Twisting the Throttle

It was early October a little over ten years ago. Jack got a call from a close friend. She was moving and her new place had no garage. She asked if she could keep her bike at his house for a little while, sweetening the deal by saying, “Feel free to take it for a ride whenever you want. Lord knows I’ve hardly used it lately.”

He was happy to help. Jack had a few bikes of his own but he never owned a Harley Davidson. He was looking forward to sweet little Sportster sitting in his garage and he couldn’t wait for the first test ride. What a gift!

She swung by his house to pick him up and they drove out to her soon to be old apartment complex about 45 minutes away. By the time they got there the afternoon sun was shining brightly, warming the day and making it easy to forget it was autumn. It turned out to be a perfect day for a ride.

They lifted the garage door and rolled the bike out into the sunlight. It was a little dusty. She wasn’t kidding when she said she hardly used it anymore. Jack did a quick check of the fuel, oil and tire pressure. He turned the key and was happy to see the gauges light up. A good sign the battery still had some juice left. He hoped. After a little coaxing the engine came to life purring like a lion. He saddled up and hit the road with his friend following behind him in her Jeep.

The ride back home would end up taking twice as long as the ride there. He planned that before they even left his house. He purposely weaved his way through the “backest” of back roads enjoying the scenery and avoiding highways at all costs.

A couple hours of fun later he turned down the road that led to his home. He glanced in the mirror to see his friend in her little black Jeep still behind him. She was all smiles and enjoying the ride as much as he was.

Jack lived on the edge of town literally. Behind his house was a ten-mile long lake and across the road was hundreds of acres of state land that was designated a nature preserve. They were now travelling on the only road cutting through the dense forest of the preserve. It was about three miles of twists and turns that followed the natural curves of the river running right beside it. Trees of all colors hung over the road from both sides creating a tunnel of fall foliage. The sun shone through projecting spotty patches of light on the ground.

Jack could see a car in the distance. He could see it was moving at a much slower pace then they were. By the time he finished that thought he was almost on top of them. Without even thinking he gave the throttle a healthy twist and blew past the car like it was standing still. It was only after the fact that he realized he just passed on a blind left turn. It wasn’t like him to pull a move like that but in this case there was no thought involved. He just did it.

A few minutes later he rolled into his driveway, shut down the bike and started taking his gear off, waiting for his friend to pull in behind him. He waited and waited. He knew she didn’t follow his lead and pass the car but even at the slower pace she should have been here by now. She was taking too long and something didn’t feel right. He put his helmet back on, hopped on the bike and back tracked hoping to find nothing but some really slow moving vehicles. A minute or so down the road he and his friend passed each other in opposite directions and he could see her frantically motioning for him to turn around and get back home. She was obviously okay and evidently had something important to tell him.

When they met back at his house, she jumped out of the Jeep and ran to him. She didn’t even wait for him to shut the bike off. The words just flew out, “You would not believe what just happened! Right after you passed that car like five deer ran right across the road. One of them ran right into the car you passed. I stopped to see if the driver was okay.”

As Jack was pulling his helmet off the words sank in and a quizzical look came across his face. Then his friend said exactly what he was thinking, “If you didn’t pass that car, one of those deer would’ve taken you out for sure.”

The enormous pit in his belly told him that’s exactly what would have happened. He pictured the whole scene in his mind from an observer’s point of view. But the fact that it didn’t happen was what really shook him. And one question played over and over– why did he pass the car?

Here it is more than ten years later. Jack is driving that same road back to his house. He rounds the blind left turn and feels that same pit in his belly. The ride comes back to him as if it were yesterday. He wonders what might have happened if he didn’t pass that car. He wonders how his life might have been different if his friend hadn’t been there to tell him about the deer. It was that knowledge that really made him stop and think. It occurs to him that every experience we have, no matter how small it may seem at the time, contributes to who we are now. Every relationship we forge no matter how long it lasts plays a part in painting the big picture of our lives and how we view this vast universe.

Once in a long while Jack and his friend still touch base. She lives half a country away now, happily married with three children. He silently sends her his gratitude for the message she didn’t even know she delivered. The true purpose of it wouldn’t dawn on him until years later. He wonders if she still remembers that incident and what, if any, affect it had on her life.

The connections he made as a result of that day were bigger than he ever could have imagined at the time. He had come to consider it proof that someone was watching out for him. What’s more there is a higher power guiding everyone. Call it God, Source or whatever you like. It is love and it can only be accessed through the heart. Why he passed the car made sense now. There was no thought involved. He just felt it was right in his heart.

As time went by he recalled countless other instances where his Angels or Spirit Guides intervened ever so subtly. And now, thanks to a very gifted healer and friend, he even knows some of their names and has an idea what they look like. He couldn’t picture a day going by without talking to them. He takes a moment to send them gratitude for twisting the throttle that day. They were always there whether he knew it or not.

He also understands that some may think there was no message or messenger. That he just made a spur of the moment decision and got lucky. But the truth lies in his heart. Sometimes you just know. You can feel it. That feeling reminded him of two fitting quotes:

Those who don’t believe in magic will never find it. – Roald Dahl

For those who believe, no proof is necessary. For those who do not believe, no proof is possible. – Stuart Chase

Jack is a believer.

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