An Accident that Led to Deep Gratitude
When Mrs. Shimokawa decided to visit Tokushima Prefecture in 2006 with her husband, she had never imagined that this “vacation” would forever change her life. She was chatting happily with her husband about visiting the famous Naruto whirlpools when a huge impact hit the car.
Wham! The windshield shattered and the glass flew onto her. Out of the corner of her eye, she dimly saw her husband hunched over the steering wheel. She tried to get out of the car, but her body wouldn’t budge. Then she lost her consciousness…
Six People’s Worth of Injury
Mrs. Shimokawa fractured her right pelvis, broke 6 ribs in 8 places, and blood had accumulated in her lungs. She had also fractured her left knee and pubic bone. The injuries were severe and her chance of surviving the accident had been less than 2 percent.
The doctor told her, “You have suffered a lmost six people’s worth of injuries to your self.” She was very lucky to have survived. It was decided that she had to stay in a hospital in Tokushima to regain her strength, before being transferred to another hospital for surgery to repair her fractured pelvis.
While she has almost no memory of the accident, she remembers a dream. Master Ryuho Okawa appeared to her and said, “I will take care of you in Tokushima for a while…” The feeling was real even after she awoke; she believed that this accident will become a big turning point in her life.
But after regaining consciousness, reality sank in and she fell into a state of despair from the pain and shock. It only takes seconds for an accident to rob you of your own body’s freedom.
She was not prepared for it. The more people offered her kindness, the more tears welled up in her eyes out of misery.
‘I will never be able to live a normal life or go back to my workplace again. My dream of someday managing a company is gone,’ she thought.
Completely bedridden, Mrs. Shimokawa was always thinking of a time when she was healthy and busy.
Inventions to Open the New Era
Until the accident, Mrs. Shimokawa had been working as an engineer for a global electronics company. She devoted herself to developing sensors for digital cameras.
It was immensely exciting to be developing new technology and actually see her work bring real changes to society. Her drive to work and improve the product was the desire to make people smile by creating something useful.
Soon, she succeeded in designing and developing semiconductor chips that enabled the commercialization of digital cameras. She obtained many patents and won the company’s highest award for inventions twice and the National Invention Award.
Despite her success, she never forgot the people whose work made it possible for her to pursue her passion. Planning, marketing, sales, design, manufacturing, and quality control – the number of people who were involved in creating one product was astonishing.
A Shaken Heart
The accident shattered everything. She always believed that the result was all that mattered and without it her existence was meani ngless. She had worked a busy schedule in a world where time was of the essence, but now she was just lying on a hospital bed tr ying to survive. She could not walk and needed morphine to sleep. Every day she wept. Feeling misery and frustration, she thought, ‘I have worked so hard, why do I have to suffer this? What did I do wrong?’
Being Supported by Many People
Her sole consolation was her friends and co-workers who came to visit her all the way from Tokyo. The temple director of Shikoku Shoshinkan also went out of his way to visit and pray for her.
More than anything though, she felt gratitude toward her husband. Miraculously, he had only suffered a minor leg injury and a little whiplash. She was truly thankful to her husband who traveled to Shikoku every week from Tokyo where he worked to care for her. His attention and efforts soothed the anxiety about her future.
The temple director advised her to listen to Master Ryuho Okawa’s audio lectures. “Think of his words as a shower of light,” he said when he handed her a portable player with the lectures recorded inside. Still physically weak, the most she could manage was to listen to it like background music. Still, she was determined to give back the love so many people were showing her.
About one month after the accident, she recovered enough physical strength to make it through surgery and was transferred to a specially equipped hospital in Tokushima city.
Again in Our Next Life
At the initial diagnosis she was told t hat she would fully recover in three months, but complications arose. The surgery she would undergo would be very risky. If it did not go well, she could lose her life. The day before the surgery, she prepared for the possibility that this could be the last time she and her husband would ever see each other.
‘I’ll make it out alive.’ That was how she felt, but she found herself telling her husband, “Let’s be husband and wife again in our next life and even in the life after...” Tears rolled down her cheeks as they said goodbye.
The next day, she was taken to surger y. Many of her friends prayed for her recovery. After eight long hours, the surgery was a success.
‘I am still alive. The Lord is keeping me alive! I still have a mission to fulfill in this life…’ Tears spilled over as she felt the gratitude of having been given life swell up within her.
When the Soul is Polished
After the surgery, she remained bedridden for a month. She had thought she’d be on her feet again, but reality betrayed her once again. A grueling rehabilitation regime followed.
Since moving to the hospital in the city, she began to listen to Master Okawa’s lectures in earnest. One night, waking up in pain from the work out, she heard his voice in her ears.
“Although it may seem that you are suffering now in this world, it is in fact a time when your soul is being refined. The greater the soul, the more severe the ordeals to encounter in life.
If you think you are encountering a great ordeal, then you need to realize that you have an equally great mission. You need to be aware that your soul is being refined right now. You have been provided with a workbook of problems for your spiritual development.”
[Excerpt from Fulfill Your Mission of Light available in Happy Science Monthly Issue 154 and 155]
These words completely revolutionized how she saw her situation. Before the accident, she had been fiercely busy and her mind was filled with impatience to work harder and to produce better results.
When she awoke in a hospital that first day, she had actually felt relieved for the respite. Perhaps her guardian spirit had stopped her before it led to something more dangerous. The accident was giving her much needed time for reflection.
As Long as I am Living
Rehab, however, was punishing. Praying in tears, she asked why God gave her such a difficult ordeal. What was she supposed to learn from this accident? Still crying, she recited The Dharma of the Right Mind. It calmed her and made her feel that she could face another day of rehab. It helped her think, ‘It’s okay to take baby steps; there’s no reason to get impatient. I am alive, and it is a blessing to be alive.’
Little by little, she regained control over her body. Soon she was strong enough to be transferred to a hospital in Tokyo. She worked so hard to be able to walk as soon as possible that the hand that held her cane became afflicted with tendonitis. As part of her image training, she imagined herself walking unassisted and going back to work.
With rehabilitation, encouragement from countless people, and the power of prayer, her body recovered at a speed that amazed her doctor. After 4 months, she was finally discharged from the hospital.
Living for the Lord
It was a wonder ful feeling being able to do the things that she had taken for granted. She appreciated the happiness in the little things. A strong feeling to want to be useful to more people started to grow within her. She returned to work but she found that she was no longer content in her old routine.
She frequented Happy Science temples seeking a new mission in her life. Then, one day, an inspiration arrived with clarity: Be aware that you are the embodiment of a miracle.
When she heard news of the newly established Happy Realization Party, she knew that this was it. She left the company she had worked for 27 years and threw herself into running for the 2009 National elections. Dragging her disabled leg, she walked all over her electorate with her cane and appealed to her listeners about pol icies that would revive the country’s economy, solve its social security issues and carry it into a new age of growth. From early in the morning to late at night, she walked and walked and walked so much she surprised even herself.
In the end she didn’t win, but people came up to tell her how much she had inspired courage in them seeing her run around with her cane.
Live a Creative Life with Gratitude
Looking back, Mrs. Shimokawa says, “The accident was an awakening for me. I thought the value of my existence came from the results at work, but all I could do while in hospital was to simply exist.”
Compared to how she used to think, she says she has changed greatly. When she was in the depths of sorrow or agony she felt warm encouragement from many and the love of the Lord. “When I realized that the Lord loves everyone, that he loved me even in my desperate situation, that was when I felt as if I understood true faith.”
While in the hospital, she often found herself giving advice to friends. Even when she was immobile, she could still smile. “People can give love under any situation,” she says. Now Mrs. Shimokawa is studying consulting and her dream is to contribute to her local area.
My Gratitude for Life
“I am being allowed to live because of many people so I want to give that love back to society. By converting my appreciation into expressions of gratitude, I would like to live an even more creative life.”
by Mrs. Shimokawa