Here is a story. I am not sure what lessons will come from it at the end of this blog. For now, I just know I need to tell it.
Let’s start with Friday. We came back on Thursday from a family vacation and were leaving again on Friday to go to Jerusalem for Shabbat. Laundry, unpacking, repacking…and if that wasn’t enough, I had some errands that needed to get run Friday morning in Jerusalem. So, after throwing in a few loads, I went off on my errands (all for the Wellness Center so that was fun!). On my way back, just outside my community, I passed two Israeli men with army issue firearms standing near a car. I slowed down because people often wait there for a ride into our community, but they seemed uninterested and one was on the phone so I kept driving. Ten minutes later I got a text message along with the rest of our community that something happened outside our gates, and no one was hurt. Turns out that someone (one of the guys I had passed) was shot at in a drive by shooting, but he was not hurt, thank G-d. I had come along the road just minutes/seconds after it had happened.
Huphhhh (big sigh).
A few hours later we were back on the roads to Jerusalem.
We get to Sunday, now. We had a morning of errands in town (more Wellness Center stuff :), a Bar Mitzvah for family, and then I had a meeting in Ramat Beit Shemesh at night. (Let me add in here, as it is part of the story, that I had some poor nights’ sleep over the course of the last week… Oh, and we are in the middle of a heat wave here of 99°F, in which my husband and I walked a 1/2 hour to get to and from a friend’s Bar Mitzvah on Saturday.) Needless to say, by Sunday night, I was pooped. I looked into taking a taxi to the meeting to avoid more driving, but it was so expensive. My Dad, who was coming with me to the meeting, said “Who cares how much it will cost?”, meaning – if I am tired and don’t want to drive, what is the price for safety? But it was much more than I expected, and I thought I could do the drive.
When we got in the car, I turned on Waze and was told the drive would take me half the time I expected with a neat short cut. Awesome! I followed Waze, and 12 minutes later we were told to turn right into a park. I thought, cool, neat short cut. Entrance from this end, leading us to an entrance from Beit Shemesh, cool! We’ll be there in just a few minutes, according to Waze. Fifteen minutes later, after driving on dirt roads, I no longer thought this was cool. We kept thinking the exit will be right around this bend, as Waze led us through this forest. At 7:20 PM, when I knew we had been in the park for 20 minutes and only had 20 minutes of light left in the sky, I made a decision to turn around. We followed landmarks to find our way out, but the last few minutes we were driving seemed new to us. At this point, we stopped and called the police, hoping they could lead us out. Technology got us into this mess (PS – Waze had told us to make that turn and did NOT recalculate the route to indicate we had made a mistake. Theory is that in the heat the technology frizzled and told us to turn right 1 km earlier than we should have…) and technology got us out. We sent our location via Whatsapp to the police, and, 50 minutes later, they met us and led us out.
We had seen many pheasants, a baby wild boar, and two antelope... and I was shaking. Thank G-d we were able to reach Police. Thank G-d we were in a cool air conditioned car with water and cell phones. Thank G-d for the border policemen who helped us out. Thank G-d we were in a safe nature preserve, and didn’t get a flat tire on the bumpy terrain.
Shaken, I returned to Jerusalem and stayed there overnight. I kept thinking this is all for the best. Maybe G-d wanted to keep me off the roads to my home at night. Whatever it was, I knew that all was for the best, there was a reason, and this was all orchestrated by G-d. We were safe, and the lesson would reveal itself in time. Perhaps I was supposed to take to heart that if I feel I cannot drive, I shouldn’t. Period.
So, I did not open my computer last night to send a blog. I went to sleep. I thought to just send out a letter to my subscribers explaining the delay, but knew that once my computer was open, sleep would be delayed… So I just went to bed. Self preservation.
This morning, I headed back home. Two minutes into the drive I realized I had not turned on Bluetooth, so did so while moving slowly in slow-moving traffic. And then appeared a policeman on motorcycle at my window. Ta-da! Ticket.
But here is the thing I want to share. Even in my exhausted state, and with everything that has transpired over the past few days, this is what I heard from the Police Officer: “Forget about the ticket – what about your life? Drive carefully! You have people waiting for you at home. Your life is at stake – your safety.” He repeated this to me a few times, as a loving caring compassionate person.
Einstein says you can see life in two ways: Either nothing that happens in life is a miracle, or everything that happens in life is a miracle.
G-d sent me an angel today. In case I wasn’t getting the message about driving when I shouldn’t, or allowing myself even a second of distraction on the road when I am already tired, he sent a caring man – an angel as a messenger of G-d’s words - to stand by my window and look in my eyes and tell me the message to my face. G-d put me here. I have a purpose, a family, love, a Wellness Center to run – and I am risking it all by not being true to myself - allowing myself to drive when I am feeling compromised.
So here is a message to everyone out there: Learn this lesson from my mistake. Don’t repeat it. You are tired, don’t get behind the wheel. You feel compromised because of a bad night’s sleep and are having a hard time focusing – getting behind the wheel then is like getting behind the wheel drunk. DON’T DO IT. Don’t be tempted to be distracted by your phone. Phones are not for while you are driving. They are for emergencies. Your life is at stake. As well as the lives of your passengers and anyone else you are on the road with. That errand can be delayed, that appointment rescheduled. Take your life and safety seriously.
Imagine that angel of G-d looking into your eyes, telling you you are here for a reason, and to take care of yourself. Life is a gift. Don’t play with it lightly.
With love and hope that we all learn this lesson from my mistake,
PS Peer pressure also exists when we are responsible adults. Don’t let “everyone else is doing it” sway your responsible decisions!!!!!!
How the police located us last night...