I recently had an experience on the 101 heading north towards Cave Creek for a holiday gathering that has caused me to consider how much I expect good in my life. Here's what happened.
Seemingly, out from nowhere, some kind of metal-framed object came flying from the left directly into my lane. I immediately swerved hard to the right, catching it only with my left tire. I realized the tire was flat when I experienced some uneven clunking and then saw the smoke of burning rubber. I cautiously crossed lanes to the right shoulder and turned off the engine.
It happened fast. Thankfully, there were gaps in the traffic. It was a Sunday ‘round 5:15 pm so my mishap didn’t involve other cars. Even so, I was stunned to find myself on the side of this five-lane highway with a flat tire as night was settling in. This wasn’t like living in Payson where I could have called any number of people who could have been there in five minutes. I was alone on the 101 in Scottsdale with cars zooming past me, 15 miles from home, and it was already dark. In retrospect, it was seemingly only a flat tire. A small event in life really.
Two other cars pulled off as well. I wasn’t the only one to hit this object and another driver sidelined on the shoulder called to report the situation. It didn’t take long before a patrol car slowed down all lanes of traffic and the officer removed the obstacle from the highway. A serious accident could have occurred for any number of people that night.
One reason I decided to tell this story is that I realize I was guided and cared for throughout the event. Good showed up for me. The driver who pulled over put-on my spare tire. The tire pressure was very low, but I had perhaps half a mile to drive to a station immediately off the exit. Unfortunately, the tire came off the rim, forcing me to slowly drive the rest of the way, hobbling into the station.
A woman at the station stayed with me while I called road assistance and until I had confirmation that a tow truck was scheduled. During our short time together, she told me she would drive me back to Mesa if needed. More good. The night was quite cool but not cold, so waiting was not a problem. In maybe an hour I was in a warm tow truck and on my way home. The next morning my friend, Cliff brought his tools and a second jack. We drove together to buy a new tire and had the spare remounted. He then “put Humpty Dumpty back together again”. My friendship with Cliff is forever changed and he was happy to help me.
As is common, for several days afterwards, I kept replaying that moment when the object came flying into my lane. It was a shock. I never saw where it came from. I’ve thought about how I intuitively* swerved rather than hit the brakes. Had I hit the brakes I would have hit it straight on and perhaps my car would have been totaled. I might have been hurt. Later, when I thought about what had occurred, I simply felt gratitude for the ways in which help kept showing up, the damage to my vehicle was minimal, and I was okay.
Today I realize that’s what we should always expect in every situation: to be cared for, comforted and that the help we need will show up. I’ve asked myself since, “Do I expect good to occur?” “In the day to day do I expect good?” I have some work to do. The experience also encourages me to be of help whenever possible.
Here is the clincher for me. In early October I had four new tires put on my car. A thought occurred to me some time after in that I wondered about the pressure in my spare tire. I don’t know when I’d last checked it. At some time in the long ago past, I think it was routine for a service station to check the spare when new tires were purchased or even when a car repair was performed. In part, maybe that’s why the thought occurred to me. Regardless, I never checked it. I never did.
I accept it’s my mistake because I had an intuitive thought that could have changed the scope of that evening. Yes, I would have missed my Christmas gathering, but I believe that with a good spare tire, I could have carefully driven home on city streets and could have driven myself for the new tire the next day. The event would have been so much more easily resolved.
I wonder how many times we ignore such a prompting? I’m going to pay attention to those impulses and enjoy the benefits that result. Such gains may be known or unknown. It doesn’t matter. Paying attention is important. All kinds of guidance can come in just this way.
So, my public service announcement is this: check the air in your spare tire!
Perhaps I’ll make it a habit to make sure my spare is readily accessible when I take my car in so the pressure can be checked. If I own a vehicle and the spare is stored under the car, I’ll ask that it be checked when the car is on the lift for some service. And I can check it myself. This is a good idea and one I’m implementing starting now.