Well, I am sitting in our truck, on the side of the highway. I’ve run out of gas. And with the exception of the car-shaking-semi-trucks that pass me every so often, this situation is very much like the day I wrote my wedding vows. Which was also on the side of the road, in our truck, while waiting for help.
Today I’m waiting for my riding-buddy and dear friend, Jos, to arrive with a can of gasoline. And much like that day before my wedding, when I was stranded on the side of the road in rural Oregon, it’s the kind of thing that can really throw a wrench into your plans. Unexpectedly, an errand that was supposed to take a half hour is going to take 3. Or all the things you thought you’d get done before lunch are going to have to wait until after, or until tomorrow. And then, maybe you get grumpy or pissy or stressed, because now all this time is going to be wasted. And I should probably cancel that dinner with friends to make up for lost time. Or, how am I gonna get it all done?
When I’m mountain-biking, these moments usually come when I’m zipping down a hill, feeling the flow, hitting all the kickers, and then SMACK. I’m on the ground, knee sliced open, all bruised up. And I get up wondering – well shit, where the hell did that come from?
It’s easy to see these times as the abnormalities in life. When you get knocked off your bike and you didn’t even see it coming. And so it makes sense that we often do whatever it takes to avoid them. We plan and consider and then carefully guard whatever route we see in front of us. Because it’d be totally scary to ride a trail if you could never look ahead and see what twists and turns were coming!
The irony is, that when I’m in these very moments – little ones, like running out of gas, to big ones, like losing loved ones, that’s when I really understand that we never truly see the path ahead. I realize how normal it is to get knocked off route. And that even though this makes things more scary and harder to control – it’s reality, so I’m damn well gonna embrace it.
After all, that’s the only way you can fully appreciate seeing a friend, running down the side of a highway, gas can in hand, smile on her face, as she comes to help you out. Now that’s what I call a friggin’ knight in shining armor.