2018-06-07 / Voices

Realizing That Even an Actual Accident Isn’t an Accident


Call it karma. Call it fate. Call it whatever you like. But there are certain events which take place in our lives that are totally without any rational explanation or meaning – for now.

And that’s the way it’s supposed to be. These sometimes-bizarre occurrences, too strange or unusual to comprehend, are waiting for an “a-ha” moment somewhere down the road when we’ll look back, if we’re astute enough to link that bizarre occurrence to its reason, and say: “Oh, that’s what that was all about.”

You get familiar with their pattern once you recognize that they exist, these accidents that can’t be accidents, these synchronistic junctures.

I first became aware of them, and the word synchronicity, some 25 years ago when I was realizing that my place, physically and emotionally, was not on the eastern seaboard where I grew up or working in the 9-to-5 job I occupied.

Several events happened within close proximity to one another: moving to a new home; discovering South Dakota on a journey west and being introduced to the concept of synchronicity by a Cherokee friend who was experiencing some life changes herself.

The more I began to shift my focus toward what I recognized as my life’s path, the more synchronistic events would take place. Mind you, they didn’t and don’t happen with any set regularity. Nor are they each necessarily large occurrences.

Sometimes it’s meeting the right person at just the right moment. Or choosing not to attend an event, causing you to be home when that perfect call reaches your home office phone. Occasionally, it might be a life-changing, or saving, event following an urge to buy a pack of gum, only to learn that in doing so you avoided a tragedy at work.

Each synchronistic event is, of course, subject and relative to the individual. “Your” perfect phone call wouldn’t be perfect for someone else.

It’s also a matter of what you believe and are open to.

I will say that when I recognized the first synchronistic moment in my life and accepted that it was an occurrence unique to me and for my purposes, another took place and then another. It seems the more you accept and recognize these moments, the more they’re repeated.

Though, as I said, when needed.

I believe it’s a matter of identifying sign posts on your life’s path. Interpreting those signs and taking their message with you is, of course, the tricky part. And, as noted, their purpose may not be revealed for some time.

For example, the traffic accident I had last Friday – though including the word “traffic” is a stretch. I was in Hot Springs, had turned the corner at Ace Hardware, pulled my Subaru Outback Sport into a nice shady parking spot – to keep the dog cool, and was gathering some items to take with me. Completely stopped. Stationary. Moored to the tree beside us when “BAM!”

The entire chassis moved forward. Looking in the rear-view mirror I saw that the white pickup that had been parked directly across the street from me had just backed into my car. I’d been rear-ended by the rear-end of another vehicle while motionless.

The driver’s first words as I left my Subaru to approach him were “Gee, I didn’t even see you there.” Really? A sporty red-orange car with silver trim, the only vehicle on the block and you didn’t see? Something’s wrong there.

I was a bit upset, as I noted to the responding police officer, since I’d just gotten the car out of the shop after replacing the clutch. Now this.

Cutting to the chase, driver information was exchanged (his insurance company’s paying), damage was minimal, no one was hurt and life went on.

It didn’t hit me until an hour or so later that in 2005, driving a different Subaru Outback Sport and having just replaced the clutch, I was rear-ended by a Ford Crown Victoria traveling 40 mph near Hermosa. I was also stationary then, but the car was sent airborne over the adjacent ditch and totaled. I walked away with a cracked rib.

Of course, the synchronistic aspect of this isn’t the accident in Hot Springs, but the amazing similarity it had to my last accident – albeit a much safer event.

And since there was a very positive reason for and outcome to that incident in 2005, I’m just wondering “What, exactly, is the link here?”

Meanwhile, at least my mission at Ace was accomplished: the new bird house finally has a door.

Now, as long as no sparrows park their pickups nearby.

Jim Kent is a freelance writer and radio producer who lives in Hot Springs. He is a contributing columnist to the Lakota Country Times and former editor of The New Lakota Times. He can be heard on National Public Radio and National Native News Radio. Jim can be reached at

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