Monday, January 28, 2013
Hitting the road. Pack the essentials. Be prepared.
Ready for anything.
How can I be prepared for the tautness of spirit, the familiar result of the typically unexpected journey?
Map, clock, weather report. Check.
GPS, phone, warm coat. Check.
I've been preparing for my whole life. Listening, watching, noting.
He drove a bus for Young Life, the man I barely knew. He wasn't talking to me, but I was listening to him. He'll never know. No matter. He drove the bus before I knew him. It wasn't my story. The bus overheated, he said, as he rolled downslope in the Colorado Rockies, and it was summertime and the kids were tired but he turned on the heat full, "of course, to take the heat off the engine."
To take the heat off the engine, I heard. This is a lifesaving, carsaving piece of information.
I filed it away in the emergency kit.
Water bottle. Check.
Remember the heater. Check.
"Relax. Focus on your right hand. Make a fist, then feel the muscles relax as you open the fist. Index finger. Middle finger. Ring finger. Little finger. Without moving your hand, make a circle in the air with your thumb. . . ."
Learn to relax, I heard. Pay attention. This could save your life and the lives of others. Because I know when I get angry I see things I must not do, I hear things I must not say, and I may not spew those angry things on another.
Walking shoes. Check.
"Watch a baby breathing. Tummy rises and falls. Shoulders don't move."
Breathe like a baby. This is where I am. I am a baby, an infant in the arms of a loving Father. Infancy lasts a long time, it seems, and my Father has very big arms to hold one as large as I. Head on His chest, ear to His breast, I listen to His beating heart. Life, there, under the skin. Life, poured out for me. I hear the rush of Spirit in and out, air through the lungs, and I match my life breath to His.
Tire pressure gauge. Check.
And when the car engine overheats a few hundred miles from home, I turn on the heat and it doesn't work - no hot air, but still a hot engine - and we stop and cool down and we add coolant and we go some more, slowly, slowly creeping beside the speeding highway, and when we speed up we heat up and when we eventually have to stop, get repairs, make Plan B, I breathe, and breathe, and breathe, and the 16 hour trip becomes 26, and I breathe and I relax and it goes on and on, one part replaced, and another, and another problem, and another part,
and I breathe,
and I relax,
and life is beautiful and difficult and frustrating and so, so real.
This is love: that a man lay down his life for a friend. I lay mine down, and down, and down, and I don't complain, and I keep remembering, and I seek to please, and I help and I serve and I pour and pour and pour and the love wears life thin, so thin that I can see right through me.
Charger. Check. Wait.
Phone charger, iPad charger, iPod charger, DS charger, Mac charger, GPS charger. Check.
What about ME charger?
What about quiet? What about friendship? What about healthy food? What about water, the water I drink and the Living Water, the refreshment of fellowship and familiarity in a strange land?
I need to check on me. I will remember. I do remember.
Thank goodness there's Someone else planning this trip.