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The Challenges of Travel

Friday, 26 June, 2020 - 12:31 pm

Driving.jpgAs I drove along the highway on Wednesday as I headed down to New York, I suddenly noticed a big wheelbarrow in the inside lane. I quickly moved over to avoid it and called 911 to report it so that the police could safely stop the traffic and remove the danger. When I called they told me that they are already on to it and will be there any minute to take care of it. We continued driving down the Interstate 84 and I chatted and learned a little with my son as we enjoyed some quiet one on one time.

Suddenly about 60+ miles from Sudbury, the highway in front of me filled with smoke and all the brake lights on the cars in front of me went on as the cars slowed down. I presumed that a car or truck was on fire but then the smoke started to dissipate and I see a van pulled off to the inside service lane with some smoke still coming from its engine.

Imagine my surprise when I noticed that the person who got out the van to inspect the car was a good friend of mine who was headed in the same direction as me. I quickly pulled over on the outer service lane and tried to make contact with him to see if he and his family were okay on the inside service lane.

Luckily while their van wouldn’t restart, the engine was not on fire and they were all okay. The State Police arrived shortly afterwards and after assessing the situation, they decided to close the highway for a few minutes, as another cruiser pushed my friend’s van off the next service ramp where they could pull over safely and get out the car.

I joined them for a few minutes as they figured out their plans and then had some of their children join me in my car so that they could continue their journey down to New York while the parents made arrangements over the next few hours (as they were helped by another friend who lives near that area).

Usually if I see an incident unfold before me on the highway and it is safe to pull over, I try and stop and be of help, and this incident reminded me of another occurrence which took place just over a year ago on the same highway. At the time I was taking the same trip and many cars slowed down at one point as we passed a car that had broken down in the middle lane of the three lane highway. As we passed, I noticed a mother in the driver’s seat holding a crying toddler as cars raced by her on either side at speeds of 40mph or 60 mph. I was startled and shocked and realized that this woman and her child were in danger, so I made sure it was safe and quickly pulled over while calling 911. Then slowly and very carefully I managed to get a truck to slow down gradually and stop the highway, so that this young mother could move her car and roll to side of the highway where they could safely stop and wait for help.

Cars, highways and people are not much different than the journey of life.

We all have our paths and journeys that we need to take and we have our goals and destinations that we need to head to. Sometimes there are obstacles along the way, which can slow us down, or even worse derail us or others from arriving safely at our destinations.

As we navigate forward, our job is also to be a responsible traveler, and help our fellows be able to move along safely together and not get stuck by obstacles and dangers. Sometimes we might see a person who is facing a challenge or an obstacle and we must realize that seeing this unfold is usually a sign that we must do something about it. Sometimes it might be to call someone else who might be able to better assist our colleague who is struggling, and sometimes the situation might require us to act immediately and try and be of help to our fellow.

Metaphorically driving by and continuing our own journey while ignoring a struggling traveler next to us, should never be an option, unless it will directly endanger us and potentially many others at the same time.

I am a deep believer in the concept of Divine Providence and I contemplated that had I been just sixty seconds ahead or behind of where I was on the highway, I may not have even realized what unfolded. But providence would have it, that of the thousands of travelers, I drove by at the exact second that my friend began to have a challenge and I was able to help, not just by pulling over, but also by helping his children get to their destination which was where I was headed too.

Let’s keep travelling to our collective and individual goals, and as we do so, let us remember that if we see someone struggling in their journey in whatever way that may be, let’s slow down and see if we can help in anyway.

It may seem like we are slowing down our own journey as we do so and arriving later than we planned to our destination, but in truth this act itself may be a part of our own destination and journey. In other words, the destination isn’t always the end goal, for the process of the journey itself is part of the destination.

Drive carefully through life and keep heading to your goals while not getting distracted from reaching your destination safely and successfully. Yet if you see someone who is stuck on the highway of life, slow down safely, pull over to the side, and see how you can help them successfully get back on the road to their destination and goals.

The boost, the call or the shoulder to lean on, are not just helping your fellow, they are essentially part of your own journey and purpose.

Good Shabbos

Yisroel

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