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Unforeseen Blessings

April 8, 2010

I had a hair appointment with my hairdresser in Cordes Junction today. How I came to have a hairdresser almost a hundred miles away is another story, not really relevant to this one.

I was thinking I would leave around 10 am for my 11:30 appointment, but for some reason, I didn’t. I left about 10-15 minutes later. As I was getting into my car, I thought, “I should put coolant in the radiator. It’s been running hot lately.” But I didn’t because I was running late. And off I went.

I was on the 101, not quite at the I-17 exit, when I saw one of those highway signs saying there was an accident on I-17, 8 miles up the road, and that the highway was closed. Well, I didn’t know any other way to go to Cordes Junction, so I continued onto I-17, hoping there would be a detour.

Well, the traffic was backing up not even 4 miles after I got on, and it wasn’t long before my engine started running hot. Gosh, I was wishing I had listened to myself and put the coolant in. I called my hairdresser and left a message that I was running late due to an accident on I-17. After awhile, I realized I had to get off the road, so I took the next exit, having no idea where it led. Apparently I wasn’t the only one. Lots of other folks took it too, including a gang of about 15 motorcyclists, who surrounded me for awhile. By that time, I was putting my car in neutral every chance I got, and revving the engine to keep it from overheating.

At the intersection, the motorcyclists took a U-turn and headed back toward Phoenix. I just kept following the road in the general direction of where I thought I needed to be, hitting stop-and-go traffic all along for almost an hour. Finally, I saw a place to pull over to add the coolant, but it was in the sun, and so I went a little further and took a turn so I could park under a tree. I put in the rest of that bottle of coolant, thinking to myself, I should have done this sooner. And now that I have, the traffic will probably clear up.

I had to laugh when I got back into the traffic and within about 200 feet, the traffic dissipated.

I was sitting at a red light, and noticed a tree by the intersection that had been decorated with bandanas, and there were crosses, and gifts all around it. I realized I was at the intersection of the big motorcycle accident from two weeks ago, which I had also been thinking about when those motorcyclists were around me in the traffic. I found myself welling up with tears for those lives so needlessly lost. My heart goes out to their families and friends, and I said a silent prayer for those still riding.

So there I was at Carefree Highway and within a few minutes, I was on the I-17, no traffic at all, and no sign of an accident. Somehow I had bypassed it all.

My hairdresser called me back, and he told me that the accident was a large produce truck that had caught on fire and hit a car. There was at least one fatality. As I was driving, I realized that if I had left at 10 am as I had planned, it might have been ME that the truck had hit!

In that moment, in spite of all of the challenges, I was so grateful that I was alive and safe.

It changed my whole day.

The rest of the day was actually very good. My hair came out great. I did my son, Sean’s taxes as I worked at Comic Zone. A sale of some property finally funded today. I went to my usual Thursday night personal growth meeting. And through it all, like a steady drumbeat, is this gratitude, reminding me that I am here to enjoy it all.

Life is precious, every moment to be treasured. One never knows when it will be gone. Embrace your life, your loved ones, yourself, and live like you mean it. Appreciate everything. And be grateful for those minor detours and challenges. Good chance there is a gift in there somewhere, just for you. A gift to remind you of what’s really important.

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