Donut Tires and Unexpected Blessings

 by Michelle Jereb

            I recently had the dreaded flat tire….ugh.  I was driving home from a lovely day with a friend, when I realized my car was acting strangely.  I had the good sense to get OFF the freeway and investigate the strange behavior.  Yup… flat tire.  I was blessed to be in a safe place.  I called my husband and AAA and alerted them to my problem.  Both arrived to help me.  The flat tire was removed and replaced with the “donut” tire.  It was late on a Saturday evening.  Discount tire was closed for the day.  This meant I was NOT going to get my tired fixed or replaced.  It DID mean I was going to have to drive 30 miles home on the donut tire.

            Now let’s talk a little about me.  I consider myself an “efficient” driver.  Okay, I am a fast driver.  I figure out the best route to get somewhere and drive quickly…okay many times over the speed limit.  I confess… I am not a contemplative driver.  I prefer the freeway to surface streets.  JUST GET THERE!  You cannot drive over 40 miles per hour (approximately) on a donut tire.  Well, that meant no freeway driving; no “efficient” driving… it meant sloooooooowing down and taking the long way home.  What a blessing that turned out to be.

            First because I was driving home on surface streets I passed by one of my favorite restaurants.  My husband (who was following me home) and I stopped in and had a lovely unexpected dinner.  No rush to get anywhere.  And then we stopped off at a fun store and browsed.  Neither the restaurant nor the store was on the freeway.  It makes me wonder how much in life I miss because I prefer to drive on the “freeway of life” vs. the “surface streets of life”?

            Second I noticed as I drove in the far right (slow) lane that I was actually enjoying the drive.  The slower I drove, the slower my thoughts became.  I was not judging all of the “bad” drivers on the road.  I was just with them….all of us driving our best on the journey.  I was smiling.  We are all in this drive together.

            Third I was thankful when I woke up on Sunday and I STILL had the donut tire on my car, which meant I was given permission to go slow.  “Permission to go slow”.  Let’s be honest we live in a fast paced, get it done world.  I liked driving slow.  What a shift for me.  The question now is: “Without the donut, will I still drive slow?”  I hope so.  The donut reminded me it is not about how fast I get somewhere, but how I “go”.

            The donut tire helped my car to become a “contemplative container” that allowed me to travel and arrive fully present to the next place on my journey a.k.a. the grocery store, my daughter’s house, work.  I am a contemplative driver.

            May you be blessed with “donut” tires in your life that help you to slow down and just be.