It was just another typical day on the job toodling around the city visiting students in work placements, quizzing them on what they are learning and kibitzing with the employers. Mid-laugh with the owner of a dog kennel, a couple entered and interrupted our chin wag to ask me if I was the owner of the red car out front. Immediately pride took over as I humbly admitted to being the owner of such a pretty car then braced myself for some ‘oohing and aahing’ on their part. I mean how could you not? She is the colour of joy, super sporty and was blending into the newly painted fall landscape without even trying.
But instead of giving a whistle and asking me how many horses are under her hood, he lifted his arm to point at her with concerned look on his face. My ego deflated as I immediately had flashbacks to three months previous when someone thought it was appropriate to smash into her while parked in a mall parking lot and then cowardly skittering off without even leaving a simple note of apology. It was a brief moment of, ‘here we go again’ I needed to snap out of in order to see what he wanted to show me.
Holding my breath and unclenching my eye lids to actually see, I looked to where he was pointing. Huh, no ugly smash, no shocking mark, not a scratch to be seen, but… there was a flat tire. A conga line of gratitude sprang to life in my head as I realized that this stranger just saved me from doing some crazy damage to my car and and that the kennel just happened to be right next door to a mechanic.
The blessings kept piling on when the ‘too busy to really help’ mechanic instantly filled my tire so I could make the drive to the tire garage and upon arrival there, drove right into the mechanics bay without even having to wait or fend of the early birds putting on snow tires. They quickly found the pesky nail that had caused the morning sidetrack, then 15 minutes and $35 later I was off to the races, or rather, off to do the legal speed limit.
Once upon a time I would’ve made this simple nail puncture into a drama fit for the Elizabethan stage, feeding the little victim inside that likes to believe the world is out to get her and that she always gets the short end of the stick. But the wonderful truth is, no matter what mountain or molehill I’ve climbed I always feel taken care of, like something bigger than me is saying, “I saw this coming, it sucks, but I’ve got your back.”
I’m amazed when I look at the years leading up to cancer how everything seemed to shift in order to prepare me; purchases I made, friendships that formed, books that appeared, all arranging themselves like the perfect game of chess so I could win the game when cancer called checkmate. It was an experience I needed to have, but not one that I wasn’t well armed for.
Life happens, and challenges will never cease to arise, but as far as I’m concerned, a challenge is simply an opportunity in different shoes.