Sunday, June 29, 2008

Drive Into the Sunrise

A  few days ago, I left Toccoa, GA on my way to Nashville to hang out with friends.  If you've been following the blog at all, you know that I have spent the past three weeks at the Georgia Baptist Conference Center working as the video director for Go Tell Minstry's summer camp.  It's been a blast, and I have made some significant friendships as well as having an awesome time just being free of the regular melee of daily life.  All in all, it's been a great month following a rough patch wherein I was let go from my job at Teen Mania- but this isn't about that.

About halfway through the trip (which involved getting lost no less than three times, several wrong turns, and scary horror scene like drives along deserted back roads), Abner (my driving buddy) got tired and asked if I could take the wheel for a while.  I, of course obliged and we continued on the road to Nashville.  Now, Abner's car does not have a radio and the iPod we were using suddenly died, so I was left with a sleeping Abner and not much in the way of external stimulation to keep my mind off the whirring sound of rubber against asphalt at 60 miles per hour.  It was strangely soothing, and since we were in no particular rush to make it home, I decided to just lay back and let my mind wander.  I mean, let's face it, I do have a fair amount to think about- my need for a job, a place to live, a plan for my life that God still seems to be holding close, etc.- so thinking right now wouldn't be a bad thing.  But then I started getting tired.

Now, normally, the rules of the guy roadtrip include such foolishness as, "keep driving and shake off the fatigue," or "you need to make it to your destination as quickly as possible."  None of these things were proving true for me, I was beat.  We had just finished three weeks at a summer camp and an all day load out, and my body was telling me it needed a rest.  So, I pulled to a rest stop on the side of the road and obliged it.  What was originally intended to be a 30 minute nap, turned into three hours of blissful sleep nestled between a military vet (as his bumper sticker indicated) and a minivan full of (presumably) sleeping kids.  I think I dreamt about something, though for the life of me I couldn't tell you what...

When I awoke, I had an innate sense of panic, as if I had missed out on something by sleeping for so long, as if the few hours I had spent with no forward motion were somehow going to drastically derail my plans and somehow throw me wildly off course.  But then, I felt as if something just said, "chill."  Nothing had been lost, and I had missed no pivotal event.  Sure, I wouldn't get to Nashville as quickly, but so what, what was there that required my immediate attention right now anyway?  What was so important, save the seeming joy of accomplishment at finishing a road trip in record time, that required me to hightail it across the states to make it to my destination in such a rush?  What was the hurry?

For those of you that know me well, you know that I hate roadtrips.  I hate sitting in cars for endless periods of time and I hate driving and driving and driving and driving get the idea.  But what if my issue with roadtrips has less to do with the driving and more to do with the fact that we are always in a rush to "get" somewhere?  What if the issue really stems from the fact that we miss out on roadside stands and random balls of yarn along the way simply because the rules of the road mandate our expedience?  Why are we in such a hurry?  As I settled into the monotony of the drive a startling fact was made apparent to me, I would be driving into the sunrise.  I would get the opportunity to greet the dawn as it kissed the horizon with images of pink and purple and said hello to this part of the world.  I would be one of the few blessed enough to know what the start of a new day looks like.  While countless others lay slumbering in their beds, unaware of the beauty that lay just beyond their closed eyelids and shuttered houses, I was a part of the morning and was welcoming it into the world.  It was exhilirating.  

As the sun made its gradual ascent over the horizon in front of me, I couldn't help but smile at the fact that I would have missed this had I decided to push through the night.  If I had chosen to drive through the night I would have been like the countless others, safe and sound inside a bed as beauty exploded all around me and I slept blissfully unaware.  And I wondered, how much of my life is like that?  How much of my daily experience is a push for the expedient, a rush to get somewhere instead of drinking in the moments and beauty that surrounds me?  I eat for sustenance, never truly acknowledging the flavors that play across my tastebuds in even the simplest of meals.  I drive by fields so green as if from a painting and never even comment on their beauty, or see an attractive woman and never stop to tell her.  I am in such a rush to get...where?  What in the world am I rushing to do?  I have no job, and no idea what my next one will be.  I have great friends and a God that loves me, but I am more concerned with what's next than I am with what's now.  I am missing out on so much and I don't even realize all that I am missing.  How sad is that irony?  Not only am I missing out, but I am going so fast that I'm not even aware of what I am missing.

So I endeavor to slow down.  I endeavor to see sunrises and sunsets and share moments with people that I love.  I want to taste, not just consume food, and experience beauty in ways I had previously discounted or looked over.  I want to see all that God created and called "good," and understand why.  I want to live life and not just float through it because that's what you do for the time you're upon the earth.  In a few weeks, my grandfather turns 90, and the stories he has to tell are undoubtedly amazing- but I know none of them.  I have never gleaned the wisdom from a man who has seen world wars, the invention of all manner of world altering devices, and the birth of three children and countless grand and great grandchildren.  I have passed all this history by, and for what?  My expedient, but ultimately empty life?  Is this really what I have lived for?  Have I even lived? 


Andy Meadows said...

Great post, Damany, and a good reminder to all of us to slow down and enjoy the world around us.

Be Well,


misshannahmarie said...

Thanks for your sharing your perspective. It helps me.