Monday, August 27, 2012

Flat tire "miracle"

It’s been couple of weeks since I last posted on the blog and I feel really bad about it as I consider this blog not just as a hobby or outlet for my energy but rather as a medium where I can share with my fellow friends and strangers my thoughts and ideas about various issues. However when inspiration fails me what can I do?

But HBH has His way to awake and “inspire’ and if a delicate touch doesn’t help than sometimes a kick does! In my case it looks as I needed a kick to get my attention and this time the kick that of awakened my inspiration was my car, particularly the tires.

I know some of you may be bored by a second essay involving tire problems while driving in a dusty desert! … But this story is worth telling especially its conclusion.

This time I was driving in a very sparsely populated area of Wyoming. There aren’t too many Indians here as they were suppressed by the US government after the Indian victory at Little Bighorn and their defeating General Custer and his army. The chiefs Sitting Bull and Crazy Horse escaped to Canada and the Indian lands were confiscated with only a little compensation in the form of a few reservations. Therefore not even Indians were around this time as in my previous essay.

I left town and took a side road which was almost a hundred miles long and a large portion of it was just a dirt road. Driving and enjoying the glorious views surrounding me, looking at the almost infinite space unspoiled by human activity I thought to myself how privileged I am that Hashem presented me with my present occupation allowing me to see all of this endless beauty of this country and His creation.
A cloud of dust was following my car for about a mile and no other cars were anywhere to be seen, not a single human being and no telephone service was to be had since a few miles after I left town. After more than thirty or forty miles on the dirt road I passed a ranch and the paved road began.

Soon after I got on the pavement I felt that my car was behaving in a strange way. Without looking on the dashboard gauge I knew it was a tire. After stopping my car I took a walk around it and found that my rear driver side tire was totally flat. I drove few yards to better position my car so that I would be able to take out my spare tire located underneath the car. This was the first time I needed to use my spare in the four years of driving my Suburban. I took the tools and inserted them in the small opening in the back bumper. After turning the device right and left for a good half hour I realized that I will be not able to lower the tire to take it out. I started to think about alternative solutions for my problem, namely to ask for help. The ranch which I passed not long ago was still pretty close but it didn’t look occupied and in retrospect I am sure that the people that were living there were regular Americans and nice people however when I was all alone in the desert I was not that sure about it. My phone did not have any service for the past thirty miles and Cheyenne, the next town was almost fifty miles away.

Of course I was asking my Creator for help with a sinking feeling in my heart considering my situation. Visions of spending the night in the desert were not as bad as my fear of encountering some hoodlums or crooks. I waited for a while but the road was empty and no car passed in either direction for more than an hour, I decided that I would try to drive as is with one flat tire. After driving a little more than a half mile I realized that it was impossible to continue this way. With tears in my eyes I took one more look at my phone mounted near my steering wheel. I couldn’t believe what I was seeing! I saw one of the service bar indicators blink on and off. I walked little bit more up the hill to try to get a better signal but was unsuccessful. My phone was working only in the spot where my car finally stopped unable to go further and nowhere else!
I called AAA and spoke to the person on the other end of the ‘line’. Apparently the person heard me well however my reception was very bad. After transferring me from the New York office to Oregon, I finally got someone in Wyoming. It was hard to believe that a person living in Wyoming didn’t know that there is no closest cross street on the highway where I was stuck, but finally after checking back and forth the AAA person was able to locate me on the map and he said the he would send someone to help me. The AAA truck arrived one and a half hour later. It took us another hour and a half to release the spare tire, because the bolt securing the tire was rusty. Together with my new friend we worked underneath the car while trying different ideas to loosen the bolt. Finally the tire fell to the pavement, at that moment I praised HBH in all the languages that I speak. But it was not the end of the problems. While lifting the car, my tool broke into two pieces and the AAA man had to take almost all of his tools out of their boxes in order to loosen the tire. At last we were able to put the spare on properly and while the sun was already below the horizon I gave my blessings to the AAA man and said goodbye.

I began to drive toward Cheyenne. As soon as I began to drive I noticed that my phone was not working anymore. And that is how it stayed for the next thirty miles.
While I was scanning the dark road every few seconds I was also scanning my phone. A solid X over the service bar connectivity indicator didn’t leave any doubt. There was no phone service in the entire area. I started getting chills down my back and the hair on my neck stood up! I began to analyze the situation from the very beginning of this long drive. If I would have gotten the flat tire on the dirt road not only would there not have been any phone service but it would be almost impossible to use any tools in such conditions in addition to the uneven position of the vehicle. The flat tire happened as soon after I got on the paved road or just moments before. The fact that I was able to call AAA was a miracle, as I define a miracle as something ‘unnatural’ or statistically impossible. Here, in my particular situation the second part of my definition was the best possible description of what happened. Time, place, the surrounding mountains and many other factors guaranteed that it was impossible to use the phone. Nevertheless it did work!

My moods were changing from minute to minute. From near ecstasy of being aware of Him watching over me, to deep sadness that He has to use miracles to make me aware of Him being in charge of my affairs.

Let me be clear. When I’m talking to other people about Hashem’s fingerprints, I know what I’m talking about. Thanks to Him, I have the ability to recognize and to know His presence or at least the impressions of His fingers in all micro and macro aspects of His Creation. I can see His greatness in the structure of the atom or in the depth of the Grand Canyon. But most important of all is that He allowed me to find His message to Humanity – Torah and to join His people. And still after all of this, He ‘needs’ to use a miracle to remind me again about His presence in my life. 
I felt humiliated by this awareness, again close to tears, I was saddened by my lack of trust in Him.

The last few years of my life has been like a roller coaster when many times I wondered where life events are leading me and my family as we were going in directions unexpected and undesired. We all experience these kinds of events sometime during the duration of our earthly journey. We all ask questions sometimes like ‘why’ and ‘why me’. One of the goals of our earthly journey is to put our entire trust in Him, in His Guidance and in His Love.

I don’t know what would happen if I didn’t have a flat tire and would have arrived a few hours earlier to my destination for that day. Maybe some greater trouble was awaiting me worse than a flat tire in the desert! Perhaps, a physical problem or a spiritual problem would have confronted me which every day in my prayers, I ask the Hashem the Giver of life to protect me from.

But after what I experienced and what I have tried to describe in this essay I have no doubts at all! Sometimes we have to learn about His Love in the dust of the road, in sweat (Shvitz) and dry mouth, in the pain of cuts and scratches all over our body, in what we think is a total loss of time, in the humiliation of the recognition that He is in charge!

Matys Weiser