*A journal entry while riding in the backseat to 'Grandma's House Cafe', somewhere in Arklahoma with Dad and Suzy*
Jesse Cook plays out of the car's speakers as the freeway miles bump their way behind us. The music sounds unfamiliar, but I know all the songs. I hum along to them as the car hums along the road.
In the distance, both ahead and behind, the gray gloominess blocks the view of distant wonders. It strikes me that life is very much like driving. There are times in your life where the skies are clear and it appears that you can see everything. Your past and your future stretch out far before you, yet seem close enough to touch. Sometimes you will grasp the grandeur of this view, and sometimes you will take it for granted.
There are times when the path is less clear. Like the gray skies now the view becomes clouded. The future is something unknowable, and the past seems to lose its relevance. All you can see is that which is close to you. Days, weeks, maybe months. Time constricts around you, and all you can do is get by.
Then there is the darkness. Those spans of time during which the sun's illumination is gone and we are left with only the thin strips of our meager headlights to illuminate the way ahead. These times force us to look at ourselves critically. Do you stop and wait for the darkness to fade? Do you choose to follow the guiding lights of others along their paths? Or do you choose to follow your intuition, trusting your judgment based on what your headlights show?
Just as in any road trip, there are times in life where you make a wrong turn or when a convoluted route turns into being lost. When all the signs are there, but you can't make any sense out of them. When we end up driving in circles looking for a landmark to show the way. Here a sense of helplessness often overwhelms us as we question all that we are and all that we have done to get us to this very point. Eventually we either find our way or choose a new heading, but always we continue on.
Within this journey we perceive a destination. That place which we are traveling towards. On some trips we realize that this destination is not all that we had hoped it would be, and so we must choose a new direction to point towards. On other trips we realize that it is not the destination which really matters at all, but instead it is the act of journeying itself that impacts us.
Invariably all journeys will have their potholes, their breakdowns. These can range from minor inconveniences to deal-breaking setbacks that change the course of the journey entirely. Over time we learn to recognize these, and slow down when they occur. Take the time to diagnose and fix the problem properly before carrying on towards our destination or else it will only break down again. We learn to be careful, and avoid hitting the same potholes in the future.
Sometimes, when we look back on a journey, we see only those potholes, or perhaps we remember only our arrival at the destination. Sometimes we remember only the fact that we did indeed travel. Sometimes it is the people that we meet along the way that stick most steadfast in our memories. All journeys though, whether big or small, long or short, make an impact on us. They change our definitions of who we are and of the world around us.
Eventually there will be times of rest, moments of motionlessness, destinations which we linger at after arrival, but there is always another journey ahead. Always more miles that will bump by underneath your en-route to something else.
I hum along to the songs, which I have known all along, as those miles bump their way behind me now.