“There is an affirmation in each of us that tells us we are in touch with a power greater than ourselves. There are few of us who don’t, at some time, believe we get help from a Higher Power. An inner voice, ever so quiet, gently guides us, assuring us we are not alone.”
– “In God’s Care*: Daily Meditations on Spirituality in Recovery,” May 6
*As We Understand God
I am reminded of a time many moons ago when I was in a live-in relationship with “Tom #1.” We had a lot in common, including a love of music, an atheist belief system, and, jobs at the same company. We were struggling in our relationship and seeking to determine if we should stay together and get married, or split. We decided to take a vacation together, since we didn’t have the same work hours or days off, and thought concentrated, fun time together would help us make a decision upon arriving home.
We worked for AMTRAK and created a wonderful itinerary: travel on the overnight train from New York City to Miami, FL; take a four-day cruise to the Bahamas; and then rent a car in Miami and drive north to Disney World. After a couple days there, we’d drive to the Kissimmee AMTRAK station, drop off the rental car, and hop aboard the train home. Whew! A busy, but adventurous vacation planned; Tom and I designed it and the AMTRAK travel person made the reservations, etc.
Throughout the various legs of the trip, Tom and I got along well, and we learned more about one another as we were thrown into different situations and observed the other’s responses. It didn’t seem like we would choose to stay together once we got back to New York.
The last day of the trip was strictly a travel day. Since Tom didn’t like to drive, I would be driving us to the train station (despite my having caught a cold), about a 30-minute drive. We would need to first return the rental car and check our baggage before boarding the train, so we needed at least another 15 minutes. As we were packing at the hotel, I looked at the rail tickets and realized I had the wrong time in my head about when the train departed—it was earlier—and we’d already been cutting our hotel departure time close! Now we really had to hustle. I really didn’t want to miss that train, as there was only one a day: I didn’t feel well physically and was tired of all the busyness; I was scheduled to work the following day (late shift); and, I didn’t want to spend any more time with Tom. The train makes a quick stop of a few minutes at Kissimmee, simply to drop off and pick up travelers; it’s not like it would be hanging out at the station. I simply needed to make that train and get home to my space.
We hurriedly checked out of the hotel, got onto the freeway, and I made my way over to the left lane, very intent on speeding a bit above the limit. I had always been a good driver, but I was driving on an unfamiliar road, was agitated, and didn’t like driving so quickly. Despite not believing God existed, I sensed a Presence and that It was keeping me safe driving at a high speed in a car that was not my own, on a road that I was driving the first time. I was very conscious of It, and a bit surprised to say the least. I didn’t know if we’d get to the station on time, but I did know we’d get there safely. It was comforting. I did indeed get help from a Higher Power, even if I hadn’t believed in One. Just like the above-mentioned quote, I sensed a quiet, gentle voice and Presence guiding my driving and making me feel I was not alone. I’d never had such an experience.
You may be wondering if we managed to drop off the rental car, check our baggage, and catch the train…
Well, luckily the train was running a few minutes late and so yes, we did! Feeling so miserable physically and spent emotionally, I sank into our living quarters for the ride, and breathed a huge sigh of relief. I do have to say that despite that experience with a Higher Power, it did not make me believe that God existed. That would have to wait another ten years.