I was in an accident almost two weeks ago.
I was coming off the Verrazano Bridge, driving along with the speed of traffic when the car in front of me short stopped. I couldn't stop fast enough. I knew that if I continued going straight, I'd hit the car in front of me. In order to avoid a collision, I veered a bit to the right. That's when I heard a loud noise. The truck in the right lane scraped the passenger side of my car. My mirror flew off and disappeared onto the highway, my front bumper fell off and my tire got sliced.
Baruch Hashem, nothing happened to me or to the truck driver. His truck was fine too. All I had was a small headache and a team of people to help.
First it was a police car. Someone driving by saw an accident and called 911.
Then the tow truck came. My car was towed to a safe spot a few miles away (while I got a ride inside the police car ;). I saw the buttons that make each type of siren sound and I eyed the policeman's gun with calm trepidation.)
Next the men from the towing company (who do this as a free service for all accidents on the bridge) offered to change my tire for me. They found the spare, changed the tire, and also outfitted the front of my car with duct-tape. I now had a real yeshivish-looking car :-). It was all ready to go...straight to the mechanic for some major fixing.
I had a lot of time that day to think and reflect.
The driver who made that short stop in front of me went on driving, having no idea what happened right behind him.
And I thought...how many times did someone short stop behind me while I went on driving?
I have no idea.
How many times does Hashem protect me from danger?
We daven for so many things. We sometimes wonder, Hashem, why aren't you answering my tefillos? But we don't know how many things could have happened that didn't. Because we didn't see it.
In shemona esrei, we say, "melech ozer u'moshia u'magein"-Hashem is the King who helps, saves and protects. Magein-protect means that Hashem prevents bad things from happening. He literally protects us. And I got to see it with my own eyes. The driver in front of me was protected, and Hashem was watching over me when I drove in the left lane along the bridge the whole time. This way, the impact of the accident was on the passenger side and not on the driver's side. Had that happened chas v'shalom, I don't want to think about where I would be right now. I probably would not be sitting at home typing up this inspirational post.
Hashem was protecting me.
It made me think of the concept we all learn about in school when Hashem passed by Moshe rabbeinu while wrapped in a tallis and Moshe rabbeinu asked Hashem, "Show me your ways." He wanted to understand the ways of Hashem, why bad things happen in this world. Hashem responded, "vera'isa es achorai"-you will see My Back, but you will not see My Face. The way we always learned it was that a person can only understand why they had to go through difficulties after the experience is over. While they are in it, it is not possible to understand why. Sometimes it takes years to be able to understand. (And sometimes a person can never understand.)
Maybe it means, when you're in the back, when you're behind someone, you can see what they were saved from. But they can't see it because they are in the front. They don't have eyes behind their back!
The person driving his car in front of me had no idea what he was saved from when I short stopped on the Verrazano.
We have no idea what Hashem is saving us from.
We may get frustrated sometimes when we don't see our tefillos being answered. But let's remember that every single day, Hashem is protecting us from harm, watching over us with love and taking care of our needs.
May we all be safe and be able to appreciate all Hashem does for us without any terrifying stories.