Getting ready to fly across three continents has had me worried but I should have been more concerned about crossing the street. This morning we three experienced a near miss with a bus. When I write "near" I mean the closest I've ever come to being struck by a vehicle.
Our street has been getting paved with tar. That has left us a bit bewildered. What's that sticky pile of goo? What's with all the ship-ship soles in the street? Ahhhh, there were stuck in the goo. Why are the cars swerving? You get the picture. It's been a strange street.
So, when we walked across the street with no traffic early this morning, it was just another moment of weird. We made it across to the boulevard's meridian. My husband looked at the traffic coming on the other side and then told us to get going. We stepped off the curb and
SIDE OF THE BUS!
That's what zoomed up in front of my eyes. It had been going THE WRONG WAY about 40 mph. We hadn't seen it coming. It came this way to avoid the other side's new tar. It had to suddenly veer to avoid hitting and killing all three of us. I screamed one of those blood-curdling screams.
Alhumdulillah we were not hit. Alhumdulillah I always take El-Kid's hand. Alhumdulillah I always put him away from traffic---because "yes" I do think of getting hit by a car on the street. I know how dangerous it is to cross streets here.
The bus driver yelled something out at my husband who was ready to choke the hell out of him. I know that's not nice. I'm not saying it is--and I don't mind that he's not nice at times like that. He's not totally civilized to the point of discussing calmly the intricacies of road rules when his wife and child are in danger.
Because he's well known, neighborhood men came to his aid and tried their best to calm him down. They held him back from killing the man. I'm OK with a husband who has the capability of killing. I've been married to a wimp and this guy isn't it.
Traffic was now stopped in both directions. Morning rush hour was at a standstill with his bus in the middle of the street, my husband being held back and a crowd gathering. The driver took the chance to leave.
When the driver crawled back in his bus, I told him through the passenger window that he needed to say he was sorry. He scoffed at me. He couldn't believe I asked this. The lady on the bench told me the hated "malish" which means "no problem" like I should shut up and take whatever has happened.
"Astragferallh! Astragferallah! Astragferallah!" I yelled out.
No, I told him. He really needed to say he was sorry because Ramadan is coming and he needs to fear God. Those were the last words I spoke to him. While I am grateful that he swerved, he had done the wrong thing in the beginning by going the wrong way and the wrong thing at the end by not apologizing.
I was really shaken up. I didn't cry until I was listening to Quran on our school bus. Something about Zulzil (The Earthquake) made me feel the enormity of the moment.
My mind started playing tricks on me. I ALMOST DIED! MY SON ALMOST DIED! The Quran was still playing through the headphones for our morning recitation and it helped me to find calm. No, I didn't almost die. That was an illusion. We were never supposed to die this morning. If God had wanted us to die, then it would have happened. Since it didn't happen, it was never meant to be. I was as safe on that street as if I were still in bed with the covers up over my head.
Yet another trick: how can I travel around the world if I can't even cross the street safely? Then, I had to breathe through some upset and clear my head. I did make it across the street. I did. Through the Grace of God, we are fine. God protected us through this time and has protected us through so much. My safety isn't about where I am, or who I'm with; my safety lies with My Protector. My faith means that I do my best and leave the rest---to Allah.
I had been feeling unsafe to travel to the States without my husband. Today, in a way, I feel how my safety is not dependent on him. Sure, after the fact, he cold beat the daylights out of the guy but in that perilous moment he was as helpless as I was. He can't keep me safe if Allah has another naseeb for me. Qadr Allah is a beautifully freeing thing.
Too many women stay home, or stay in the protection of their husbands hoping to keep safe. It isn't about that. You can't hide yourself away from destiny. I was as likely to get run over by a bus today as ever AND I didn't. Alhumdulillah.
My husband woke up a bit today. He had been feeling down about us leaving. This scary situation shook him and made him want to do more to help us be fine. Alhumdulillah.
As for you, the next time you think, "I almost..."
tell yourself, "No, I didn't!"