Recently, I went for a drive. It’s what I do sometimes when all of this everything boils up inside of me and I just need a moment to gather myself. There’s a certain kind of solace that only comes from 100 miles of road, white noise, and a world swathed in night. I’ll listen to songs I know by heart and while my lips repeat the words, my mind is very far away.
Time was, I drove a lot. Now, my boiling point is not as easily reached. But it happens and when it does, I grab my keys. Sometimes it takes a half an hour. Sometimes….It’s a gift I’ve been given, this time of deep reflection.
It’s worth the gas money to me. Fifteen, even fifty bucks is a small price to pay to clear some of the space in my mind and heart. With just me and a stretch of near-empty road, there’s no use in anything but stark honesty. It’s a safe place for it. No one hears the thoughts in my heart. No one judges the selfish pain. No one placates me and I’m free from spoken admissions. It’s just me, the noise, the road.
The hard part of all of this aloneness is the loneliness: knowing there is no one I’ll tell my troubles to. Yes, I share all things with my husband but there aren’t words for some things. And even when there are words, they aren’t necessarily good to speak aloud. Thus, the road and me.
This last drive, I found myself reflecting on a place I’ve traveled before. I so desperately wanted to go back, to speak the unspeakable things, but I realized that you can go to places you’ve been before, but you can’t go back to the places you’ve been.
That’s not easy for me. I find my heart yearning for someplace to be when there’s nowhere to go, a person to hear when there’s nothing to say, somewhere to turn when there’s nowhere to turn to. It's impossible, an unreachable standard. And still, in my roiling boil, I want those things. But I can’t even speak words enough to ask for what I want, let alone share the mire of my heart. And in the stark honesty, I always end up admitting to myself that it just doesn’t exist.
There are things I know about God and man and the understanding between us, but hope and faith can seem awfully distant in moments like this, moments where I crave tangible communication. And I also know that though it’s distant for me, it’s not for God. Still, it’s lonely.
So I drive for a while, let some artist sing a jumble of words that don’t quite fit, and wait until the pieces of me shift enough to settle. Often, when I pull into the drive, I feel wrung dry. I’ll climb out of the car, listen for a beep-beep, and enter back into the life that I love.
But sometimes…sometimes the words are still unspoken inside of me. Sometimes I can’t swallow past the knots. Sometimes, I spend a sleepless night waiting for the existence of the impossible.