You know when you’re driving on the highway through a rainstorm and your windshield is all cloudy, and you can barely see the headlights of the car in front of you, and the sound of it all, the rain and wind, and sometimes even hail, is just pounding on your car and all of your senses are just overwhelmed?
You know when you’re just trying to make it to your next destination, and you really had no clue what you were going out in, but now you’re stuck in it because you have to either get to your destination, or you have to get to the other side of the storm, or you have to turn around altogether and return to your previous refuge, but either way you have to travel some sort of distance in this chaos.
Sometimes, I feel like that is my life.
I feel like for a really long time I have been driving in this rainstorm, and everything around me is chaotic, and I keep thinking that it has to end soon, that the rain has to calm eventually, or I have to reach my next destination. I have to be close to that next destination. So I keep pushing, and driving, and focusing on the taillights of the person in front of me, trying not to rear-end them while I say a silent prayer that the person behind me is offering the same level of caution.
Then comes an overpass.
Gosh, when you are driving through a rainstorm, there is nothing that can provide a breath quite like an overpass. And frankly, that’s all it offers, this little breath, because in a matter of that breath, in a matter of that second or two, you are through it and back out into the rain.
It is funny how quickly your brain can play tricks on you. It is crazy that in a split second, in that brief breath that you spend under that overpass, you can actually believe that the storm stopped. When the world calms, even for a millisecond, you breathe this sigh of relief as though it may be over, as though you may actually be through it.
Then the second is over, and every single one of your senses returns to complete disarray.
When I was little I use to think that the entire road should be covered in overpass. I understand how impractical that is now. I understand the actual purpose of an overpass now, and I recognize that the fact that it provides this breath of refuge is just a minor benefit to it’s much more extensive purpose. I know now that you can’t cover an entire highway with an overpass, with shelter.
But some people have their own ideas with this. They also know that they can’t cover the whole road with overpass, but they do think that they can use this little blip of an overpass to their advantage. Some people stop under the overpasses.
I’ve never been one of those driver’s, but I have seen them, and I have admired them. They’re probably a lot smarter than I am. They pull their cars over to the shoulder beneath the shelter of the thing that I only experienced half of a second of. They have no interest in driving on a road they cannot see. They have no interest in driving through the debilitating chaos of the storm.
Like I said, I always notice these people, but I have never been one of them.
I guess for me it has always been a matter of what is important- and that’s always speed, movement. I can never not be moving.
When you stop under an overpass you can escape for a few seconds. You can catch your breath and enjoy the sound of rain falling on the asphalt around you rather than pounding on the hood of your car. When you stop under the overpass, you might add ten minutes, thirty minutes, an hour to your trip as you wait for the rain to pass, but the rain will pass eventually, and maybe then you can enjoy the rest of your trip, travel on a road with the dark pigment that reveals rain passed through rather than the rippled flood of a road currently enduring the storm.
That sounds nice. What lunatic wouldn’t do this?
But nice as that sounds, I’ve never really wanted to sacrifice that ten, thirty, sixty minutes. I’ve always just driven through.
The other day I cried to my husband. By earthly terms, he is dying, but I had the audacity to cry to him. I cried to him and I told him that I want our life back. I want our normal back. I want to spend Saturdays drinking coffee and eating Trader Joe’s croissants again while we catch up on the shows we missed during the week. I don’t want to hurt any more. I want to be normal again, ordinary. I want to get the hell out of this storm.
He told me that we’ll never get that again, always encouraging that one… He told me that when you experience this level of pain, you’re never supposed to just sit in your own comfort again.
He told me that when you drive through this type of storm, you’re never supposed to spend a significant amount of time in the ordinary again.
He told me that after escaping chaos, you’re never supposed to spend the rest of your life in the easy calm under the overpass.
He told me that he believes the only reason we will make it through this storm is to help drive other’s through their own.
His only desire in the midst of this storm is to master the road so that he can help others drive through it later. Meanwhile, I’m in the passenger seat praying to God for another overpass, and saying, “This time we’re stopping, damn it.”
They say opposites attract… I just think that in marriage you have to take turns being the strong one.
I’m not sure who is right here. My morality says him. My exhaustion says me. Maybe there is no right or wrong way to drive these kind of roads. You just got to do it.
So here we are at another week where I write and write and I’m not sure if my words, if my blog, has much of a point. Hemingway once said, “There is nothing to writing. All you do is sit down at a typewriter and bleed.”
Sometimes that happens. Sometimes your heart bleeds and you just document it. Sometimes you come to a word document and simply say, “Okay world, what do you need to hear today, and you hope the world replies, and if it doesn’t then you just start writing about what it feels like to drive through a rainstorm.
So returning to the point without a point- I don’t know what we’re supposed to do in these situations, in these storms.
I don’t know if we as Christians, we as people, are called to always drive through the rainstorms, firsts the rainstorms of our own life, and then the rainstorms of someone else’s. I don’t know if it is smarter to wait out the storms under the overpass sometimes, or at least catch your breath.
I don’t know if you even needed to hear this today, or if I just gave you unnecessary road anxiety.
You may or may not be driving through a rainstorm. You may resonate with this or you may scrap this week as, “not one of her bests.”
But if you are driving through a rainstorm, if your world is chaotic, and your senses are overwhelmed, and you really have no clue if you’re going to make it to the next exit, let alone your next destination, you can either hang out under the overpass for a while, or you can blow right on through it.
I just really hope that no matter how long you experience it, this overpass, you can recognize and hold onto that calm that it provides in the midst of a storm.