The Accident Clause

My husband, aka Mr. Safety (and quite proud of his role as safety captain in elementary school), have an ongoing discussion about safety and accident prevention. He subscribes wholeheartedly to “all accidents are preventable,” an idea that is fed by and supported in his corporate work environment, and with good reason.

I, on the other hand, tend to shy away on this one. In theory, it sounds good. But in my opinion, what matters most is what happens if an accident actually happens. Above all, I think there needs to be a focus on forgiveness and grace rather than faultfinding, which is how I perceive the “all accidents are preventable” idea.

Last night, I made a late evening grocery store run. As I drove down the dimly lit back road that runs behind the local park, I caught my breath as I became aware of a giant buck poised at the edge of the road. A wave of gratitude washed over me as I drove by, thankful that we did not meet in an unpleasant encounter. The thought occurred to me, what if I had hit him?  I was not driving fast, and always attempt to stay alert on that road. Would it have been preventable? Yes, I realized; it was preventable. Mr. Deer could have paused to look both ways before darting into oncoming traffic on a dark night.

I know it’s silly, but in that moment, I realized I’d been hearing the accident clause completely wrong. Through my personal filter, I’d been hearing, “I can prevent all accidents.” Suddenly I understood. Perhaps all (or at least most) accidents are preventable. But I am not responsible for preventing all accidents! How freeing.

And then I realized this probably extends into other areas of my life, where I tend to assume way more responsibility than I need to. I can’t prevent every accident. I can’t ward off every problem. And I am not responsible for the responses of others. I don’t mean this in a
“throws up hands, it’s not my problem” manner. It’s just a growing awareness of what I can control – my actions, my attitudes and my responses. And letting go of that which I have no control over. Again, how freeing.

So what do you think about the “all accidents are preventable” statement? And do you tend to assume more responsibility than is warranted at times? I’d love to hear your thoughts.

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2 thoughts on “The Accident Clause

  1. That’s where I’ve been all these years. Taking on the heavy yoke of “my fault, I’m sorry”. Even baby girl mimes Mommy by saying “Sawwy”. Sometimes “my fault” is warranted, but I am just recently learning to deal with what is mine and let go of what is not. Hard for me to learn, but yes, so freeing.

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