Friday, March 27, 2015

A Minor Miracle

       Two and a half weeks ago I experienced a minor miracle and I can’t stop thinking about it.  Perhaps ‘miracle’ is too strong, but at least a blessing.

      I’m staying alone in a house in Ormond Beach, Florida.  I’d flown into Daytona Beach Airport after a brief trip to D.C., I’d planned the trip to reach the airport at mid-day and take the bus which services the airport hourly.  The day was unseasonably cold and windy.  After waiting an hour and a half with no sign of a bus, I called the number on the bus schedule I carried, the response was, “Oh, we have no service to the airport today, the Bike Week traffic is too heavy to allow for that”.  Almost speechless, I finally said, “I have no car, what can I do?”  “Walk out to International Speedway Boulevard, I think you are near there, look for a bus stop, take any bus, it will go to the Transfer Plaza where you can then take the correct bus to your destination” was the response.

      A bit dazed, carrying a suitcase (without wheels) and fighting whatever illness had begun the night before, I headed down the winding airport roads, somewhat disoriented I asked the parking lot attendant for directions.  I estimate my walk to have been about a mile.  As I neared the Boulevard I saw to the left a large Harley-Davidson tent with dozens of bikes and bikers, as I got to a branching road that turned off to the right a mass of bikes, I estimate 25-30, passed in front of me as I waited; when it cleared I crossed.  As I stepped onto the sidewalk, a woman (accompanied by a man) asked, “Do you have a problem?  I can see you aren’t a biker chick”.  I briefly explained the bus problem and she said, “Where do you live?”  “About 20 miles North, off of A1A” I replied.  She said, “I have a car, I can drive you.”  First I said thank you but I’m almost to the Boulevard and should be able to get a bus.  She responded, “In this crazy traffic?  It will take till dark for you to make it back home, come on, I’ll drop my husband off at the place we’re staying and take you.  We’re here for the bike races, we come every year so I know the area.”  At that point I was beginning to feel light-headed and a bit feverish. 

      For the briefest few seconds I thought of all the warnings about ‘strangers’, but as she took my arm and led me to her car I felt no fear, only gratitude.  She did indeed drop off her husband, bring me a bottle of cold water and we headed out into the snarled traffic.  It took about an hour to reach my house, as I reached for my purse to offer her some gas money she said, “Don’t even think of it, you do something nice for someone else some day.”  In my muddled state of mind I didn’t even get her name or address.  She waited as I fumbled with keys, then, when I opened the door, drove off with a smile and wave.

      I pretty much collapsed in bed, had a raging fever through the night, got up only to change the wet bedclothes and sheets and did not get out of bed the following day.  When my daughter arrived the next morning she immediately took me to a walk-in clinic where I was diagnosed with pneumonia and extreme dehydration and sent to a hospital for the next four days.

      Why do I call that a miracle you may ask?  . . . How often do strangers pay any attention to those who pass by?  How did this kind-hearted person happen to be on that corner at that time?   And with her car just a few steps away? 
      An angel?  God or the Universe sending aid?  The Holy Spirit responding to a prayer?  Synchronicity?  

      Something bridged the gap between my need and the circumstances in which I found myself by motivating a stranger to offer an unusual kindness.  I choose to call it a miracle or a blessing and give thanks.  There are unseen dimensions to life beyond our understanding.

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