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September 2012
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February 2013

Angels in Pickup Trucks


The snow was new, with over a foot falling in the past 24 hours. It was fun to be out in it and, as I like to say, I was getting my “fix” of winter wonderland before heading back to LA. To make it all the more wonderland I was coming back from having a heart-to-heart lunch with my 19-year-old “old soul” of a nephew, Kirk.   

We were pushing the clock, trying to stretch time before I had to leave for the airport. And, as is so often a way of life in December in Michigan, the road held surprise patches of ice. One such patch presented itself with much fanfare as we approached a back-up of cars stopped on a two-lane road outside of town. Brake lights appeared and in an instant we were swerving onto the shoulder and into the yard, thankfully without a ditch, with all four tires of my sister’s car buried in snow. 

Huh. After a stream of expletives I said, “Honey, this isn’t good.” My first thought was that I was going to miss my flight. But, Kirk sprung into action, calmly and without comment, except to say, “Wow, that seemed to come out of nowhere.”  So, I followed suit and we dug the snow out from in front of the tires, trying to create a path back to the road. This was going to take awhile. 

Seemingly out of nowhere, a pickup truck crept off the road and stopped behind our car. The young man driving the truck said, “So, you got yourselves stuck.” “Yeah, we did.” “Well, let’s see what we can do.” So, he pulled back onto the shoulder, hopped out, crawled in the truck bed and started pulling things out from under the snow. He pondered each item, a rope, a wide strap, and then settled on a thick chain. All of this without a word. We kept saying thank you in various ways, and he just nodded or smiled. He was a man with a single focus. 

Then, again out of nowhere, as our savior worked on hooking his truck to our car, a second pickup truck stopped. The driver, another young man, fully tattooed up his neck and onto his bald head, sat for a moment in his car. Then, he jumped out, grabbed a bag of salt from his truck bed. He swooped in saying, “I don’t have any time and I have my kid in my truck but here’s a bag of salt to help pave your way. Have a blessed day and a happy new year.”  And, then he was gone.  By now, the chains were in place and our first trucker pulled us out of the snow and safely back onto the road. We thanked him profusely and he gracefully wished us well, happy new years all around. 

The entire event took 14 minutes. Snow-angels

Kirk and I looked at each other and he said, “What just happened?” I said we were just taken care of by angels, angels in pickup trucks. It reminded me of other times in my life when angels seemed to appear out of nowhere, helping me out of this jam or soothing that hiccup. It got me thinking about how we’re all connected, we’re all one, sharing a human experience. We are, at our core, the same. There’s a kindness and a collective generous human spirit that is palpable and delicious. 

We decided we really didn’t need to tell anyone about what happened. There was no harm done and everything was fine and still on schedule. I said that this would be something I’d love to write about on Thought Changer because it brought to light one of life’s delectable metaphors, but I couldn’t this time. He asked me why and I said because it would out him. He was the one driving the car. 

Kirk looked at me and said, “Please write it. I’ll be upset if you don’t.” 

“Really?” I asked.

“Yes. Promise you will?” Then, he held out his fist and I bumped mine against his. Promise made.

So, thank you angels driving pickup trucks.  And, wise nephews with old souls. 

Promise kept. 


Be the Snowflake

By Cindy Yantis

"We're heading into heavy snow."  I heard someone in the airport utter this as he got ready to board my flight.  Flights were cancelled, roads were closed, plans were diverted, all due to heavy snow.

I find the phrase "heavy snow" intriguing.  It's hard to think of anything lighter than snow.  Or to break it down further, there's not many things lighter or more delicate than a snowflake.   Each tiny piece of frosted crystal sweet and unique, completely different that the millions of other perfect ice sculptures cascading down along with it.  They create a silent symphony of white and calm, of peace and newness.  That is until there are too many of them all at once, storming on top one another so that they’re packed Snow-flakesinto a heaviness that can become treacherous, even deadly.  One could imagine the breezy conversation taking place among them.  “What happened? Just a moment ago we were free and easy, living a light simple existence.  Now, we’re an avalanche.” 

It got me thinking about life’s everyday moments, and the thoughts and projections that inhabit those moments.  A moment is as light as air, as fleeting as a whisper.  And, it leads seamlessly into the next moment, which is entirely different than the moment before and the moment just after.  But, we can become so bogged down in the past, reliving old stories over and over again, or so trepidatious about the future, packing expectations and fears onto the moment, that the present moment is so heavy and burdensome like an overloaded water balloon, that it explodes leaving a soggy mess.

But, if you think of each moment as a snowflake, light and delicate and a precious creation that floats into the next snowflake, then it really helps keep a lightness and a present-ness about your own presence.  

Eckhart Tolle in the The Power of Now, says, “As soon as you honor the present moment, all unhappiness and struggle dissolve, and life begins to flow with joy and ease. When you act out the present-moment awareness, whatever you do becomes imbued with a sense of quality, care, and love - even the most simple action.”

Think about how light each moment would be if you just went moment to moment without piling the past and future onto it. 

Take some time to slow down.  Notice.  Allow each moment to be it’s own unique experience.  Like the snowflake.  

Be the moment.  Be the snow.