What are the Odds?

When we were kids, we dealt with difficult situations.
Sometimes we were bullied.
Sometimes we didn’t get a new toy.
Sometimes we were yelled at.
We then developed defenses based on these events.
The problem is that a lot of the times we don’t grow up
and move on past these defenses or events.
They stay repressed and lodged within our brains,
and come out if we feel something similar to the past occurring.

As the saying goes: “You don’t fear the future, you fear the past recurring.”

Noam Lightstone, How to Deal with Repressed Emotions and How They Might Be Harming You

The early morning events of December 8, 2016, were so unpredictable they beg being honored as the movement of the divine.

I had done a lunch & learn for a delightful group at the Kalamazoo County Justice Complex on Wednesday, and I had stayed over in Parkview Hills. About 7:00 am, Joel and I went out into his garage to leave for Full City Café to meet our breakfast book club group.

Joel pushed his garage door opener. The motor started and the door came up about six or eight inches and stopped as the motor kept turning. He repeated the process a couple more times with the same results.

“I can drive,” I offered. (He has two garage doors so each is on a separate opener. The door opener to the side of his garage that my van was parked in worked fine.)

We transferred all of our stuff into my van. I slid in behind the wheel. Joel got into the passenger seat.

“Let me see if I can open it manually,” Joel said as I backed out of the garage. I stopped.

Everything in me felt I should drive. I said nothing. Joel tried unsuccessfully to trip the release and open the door manually.

While we were at breakfast, it began to snow. It was coming down pretty hard, and we had to clean my van off when we left the restaurant. We had run some errands the evening before, and we agreed it was a good thing we had done that given the weather.

Traffic was backed up on Oakland as we headed back toward Joel’s. It was hard to see what was holding things up, but as we got a bit closer it was obvious cars were having difficulty getting up the hill after stopping at the light at Kilgore. Each time the light turned green, one or two cars managed to slip-slide up the hill before the light was red again.

When it was my turn my wheels just keep spinning. Any attempt to give it more gas only caused my van to slide sideways. It is a new vehicle and I don’t yet feel like I have a familiar sense of how it handles.

My nerves snapped. My breathing was spasmodic, and I could hear myself sighing. My heart was racing and I was gripping the wheel as though this was a life-or-death situation.

Joel sat calmly (if not patiently) in the passenger seat.

I swear my legs were jumping almost out of the sockets. I was so close to bursting into tears it is not even funny. Fortunately, after a couple more lights, I got enough traction to make it up the hill. We stopped at the health food store, and got back to Joel’s house without additional incident.

A bit later, as I left Joel’s house and headed back to St. Joseph, I had a powerful flashback.

I was five years old. My family had gone to Arkansas because I father’s father was gravely ill and not expected to live. On our way back to Michigan, we got caught in an ice storm in Cairo, Illinois. The hill was steep. Cars were sliding off into the ditches, some were bumping into each other. I remember seeing police flashers.

I think my dad must have been drinking. When my dad got out of the car to see if something could be done, he fell down. My mom was hysterical. I could feel my little body trembling.

Suddenly, my emotions behind the wheel a bit earlier made sense. My inner child was reliving that frightening event… My heart was overwhelmed with compassion.

As I was driving west, the eastbound vehicles on the overpass were having the same challenge we had been having on Oakland. I saw them in my rear view mirror.

In the sixteen years I have gone to breakfast book club with Joel I think that is only the second time I have driven. The other time was after his hernia surgery.

One of the other women in the book club (Deb) had just had their garage door opener not work; they could not open the door manually. Deb had the name and number of a repair company. Joel made the call and the door was repaired right after lunch.

What are the odds?

While it did not feel like gift at the time, I appreciate being aware and able to release those old fears by bringing love to myself for all time and on all levels.

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