It Might Have Been Otherwise

Jane Kenyon has a wonderful poem called Otherwise?which has come to mind twice lately.

Last week I got a breathless phone call from my daughter that began: First of all, Mom, you need to know that I’m okay.? That is not my favorite sentence. She was calling from her car on the shoulder of the inner loop of the DC Beltway during rush hour.

It was a rainy night. The beltway has four lanes and she had been traveling in the far left lane. As she approached her exit and moved right a lane, her car began to skid. She remembered not to pump the brake, but to tap it repeatedly. Even so, her car did a 180. She was in the center lane, facing oncoming traffic. Headlights were in her eyes. She pulled the wheel the other way and did a 180 the opposite way. She came to rest alongside the concrete retaining wall, though not touching it. I asked, Wasn’t there a lot of traffic? She said, Oh yes, when I looked back there was a whole line of cars, but there was this sort of path that opened up. It was God.?

It might have been otherwise.

Last week I had a routine mammogram. I got called back because they needed to do more comprehensive imaging. This time they did a spot compression on one side. I waited in my little pink gown. Then I got called in for a sonogram. I watched on the screen. The technician moved her wand around and located a black circle. It looked like a dime, or a marble, on the screen. She took measurements, making blips and clicks. We didn’t speak. The technician brought the images to the doctor. Five minutes later the doctor walked in. A routine cyst,? he said. Benign. See you next year.

It might have been otherwise.


3 responses to “It Might Have Been Otherwise”

  1. Yeah, me too. I hope to stick around awhile myself.

  2. I rejoice with you that it was not otherwise. But a good reminder that we ALL live in the moments between life and death. It is good to be present and thankful in the moment.

    1. Absolutely, Elizabeth. And some day it will be “otherwise” and life will be over. And we will still be with God. Still, I like sticking around on the planet as long as possible.

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