I do a lot of driving. Hours a day. Much of it on mind numbing highways. But, I have learned how to block the tedium of the drive out. In recent months I have allowed my brain to wander way too much. Building story lines, daydreaming about spending time with someone important in my life, upcoming events. There have been times I am snapped back to my drive to find I was lost for a few seconds. I have no idea where I am, not certain what road I am on, which direction I am heading, if I am going to or coming from some place, and where that some place is. Admittedly, not the safest way to share the road with so many other drivers, many of them also distracted. When I have these moments they have been scary. And always a soft gentle voice in my soul says, “Pay attention!”
One Friday night right before the holidays, I was slugging my way through rush hour. Stop, start, stop, start. Cars weaving in and out of lanes as drivers send text messages. Other drivers not wanting to wait, zoomed past on the shoulder. Brake lights ahead of me were flashing on and off like red dominoes falling, standing up, and falling once again. Friday traffic has its own kind of crazy.
Before long I allowed my mind to wander. After a while the car in the lane next to me, who had been straddling the line for miles, came over a bit too close. My mind snapped to attention and I veered to my right to avoid a collision when I heard this awful scraping sound. Shit, shit, shit! I hit a car. I slowed down, put my blinker on, and moved over. I had no idea who I hit. No one moved over to the shoulder with me. I sat there waiting. Shortly an old station wagon stopped a good bit behind my car. I had to wait for a break in the traffic to safely get out and walk back to the wagon. I saw no damage to this car.
A tiny man got out of the car and without a glance at his car and said simply,“Let’s go look at your car.” We walked up to the passenger side of my car and along my rear side panel was a long scrap and a slight dent, just before the gas cap.
“Well, that don’t look bad, baby,” said the old man.
That’s when I looked up at the other driver. He was not very tall and had a scruffy gray beard that tapered into a point that ended about his belt buckle. A tattered skull cap was pulled down almost to his eyes. The light was not the best, but the damage didn’t look all that much. I said I wanted to check out his car, as I feared much more damage.
As we walked back to his driver side and were still a few feet away, he said, “Just my mirror got scrapped a bit.” He moved his eyebrows up in an amusing way. “Nothing too dire.” He shrugged his shoulders. We hadn’t even gotten to his car.
But as I looked, I could see what he said was correct. His driver side mirror was slightly scraped but no other damage.
“Do you want my information?” I asked.
He shrugged. “That is up to you, baby, but I am good. Nothing really happened. No harm.” Conversation was tough with the din of traffic.
“Okay, I can take care of mine.” I offered. He shrugged so offhandedly and in such a good manner that it made me smile. I could have been saying the sky was up, his response was just so laid-back.
He turned and made his way back to his driver door and stopped before getting in.
“Hey, baby,” he yelled into the wind. “Don’t forget to pay attention. You be well, baby girl.” And with that he got into his car and pulled out. I made my way back to mine and, sitting behind the wheel, wondered what just happened. I felt this warm feeling go right through me. I couldn’t help it. It was like I had been kissed on the forehead by a grandfather. His energy was just so sweet.
As I slowly made my way home I thought about that little old man. Questions where popping into my brain: How did he know his car did not have any damage? How did his mirror, if nothing else, not break or worse yet, get knocked off? Why did he keep calling me baby? And why didn’t it bother me — something that I would have felt was intrusive from a stranger, but I wasn’t in the least bit put off.
I still had thirty minutes to my drive. I was, of course, more vigilant and aware than I had been in months. But in the back of my mind, the questions swirled around. There was something about him that I couldn’t put my finger on and couldn’t quite shake.
When I pulled up to the house I turned the ignition off and sat in the quiet of the interior of the car with only the occasional pinging of cooling engine. I closed my eyes, searching for insight and understanding.
Suddenly I knew. The answer came to me so clearly. I had just been kissed by an angel, or rather my car had. Delivering a much needed reminder. Protecting me from something far worse.
At first I thought, “How is that possible? That old man, an angel?” But the feeling persisted and grew warmth in my heart. I smiled and thanked him for his help.
In the light of day, the damage was no worse than what it appeared in the dark in the side of the road. The damage was minimal and I had no plans on repairing it, nor buffing the evidence of that kiss out. Each time since, when I fill the gas tank, I run my hands over the scratch and slight dent and smile. My mind doesn’t wander while I drive as much now. When it drifts, thoughts about the little old man pop into my mind, drawing me back to the road. I can hear him whisper, “Take care, baby girl,” and I do. .
What are the angels in your life? I would love to hear your experiences.
With love and light,