My girfriend survived a terrible collision when skiing in Austria. We were on our sunny, blue sky, crispy snow skiing holidays near Salzburg when this thing happened. I learned a lot from it and feel very happy the consequences are basically nothing compared to the horror of the sight. We were practicing some carving turns with Jitka, my girlfriend on a piste where we were almost alone. I was watching Jitka from the other side of the piste. Before she started her turn somewhere in the middle of the slope's length she checked there was nobody coming from above and set off. When she was about half way through the turn, I spotted this dark rocket of a girl running at about 50 kph straight into Jitka's turning area. It took about two seconds before the two girls collided, body hitting body and screaming flew about 15 meters before falling down. Within the two seconds between I spotted the fast running girl and the crash, it occured to me: This can't be true, they are not going to collide, there is so much room for the girl to avoid Jitka. But before I could really think, maybe I yelled something but then the crash happened. It happened much quicker than a snap of fingers. I got to Jitka who was lying on her belly not moving and asked in a terrified voice: What's the matter with you? What's the matter with you? And she said: I don't know. DO something. DO something.
I had never before felt so useless. I knew I could not undone what had happened. And I knew I could not make Jitka healthy right there. I knew we could only wait and that she should not move. I said: I am not going to do anything. We are waiting for the paramedics. Don't move, don't move. Don't worry, the help is on their way.
And Jitka said and I thought she was going nuts, but later it turned out she was thinking clearly, she said: "We should have gone to lunch instead." About 5 minutes before the accident I suggested going for a lunch in a restaurant at the piste but Jitka wanted to ski some more. So that is what she meant.
The other girl was sitting there above Jitka bleeding from her nose and sobbing a bit. Paramedics arrived in 5 minutes or so, carefully checked both girls, carefully put Jitka on a stretcher and we skied with the stretcher to the road that was next to the piste and waited for the ambulance. I talked to Jitka a bit, she had problems breathing and felt pain all over her body, legs, arms, shoulders, chest, back... We thought some of her bones were broken and she - as it turned out later - suffered a mild concussion. She was wearing a helmet, but the ten year old girl hit her into her goggles rather than the helmet. We drove in the ambulance to the nearest town where a doctor could not say much without x rays and other stuff and sent Jitka to the nearest hospital that collects all kinds of ski accident patients from the area. So it took about 4 hours between the accident and the final x ray pictures and other checks before at last we found out to my huge relief that Jitka got away with bruises and mild concussion. This result compared to the picture of the crash that was replaying in my head for another day or so over and over again seemed fantastic. The other girl's mother took her daughter to Salzburg where they lived. Later she called and asked about Jitka and said her daughter only had bruised chest. She was hurt mentally though, crying all the time as she felt bad having skied so fast and hit Jitka so hard.
Jitka stayed in the hospital for two days to make sure nothing worse happens. I spent one day driving around the local towns and police stations and Red Cross to arrange formalities. It was a day of intense German practice for me. I only speak simple German but when things are necessary to be done, grammatical mistakes don't matter.
Jitka is back at home and slowly recovering.
How does the whole thing relates to Buddhism. It is all Buddhism. In Buddhism, actual, real life is what matters much more than opinions. Actions are more important than opinions or how clever you are. When Jitka said to me: Do something, it was the greatest Buddhist teaching you can ever get. She was not interested in my ideas or feelings at that critical moment. Do something was all that was necessary to do. And ironically, the best thing to do was to do nothing but be there, making sure Jitka does not do something either, waiting for the professional help. But the rest of the day, all people involved, the skiing paramedics, the ambulance driver, the local doctor, the hospital staff, the x ray staff, the janitors in the hospital, the administration, it was all DO SOMETHING, it was all pure Buddhism.
That was an accident that looked terrible and might have ended up as a tragedy. That was an accident that provided loads of Buddhist lessons in one day. That was an accident that made me a simpleton without much interest in intellectual matters for a day or so. It made me cry as I couldn't help but recollect the picture of the two girls crashing and flying through the air. It could have been much worse. If I believed in personal God, I would say God gave us a wonderful gift - a gift of life, love, caring, fun, sun, blue skies, laughter. As a Buddhist, I feel there is an immense gift in the present so positive as it is now for me and Jitka, so much luck. But it applies to everyone, everyone in the world, when things are going more or less okay, is given this immense gift of joy.
I bow to all people who DO something beyond their limited opinions, who work hard to help those who need help, who provide what is necessary to survive in the modern world. Beyond our opinions and feelings, there is immense love. We cannot see it or touch it as it is everywhere. We can do something for others and help them, not because we love them, although we often do, but because we are, essentially, love itself and our sincere actions express this original love.