I came to have some alone time.
It worked… and I worked.
My definition of relaxation is getting things done!
It’s my nature.
So I wrote, planned and organized my next few months.
I also read a book about leadership and your alter ego and contemplated a few stories from the book “Just This”, by my Priest crush, Fr. Richard Rohr. I listened to my beautiful friend Mirabai Starr discuss St. John of the Cross and The Dark Night of the Soul.
I watched the movie Finding Joe, which reflects on the work of Joseph Campbell, who wrote “The Hero with a Thousand Faces”. He also coined The Hero’s Journey in which a character ventures out to get what they need, faces conflict and ultimately triumphs over adversity.
I soaked it all up in the three days that I was alone!
When it was time to return home, I was ready, being full of the deep contemplative type of connection that I long for. So, I decided to leave a day earlier than planned to surprise my little one as she slept.
Plans in place, feeling energized and confident in my next steps, I headed home for my 5 hour drive as the sun went down.
Prepared for the ride, I clicked on my Commune app to listen to some courses that I was taking and hit the road.
An hour away from home, making good time as there were few people on the interstate on a late Wednesday night, I was on a stretch of road that is deserted except for myself and two 18 wheelers following one another in the right lane.
Out of the blue the follower chose to be the leader and decided to make his move. He knew I was there, of that I had no doubt. Yet into my lane he came. When I realized what was happening tire number 15 and 16 were less than a foot away from the passenger door of my SUV.
I had no choice but to swerve left.
In that split second I thought of my oldest daughter. Ten years earlier, under the same circumstances, on the same highway, an 18 wheeler collided with her . When the ambulance driver called to give us the news he relayed eye witness accounts stating that she flipped her car over six times. Luckily she came to a stop before a copse of trees. Within minutes she was found sitting outside of her car on a little grassy hill with a cut to her head and no other bodily injuries. Meanwhile her car sat close by belly up as the roof was touching the headrest.
Divine guidance? Angels? Luck?
Immediately I realized that my two left tires, front and back, had become wedged between the asphalt and the median. I couldn’t pull back onto the road. I had no choice but to let up on the steering wheel a little. As I did I was suddenly jerked hard, as though yanked by an invisible rope, into the center of the median at 80 miles per hour creating my own personal highway.
I held on for life, fingers gripping the steering wheel, struggling to maintain control as I could hear and see the tall grass colliding with my car.
If I slowed down I was going to flip, I could feel the earth beneath my car giving way to softness. I veered right as best as I could using all my strength, my entire body, to pull the wheel, yelling *BLEEP* this, over and over, as I gained the strength that I needed to stay alive.
As though in a movie, I looked over to my right to see the driver of the truck. Eyes wide open his mouth in the shape of an “O” as in “Oh shit!” I yelled back, “You son of a *****!”
I was not ready to die! I have plans! I literally just made them!
I have things to do! People to love. Places to visit. Mountains to climb (metaphorically of course).
Shit! I’m smack dab in the middle of my Heroine’s Journey!
What felt like a minute was more likely 30 seconds later, when I was back on the interstate as though nothing happened.
And I slammed on my brakes!
I know that was a dangerous thing to do!
I was in trauma mode here!
And I was pissed!
The 18 wheeler was behind me going ever so slow watching the entire scene unfold before him. I let up on the brake, darted forward, only to break twice more.
He stayed back, giving me room to revolt and scream back at him with my glaring brake lights. Thank you ***hole! I yelled. Thanks for giving me freaking space!
I didn’t pull over. My car was giving me no signal that there was a problem (thank god for technology) so I continued on my way.
Here’s what I immediately felt from this…
First… I am strong then, wow, my dad taught me well!
I can pull a boat, back in a boat, drive a boat, change a tire, change the oil in a car or any other machinery. I’m really good at figuring things out. It can drive a tractor. I’ve even welded a few things in my life and built even more. I’ve raced three wheelers. I’ve jumped ramps over water on a three wheeler many times. I’ve driven my dad’s jeep over sand dunes, got stuck and pulled myself out with a wench connected to a tree… I’ve done that and wasn’t even old enough to have a driver’s license. While that doesn’t qualify me as being the best driver, my friend said it best…
I am the girl you’d want to have next to you in a crisis!
You know what. She’s right.
I owe it all to my dad.
He raised this girl to have a strong mindset, a thoughtful, logical, problem solving, good head on her shoulders.
He raised me to think like a warrior, an action taker.
He taught me that there’s only one difference between the skill of a man compared to the skill of a young girl, and that’s time spent practicing said skill!
As I continued home, I had to ask myself a few times… did that really happen?
It was so surreal.
I shifted into contemplative mode.
I could feel my dad’s presence beside me, the weight of his body in the seat next to mine. I could see him nodding his head yes, laughing out loud, his face lit up, exactly as I remembered when he taught me to drive our stick shift beat up red jeep.
He was proud of me. I was proud of myself.
I’m not ready to leave.
I have work to do.
I have people to love.
Places to visit.
Lives to change.
It’s with gratitude and honor that I am here today to write to you, my friend.
Thank you for allowing me to share my stories, my thoughts, in these musings.
Thank you for listening.
Thank you for caring.
I’m grateful to have you in my life.
Now go out and be your best self today!