So I had a really surreal series of events last summer, where I may have ran into a guardian angel of sorts. I’ll leave it for you guys to decide.
It was the perfect July day—the sun was shining, the air was warm, and I had the day off. It was a beautiful day for a ride, so I grabbed my gear, started up my ’83 Suzuki Katana (it’s a classic I tell you!) and hit the road. God it was perfect. The traffic was moving swiftly, and my fresh tires were sticking to the smooth pavement like glue. I couldn’t have asked for anything better.
After an hour or so I pulled over at a bookstore to cool off and give my muscles a break. On my way back out, I noticed a homeless guy sitting on a bicycle next to my bike. As I walked towards my parking spot I greeted him and he asked me for some change.
I apologized and told him I didn’t have anything on me but with a sort of desperation in his eyes he begged me even for a few pennies. I don’t make a habit of giving change to homeless people, mostly because I’m barely getting by myself but also because who knows what they’re using the money for? I’m not down with funding someone else’s habit. Still, there was something in this guy’s eyes that struck a chord in me so I reached into my pockets and searched for something. I only came up with a half used tube of chap-stick, I held it out to him but he wasn’t interested.
With out skipping a beat, he told me how he used to ride a motorcycle too and actually crashed on an expressway not far from where we were. Now, I’m always interested in hearing about wrecks—not out of some morbid curiosity but to hopefully absorb the lesson and not make the same mistake they did. He was riding with his wife on the back, traveling at an unintimidating 55mph down the highway when things started going wrong. A parallel sedan on his right attempted to change into his lane but didn’t see the bike. Thankfully, the rider was paying attention and saw the driver’s error—he accelerated and escaped by changing into the right lane and passing the car in front of him. Unfortunately, that driver didn’t see the motorcycle swiftly passing on his right; suddenly something on the road forced him to swerve and he clipped the bike’s rear wheel in the process.
The machine, rider and passenger went down hard and smashed into the guardrail going around 60 miles per hour. His wife somehow remained conscious, but he was knocked out cold. Somehow in his stupor he knew he was going to die, and as he lay on the blistering hot pavement, in a pool of his own blood he heard a voice.
“Are you ready to go?”
Just as he was about to respond to the phantom, he saw his wife’s face over him and heard her hysterical cries—she was begging, pleading for someone to help them. At that point he whispered back, “No, I’m not ready to go yet.” The voice responded, “Very well, it’s not your time yet.”
The next thing he knew he was lying in a hospital bed over 8 hours later.
I looked at him with a new respect and said “Man, you were lucky as hell.” I’ll never forget the look he gave me next. It was as if he’d never heard the phrase before, or didn’t understand what the word “lucky” meant. He looked me straight in the eyes—there was that strange connection again—and said, “No, I was blessed.”
I stared at him with my mouth agape, whatever I was expecting him to say, it certainly wasn’t that. There was a short pause and he simply told me to “Ride safe” and he took off on his bicycle. I was floored; it felt like someone had just hit me with a baseball bat. What had just happened? Why didn’t he bug out after he knew I didn’t have any money? Why did I feel so strange?
I rode back thinking about the strange conversation, I even wrote down the details when I got home. I told a few coworkers about what happened the next day and they were all convinced I ran into some sort of angel. Normally, I would have laughed out loud at the notion—but I wasn’t laughing. There was something very bizarre about that man.
In my younger days, I used to be fairly religious. I loved the sense of peace and well being I had when I looked at stained glass, or sung a hymn (and to this day I wish I could have that feeling back.) But I saw a huge difference between following God and going along with a church’s agenda. I frowned at the violence organized religion caused throughout history, I despised the greed of certain religious sects, and I hated how religion divided people instead of uniting them.
But as I got older and continued my education, I learned about the different facets of science and began to realize my old beliefs weren’t holding up to my scrutiny. I learned about genetics, the function of cells and began to explore the human lineage. It was a difficult and conflicting period of my life that lasted for years, letting go of long held beliefs and accepting a new—and decidedly bleaker—outlook on life. Eventually though, the internal conflict settled and I accepted that the world for what it was. So given that, I thought it strange and somewhat creepy that the man’s story affected me so much
I didn’t give it much thought after a few days.