Out of the smoke…

The smell became worse and worse. Like something was on fire. I sensed the smoke. People started coughing around me. All of the sudden the people in the back of the bus started to panic and scream and shout. STOP the bus, it’s burning! As I ran out onto the German Autobahn in the middle of the night, I had no idea what was going to happen.

Today, as I was driving, I saw the number 311 three times. Within a 20 minutes drive three different cars pulled in front of me with 311 on the number plate (what are the odds?!). The 3rd time it happened, I knew I had to get to the bottom of it. Why was it now 311, I was paying attention to, and not just 11 (which still randomly keeps popping up out of nowhere…).

When I came home, I used (my friend) Google (No books or songs this time. Or trips outside to inspect something in the garden. Not today and you already have your picture for today. The one you toke on Tuesday, the intuition said). I realised that 311 is a band name. An American band (of which I had never heard of. Sorry if you’re a fan). I immediately felt drawn to “Band History” (perhaps not so strange, as I love reading peoples stories). I read about how they met and how they tried hard to get a record deal. About their first gig and so on. What did rock music have to do with my story? Me? What’s the message? And then I came across a paragraph of which, when I read it, I instinctively knew. I stopped breathing for a second and I just knew, what the story was going to be about today.

The noise was deafening. It was dark. The traffic. The cars. The speed. The smell. We stepped as far to the side as possible. I wasn’t wearing any shoes, as I had taken them of to feel more comfortable (whilst trying to sleep). Some people were crying and panicking. Others were more calm and started talking about how we could get hold of another bus, so we could continue to our holiday destination in south of Europa.

And then the flames started showing in the back of the bus. Bigger and bigger. Louder and louder. We ran. Faster and faster. Not so comfortable wearing only socks. When we finally stopped and turned, the whole bus was burning. Like a giant torch in the middle of the German Autobahn. All our bags and personal belongings disappearing in front of us.

For some reason my parents hadn’t taken anything with them, when they left the bus. Well, apart from my sister and I. I guess they, at the moment, didn’t know about the seriousness of the situation, and thought it was just a temporarily problem and that we would be able to continue. Thankfully everyone were safe and we were all brought to a nearby hotel to spend (the rest of) the night. The next morning we were informed by the tour operator, that it would be possible to continue the journey to the holiday destination, as a new bus would be provided, or you could choose to go home. Nappies and necessities were dropped off at the hotel. My parents chose to take me and my sister home. It was a long journey home. Especially For a 12 year old, who loves travelling.

“… their touring RV caught on fire and exploded on the shoulder of the highway. The fire destroyed all their equipment, clothes, money and personal possessions. Despite losing everything – the band members escaped the blaze with minor burns and injuries. They decided to persevere and they only canceled one show before returning to the stage with equipment donated by fans and friends who heard about the disaster on the television news”. (311.com).

I know the comparison is not accurate. I know that. But sometimes it’s not what you read about that is the story, you need to focus on. It’s how you connect it to what has happened in your own life. A situation. An episode. How did you manage? How did you recover? Is it like a prison, you can’t get out of? Is it your own thoughts that are keeping you captured? Is it someone else’s thoughts, that you have adopted, because they were projected on to you?

Will you choose to go home or carry on? Recover your strength and keep doing what makes your heart sing. Find a way out of the uncomfortable situation and continue to grow.

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