I was stranded.
One of my rear wheels was laying on the shoulder on the side of the road.
It was hot and no one was in sight for miles. I sat on the pavement and let my car provide the shade as I began to panic.
My thoughts began engulfing me and I began chasing my tail.
If only I had taken a different path, I bemoaned. If only I hadn’t bought this car. What if I had made different choices along the way? If I had just taken a right turn instead of a left when I first started this trip. Why didn’t I start this trip sooner? Why didn’t I ask for help? God I must be an idiot. I knew I had a leak in my radiator, I should have taken more coolant and tools in my trunk! What the fuck was I thinking driving in this heat with my air conditioning not working?
Many people that had come before me had problems on this stretch of their journey along the highway called “life.” I’m sure you’ve heard of this infamous highway, bustling with the foot traffic of 6 billion people’s stories that were all interesting, unique in their own way, but rarely heard of due to the unfortunate lack of time and intrigue from passerbys.
Then out of nowhere, this savior of a man stopped alongside my car and parked his bike. He seemed to know something as he stepped off his Harley Davidson.
The look this man had reminded me of a ski trip my family took when I was 6. When it began snowing that evening, we evacuated the slopes and started heading home in our car. Except there was so much snow that we could only see out of a tiny square in the corner of the windshield. My dad had no idea where he was driving, and he told us he was simply going to follow the tail lights he saw in front of us.
“How do you know if he knows the way?” I remember asking my dad.
He just looked at me with a reassuring smile and said: “They just look like they know where they are going.”
This man looked like he was very familiar with what caused so many emotional roller coaster rides for people on this road. He looked like he knew where he was going to go.
He had a wicked white beard, a nice chiseled body, and a warm smile. He looked like Santa Claus, but in shape, with a nice aura of compassion but with the right hint of dementia. Behind the reflection off his glasses, I could see a warm soul radiating through his eyes. There were some disturbances there that I could sense, but I got the impression he was in control of his demons. I was fascinated by the very essence of his presence, but it was the glimmer of perturbation that I noticed which really intrigued my curiosity.
No time for that right now though, I thought.
He winked at me, and asked if I needed some help. Some people, I must say, can create and feel an immediate connection with you.
This was one of those rare times. He was a stranger but felt like family right away. I relinquished my illusion of control and decided to let him lead. At that very instant I knew I was going to be okay.
Without saying a word he casually walked around my car, and examined my vehicle with those intriguing eyes.
I can still recall the sun beating down and causing beads of sweat to roll down my legs due to the radiating heat from the tarmac. I was wearing a pleated skirt and casual see through mesh blouse, but was still brutally disturbed by the heat. I stayed in the shade as I watched him take out some items from his trunk, and trudged his combat boots along the gravel back towards my vehicle.
He dropped off some coolant, a new transmission sensor, and some lug nuts.
Within minutes the rear wheel was back on the car, with lug nuts in place, and my car was running again. He shut the hood and I thought he was going to leave, as he hadn’t said a word up to this point.
I stood up, feeling insecure in front of this mysterious man.
I casually inserted a stretch, deliberately arching my back and protruding my chest out to try to get his attention. I deal with insecurity in some very immature ways, I must say.
He wasn’t phased one bit as he proceeded to flip through my trunk.
“You don’t need this, and this, and these,” he said as he weeded through all the baggage I had in my trunk.
“But I’ll get cold without that. And what if it rains? I’m going to need that last item. Oh, and this is for in case I get stranded,” I said in protest.
“You were just stranded and carrying that item didn’t help. It’s best to be nice to yourself and lighten your burdens. Try not to carry all these things from your past, they don’t serve you well,” said the mystery man.
We began a long conversation of going back and forth, debating, listening, sharing, and sorting through all the events that occurred in my life which resulted in the exact items I was storing in my trunk.
All the while as we were sifting through old items from my life, he was brutally patient and efficient at pinpointing which items in my trunk would be useful and which ones were burdens and would weigh me down as I continued on my journey.
The most interesting part of our work was how we eventually came to the conclusion that I was responsible for my radiator, transmission, and missing lug nuts. How I put myself in these situations, and chose with subconscious sway these events in my life, and moreover, how I thwarted responsibility for these issues, which was the premise and cause of my suffering.
I was in awe with how he was able to dissect why my car broke down, due to negligence and carrying too much in my trunk, due to overloading my car with baggage and things from my past.
I could tell he traveled this road countless times, as he seemed to have an ace up his sleeve for every question or scenario I threw at him. He was all knowing and all wise.
He was my savior.
“What’s your name?” I asked.
“Garrett,” he said.
“That’s a handsome name,” I said. “You know, Garrett, I’m tempted to abandon my car and hop onto your bike and go wherever you go.”
“As sweet as that would be, I can’t get you where you need to go. I can only provide guidance. You’ll have to be the one driving, doing the work, to get to where you need to go.”
“I will always be in touch, and you know how to find me” he continued. “You have a good car, and good sense of where you are going. The only thing you needed today was lug nuts, and the tools to use them properly. I have given you tools today. The rest of your car was fine. Your fluids just needed to be topped off, and the problems weren’t as insurmountable as they seemed. Stay the course and you’ll get to where you need to go.”
He smiled and waved at me as he started his Harley, and roared off in the distance.
I got back in my car, and started on my journey again….
…with a newfound sense of confidence and purpose.