limousine had blown a tire and the 18 wheeler that had been driving behind them had apparently been driving a little close and not paying much attention to what he was doing. The limo began to slow down a few seconds after the tire exploded and as the truck continued to draw closer, the truck driver failed to see the limo in time and ended up hitting the right side of the back bumper. Luckily, they both we’re going over 45 at the time and we’re able to come to a stop before any worse damage was done. It’s all still a little blurry to me because I didn’t see it with my own two eyes, yet heard it and sensed it’s closeness.
Immediately following the wreck we of course all ran over to see if there was anything that we could do and if everyone was okay. Both drivers were fine but after the adrenaline began to wear off I started to feel this amazing new level of gratitude that I had never before felt in my entire life! I became so aware of the fact that I, or anyone around my for that matter, could be dead at any moment in time. My whole life I had been selfish and took things for granted, not to mention spent entirely too much time in the slammer.
From that day forward I began to live every day filled with gratitude and searching down the path of my purpose. I see every day as a gift and blessing, and not one to be taken lightly. That limo could have come so close to me that it struck me for dead, or I could have been in one the vehicles in the accident.
Who knew picking up garbage on the side of the highway could lead to such a profound experience?
You know what’s funny? When things began to calm down at the scene of the accident, I got a few minutes to speak to the guy driving the limousine. (I had to be a witness to the cops so I got to get out of picking up trash for a bit and contribute to society for a quick 30 minutes) Anyways, he was very shaken and need to release some of his nervous energy so I started talking to him. He was upset about his limo but happy at the same time that he wasn’t killed. I reminded him of how good it was to be alive and despite the fact that I was a prisoner, I had been reminded to be grateful for life from his accident. He smiled big, agreed, shook my hand and is to this day one of my best friends. He was even offered me a job at his limo company in Nashville, Tennessee so that I wouldn’t have to be alone on the road with my thoughts but rather interacting with the joy of others. I’m still thinking about it, but I guess we will see.
To drive this post home, that day on the 50 helped me realize a small piece of my purpose and that I wanted to help others see from the same type of view so that they could also live a full and rewarding life.
I am working towards this each and every day and always looking for new and different ways to reach people. I hope that this life lesson can help others and possibly inspire them to live their own lives full of gratitude and joy.