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Hi all, this is Helene. As the Toby Keith song goes, “occasionally, I wanna talk about me (me, me, me)!”; so, Vijay agreed I could do exactly that this week.  Everything happens for a reason, right?   Have you ever wondered what the reason is or when/if we ever find out?  Or even if there is truth to that saying?  I think it’s fascinating to consider the possibilities, which is exactly what I’ve been doing the last few weeks after a vacation was unexpectedly interrupted. We hit a deer while riding on a motorcycle.  It was a remote, two-lane country road in Illinois late Sunday morning (Father’s Day).   We stayed upright and steady as the deer came up the windshield and fell off to the side; we are fine.  Unfortunately, neither the deer nor the bike survived.  That was the outcome, now here is the story…

A few days earlier, I was at the airport waiting for a flight to Springfield, MO to start the trip. I planned to join my husband and friends at a bike rally before going on a several days long ride.  My flight happened to be on the first day of what is still a snafu of flight delays and was cancelled.  I got the last standby seat on the last flight to Springfield for the next several days; if that seat wasn’t available, the next option was a flight to Sunday night’s waypoint.  We started riding a little earlier than planned that Sunday morning, stopped once and had just started to consider where we could stop for lunch when we hit the deer.  There was nothing for miles before that, but we were lucky to find a motel two miles up the road to pull into to check the damage.  As it turns out, the front end was gone.  We were lucky to have had that hotel to wait at while finding a tow truck willing to come from 130 miles away to take us and the bike to the next large city.  As it happens, that was Louisville, Kentucky 😊.  In the 6 hours spent at the motel, we met some of the people staying there.  Each had experienced recent hardships that put our problems into perspective quickly.  I am still thinking of them.

Ten hours later, we were in Louisville having a late dinner and drinks and discussing the what ifs.  What if I wasn’t able to get on that flight and was waiting instead at the town planned for Sunday night?  Would he have taken a different route and not encountered the deer?  Did my presence on the back of the bike (including the 5 pairs of shoes I packed!) provide the extra ballast needed to stay upright on impact or help him stay focused to hold the bike steady?  What if we left at a different time, didn’t stop, or stopped at a different time?  Did the black kitten that ran across the road in front of us earlier that day mean anything?  Was there a reason the motel was there in the middle of nowhere just when we needed it? Maybe we were meant to meet the people there? Maybe we were meant to learn something from them?  And of course the big “what if” ….”what if we went down, how badly would we have been hurt”?

The what ifs and whys are endless. Everything does happen for a reason, at the very least it’s “cause and effect;” although I’ll never discount the possibility of greater forces at work, for reasons that may be far in the future.  But since we rarely know for sure what those reasons are, all we can do is lean into our experiences, cherish them, learn what we can and move forward. Would I hesitate to get on a bike again? Absolutely not!  But when I do, I’ll be a different rider.

“Every experience, no matter how bad it seems, holds within it a blessing of some kind.  The goal is to find it.” – Buddha

What experiences have changed you?

-Helene

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