Thursday, March 29, 2012

The Road Stretched Out

It’s officially spring here in Southeast Michigan and with spring comes the itch in me for a good road trip. There is something about packing into the car with good road food, coffee, books and an atlas and heading out with the road stretched out before us.

I’ve always enjoyed a good road trip. One of the first that I remember was driving from Michigan to Vermont to visit my aunt and uncle. My grandparents and great aunt drove my brother, cousin, and I out there the summer we were 13 years old. I remember so many great details about the drive there and back that the time there, while fun, was not as notable. It was as if the journey itself was the joy and life of the trip. It is that sense of adventure and unknown that makes an ordinary destination a celebration of the gift of this life and freedom we have to roam.

We take many road trips every month to visit family about 90-150 miles away and while that keeps me somewhat satisfied, it’s the big road trips that refresh my soul…remind me that new, simple things are what keep me going – keep the excitement in the journey.

The road trip is a metaphor for life for me right now…this journey I’m on doesn’t have a clear cut or flashy destination. But I’m learning here in the quiet rhythm of everyday that it’s the sights, sounds, and experiences are what matters – as long as I keep looking for them – longing for them and looking out the window, but also inside to those faces I love so much. Its Zach telling me his new Easter clothes are “fantastic”…Abby making up cheerleader type moves as she keeps begging me for yogurt…Kayla making up silly songs and dancing around the living room while Zach and Abby follow along. It’s little hands around my neck, hugs so tight I can scarcely breathe, it’s Zach saying “I love you, my highness”, Kayla asking for me to put my arm around her. When I really take in these sights and sounds, I’m overcome with the gravity of it all – this journey – never passing this way again – each moment coming faster and faster like I’m watching the sunset and trying to hold each ray in my hand.

This thankfulness and humbleness does not flow from me as often or as intensely as it should. But I truly am thankful for this road stretched out before me – wherever it may lead.

As far as that big road trip…well, it has not been planned yet. But I’ll take the two small ones over the next two weeks and savor the journey to places and people that I love. And that is more than enough for this roaming soul.

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