Monday, April 14, 2008
Road Trip
We traveled toVirginia this past weekend, stayed about 12 hours and headed back home again. I knitted as DH and I chatted. I remembered past car trips, sipping coffee from the Stanley thermos and eating twizzlers while solving all the big problems of life, which included where to go on vacation this year, and how to pay for it, but also deeper stuff - paying for kids' college, who they were dating or if they should, extended family issues, his career, our lives. Those were great drives.

The further south we went the more we saw signs of Spring. Little green leaves were budding out, and the flowering trees were lovely - white bradford pears, pink tulip trees, yellow forsynthia bushes, and something purple I didn't recognize. The green, oh the green of the hillsides coming out of hiding from under all that dull, brown brush. The creeks were rushing along, and baby lambs and calves dotted the pastures. There's nothing quite as cute as an, eventually doomed to be dumb-looking, but for an ever so brief period of time, cute newborn calf. Unless it's two of them. Watching them run and chase after each other while their moms stood and chewed their cuds was like the icing on the cupcake of spring. We rolled down the windows to let in the most delicious smell of wet and dirt and manure all mixed together.

Getting away from home gave us room to breathe, think, feel, beyond the rote 'what's for dinner and where do we have to be tonight?'.

We arrived at our hotel 15 minutes before the banquet began. As we rode up in the elevator to our room, in jeans and t-shirts, carrying our bags, another couple joined us, in dressy clothes. Feeling rushed, we nodded hello but didn't speak. Fifteen minutes later we joined them at their table for dinner, they took a second look at us, then asked, "Didn't we just see you?" After taking a deep breath, it ended up being a nice evening.

As we pulled away the next morning, we passed another couple in the parking lot. It was barely 35 degrees, and the young girl had on a summer dress, with a little jacket, and white strappy shoes. She looked positively giddy, holding onto his arm for all she was worth. As we climbed into our car, we saw their pickup truck. Written on the window, "Have Fun!" and "Just Married!" I smiled to see how happy they were, after their honeymoon night at the same place we'd stayed. They were in a little town of 6,000 people in the middle of nowhere in the toe of Virginia, but clearly on Cloud Nine, at the beginning of a lifetime.

Back on the road, we continued yesterday's chat. What did DH think about painting the house a new color? She's been white for 40 years, maybe it's time for a radical change to khaki? When should we visit Colorado, and are we going to Texas for Thanksgiving again? When you have 16 hours on the road, you can also talk about how to fight the inequities in the world, what can we do, should we do? How do you know when to help, how to help, what is our responsibility - as people, as Christians - to answer some of the problems of the world we see all around us? What about the homeless, the horribly needy, not only in the world, but right here in our country? How does the little bit we do help, make a difference, when there are so many? What about this upcoming election - will we 'go to hell in a handbasket' if our party isn't elected? We've survived some pretty pitiful past leaders, and what about that verse that he 'turns the hearts of kings'? Does God concern himself with who's elected president of the United States for a brief four year period of history, when there's so much going on in the world at large?

Are we on track to retire, what are we not considering, what have we forgotten? How do we know if we're set - not only financially, but emotionally, spiritually, physically? Are we ready for this huge change that's getting closer all the time? Will we blossom together or drive each other nuts?

It's surprising to me how easy it is to live as ships passing in the night much of the time. We share meals, a home, a life, but it's not often we really, really talk. Its' been too long since we took a road trip together, where those conversations are as rich and full-bodied as the piping hot coffee we stopped for along the way. Maybe more marriages would stay together, stay strong and alive and really be the stuff those dreams of that young girl, fresh from her wedding night, are made of, if we all just took a road trip now and then.

Driving down the road, inside that car, I was reminded of the privilege of having someone sitting next to me who's traveling with me thru this life, headed the same direction, and wanting our life to be at least as rich as that quick-stop coffee is. Even if we don't have all the answers, at least we're asking the questions, together.


  posted at 9:30 PM

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    Girl Raised in the South

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