Friday, July 2, 2010

The Shoes on the Road

I have always liked to observe everything, but while observing can be a fun and even informative practice when one is just walking around, it is not always a top choice when one is driving.

Yesterday afternoon I ran into – or should I say escape? – an interesting situation, compliments of my tendency to observe everything on my path. I was driving home from the grocery store, and stopped at a red light before turning left into my subdivision. While I waited, something on the road caught my eye – three shoes, all different, were piled up beside the median: a man’s shoe, a woman’s, and one that looked as if it could belong to a little girl. I thought the combination was quite strange…why only one of each? As I pondered the unusual assortment of shoes, I didn’t notice the light had turned green.

The driver in the car behind me blew the horn and I jumped back into real time, but before the signal traveled from my ears to my brain and from my brain to my foot, a few seconds went by….and those few seconds very likely saved my life; in the least, they insured I didn’t get hurt. A car, traveling in the opposite direction, drove straight through the red light, and had I not been mesmerized by the three odd shoes on the side of the road, I would have been directly on its path at the very same time it went through.

I turned into my subdivision, my mind still trying to absorb the intensity of what had just happened. This is not the first time I’ve been spared a close call, and sometimes I have to wonder if distractions are not put on our path to slow us down and avoid the unthinkable. The driver who honked his horn must have been a bit shocked as well, because I noticed he slowed down considerably. Could it be that whenever we misplace our keys or something completely random occurs, it is only the hand of fate pulling us back from rushing into a situation that might not be good for us?

Surely, it could also be a coincidence, but at least in my own perception, I have come to accept coincidences don’t really exist. In fact, whenever I have paid enough mind to so-called ‘coincidences’, a pattern has begun to form, directing my attention to something I needed to become aware of at the time.

I don’t think the three different shoes had any particular significance, other than serving the purpose they were placed there for. Yet, I was happy they were in that specific spot on my path, and became visible to me at exactly the time they did. If they hadn’t been there, or if I had remained unaware, I might not be writing this post.

I got home, unloaded the groceries and went inside; my little daughter, who had stayed home with her big brother, came running into the kitchen and gave me a huge bear hug. When I brought the groceries in, I almost tripped into my son’s shoes, as always left in the doorway – will that boy ever learn to put his shoes away? – but this time I didn’t get angry…for once, shoes in my way had been my ticket to get back home to my children.

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