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Who Chooses?

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

One of the things you learn after spending many months on a bicycle is how to recognise the sound of danger from other traffic, least that has been my experience. I like to think I’m finely tuned to what’s going on around me and this is the reason why I only ever wear my music earphones when off-road or in a location with no traffic.

I can certainly tell when a racing engine is approaching fast behind me, but I don’t endanger myself by looking round unless it’s perfectly safe to do so. If I can I’ll move even closer to the roads edge, but that wasn’t possible as I was passing a tuc tuc (a motorbike with a caddy for passengers/tourists attached) when the bus skidded to a halt behind me, leaving a trail of black rubber on the sandy tarmac. I turned and looked the driver square in the eye, gestured and shouted “what’s the rush” then pointed to the busy road ahead. He gunned his engine, then sped past me and the tuc tuc driver. I clearly remember the thought entering my head “that idiot is going to kill someone” then moments later their was a screech of brakes and the sickening ‘thud’ of an impact.

I’d hardly had to turn my pedals to reach the crash, I was that close. The front end of the bus was unbelievably damaged, he’d gone less than 150 yards past me yet reached enough speed to break his windshield and cave in the front end of the bus. Now considering the motorbike he hit doesn’t even come to halfway up the height of the bus and the windshield is even higher, how hard was the impact?  I ran over to the young lad lying on the ground. Blood was oozing from numerous places on his head and I thought ‘he’s dead’ but checked his pulse as I’d long ago been trained to do. I couldn’t find a wrist pulse, so checked his neck – it was almost imperceptible, but I did feel it. I began to go through my routine, checked his airway, but then I lost the pulse completely. I knew he’d gone and no amount of CPR was going to bring him back. Prayers and tears go together so well.

I’ve been unfortunate enough to witness death many times, both with loved ones, comrades and strangers. It doesn’t get any easier and I don’t think it ever will. So then you are just left with unanswered questions:

Why couldn’t it have been me who the driver killed?
I’ve had my life, I’d happily of switched places and given this young lad a chance to do something with his life.

Who chooses?
If I’m being saved for some greater good, then that’s bullshit. I don’t deserve it. My wife deserved to live, I asked God to take me instead. I prayed for this lad the same way.

So who chooses?
My faith is in tatters, because prayers constantly go unanswered. Nobody listens.

What’s the point of it all?
I’m dying, so why keep me alive anyway?
I’m glad I inspire people, but at what cost?
Is my life worth so much more than others?

I don’t think so. How much longer do I have to suffer the pain of watching others pass away, while I seem to have been given a golden ticket to live. It’s obscene and too much for me. No more please. If anyone out there does have a hotline to God, ask him to let me be as I think I’ve done my fair share now.

The above sadness will take a while to go away, if at all. But the response from my friends out there has been overwhelming and humbling, I love you guys with all my heart. I need time now, just to gather myself and then start again. My journey will of course continue, how could it not do so?  There is simply nothing else for me to do and I know only too well the debt I owe.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at 10:57 am

Breathtaking insights. Every life is invaluable. I trust that you will get more good times – take your time, and maybe enjoy nature for a while and stay away from traffic.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at 10:58 am

Derek, please don’t discount the value of your life.

Just because you are living on borrowed time doesn’t mean that you are not worthy of that time.

Please don’t give up. I’m not talking about the bike trip – I’m talking about life. Don’t throw in the towel.

You ARE meant to be here. You DO have a purpose.


Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at 11:59 am

Brave words Derek. You are a wise man and you still have a lot to contribute. I hope you can find some space and peace and come back to us when you are ready.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at 5:18 pm

Derek, It is only natural to question why other people die when you continue to live. We all have a purpose to be on this Earth-and when your times up, He will call you home. Until then my friend, you have a job, and a purpose to be here. I too am saddened, drawn to tears actually that this person died in your arms. To us, it was a senseless death. But was it? Get back on your bike when you’re ready, and get on with it! You got alot living to do still. God Bless you and carry you safely in your travels.

Wednesday, April 16, 2014 at 7:41 pm

Would it change the way you feel if you discovered there was no God? That stuff just happens and there is no purpose to any of it?

That nobody deserves to live or to die or suffer or rejoice. There is just existence and then we’re gone.

Of course I have no more clue than anyone if there is a God or a purpose, but sometimes it’s interesting to look at things from another angle.

    Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 4:01 am

    Dave, the world you describe could never exist. Without a purpose and hope our existence would become meaningless. My hope is for a better world, where there are no wars, no enemies, no hunger and no borders. It will not happen in my lifetime, but my hope is for something better for those left behind. As for what happens after death, I hope for the many true believers there is something else, but for myself I don’t really care, as one lifetime has been enough.

Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 3:56 am

You are always worthy with every minutes you live!

jane and Chris
Thursday, April 17, 2014 at 7:36 am

I was very moved by your latest blog (who chooses?) Bon Courage Derek, our thoughts are with you.

Friday, April 18, 2014 at 1:15 am

As I told you when you were with us Derek: “Yesterday is already a dream, and tomorrow is only a vision – but today, well-lived, makes every yesterday a dream of happiness and every tomorrow a vision of hope.” We hope your terrible memories of late will fade a little, and that you will have some wonderful tomorrows. Take care friend. I and C x

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