December 20th, 2014
I was told some harsh words by someone who used to mean a great deal to me. It was all super unexpected, and hit me like a freight train. It caught me completely off guard, and ripped open every wound that I held together with scotch tape for the past three years. Never wanting to truly accept the inevitable, never wanting to let go of any control. Shamefully, not even to trust God. I felt I was suffocating, that there was not nearly enough oxygen on the planet that I needed to survive those three seconds of torture.
For many months I felt like I was ripping off the slowest and most painful band aid. Like I’d lose hope completely and rip the band aid halfway. Exposing so much dreadful pain, but still not ripping it off completely. Then I would realize that meant I’d be giving up, and there was no way I was going to do that. I promised I wouldn’t ever do that. So there I would go again, repasting the band aid, half torn and mangled, back on. Each time getting more and more worn and the skin underneath damaged and raw. It was an ongoing battle in my head, my heart, my life. I was so constantly conflicted that I didn’t know what to do with it all but to just let it envelope my entire world.
But those words, those eight words shattered everything I could promise, everything I had hoped to have for what seemed and felt like forever. False hope. I needed to escape. I needed a clean break. I needed something to make it all real and final in my mind, my heart.
So what else does one do in a time of angst but pack a bag and get on the road? So I did it. I left my home at 5:00 pm, and I drove eighteen hours straight to Wilmington, North Carolina. What a crazy idea, what a wild journey, what a rude awakening.
The drive there truly wasn’t the worst. The first few hours passed by fairly quickly. I had a lot on my mind. I had a lot of frustrations and anger about the things that were encompassing my life in the moment. I knew that I sought out clarity, that I truly wanted to know and understand God’s will for my life. How, is the true question and adventure. Once I hit Indiana, things got kind of boring. My family understood finally that I had packed up and left so out of the blue. They panicked, worrying about their baby girl being out in the middle of nowhere completely alone. Little did they realize, that I had the absolute best passenger possible, the Big Guy.
Then things slowly dragged on hour after hour. Pit stops for gas, bathrooms, snack foods, and hugely loud jam sessions to keep me awake. Along with phone calls to my best friend and one individual family member at a time. Each person trying so desperately to understand my cry for help and clear vision in my life. Sadly for them, they had to get in line for any kind of knowledge on what was going on. I claimed that golden ticket long before they hopped on my crazy train.
Finally around noon, I made it to Wilmington. My two purposes of choosing this city were simple. One, I’ve never been to the ocean-sad but true. And two, it was the major filming place of my best friend and my’s favorite tv series, One Tree Hill. Cliche, I know. After grabbing bearings on everything around me, I cleaned myself up, ate something, and adventured. I went around to what felt like a million different important locations from the tv show. Taking pictures to reminisce over with my best friend, trying to get the most out of my mini vacation. Over my six hours in Wilmington, I got hundreds of pictures, beautiful visions, many provocative glares from complete strangers, and too many feelings of discomfort and confusion.
So what else to do when you get overwhelmed and lost in a place you came rushing to for clarity? You’re more than eighteen hours from home, and you lose your mind. I left. I cut my trip two and a half days short and I headed home. I hadn’t slept for two days, and was honestly but insanely going to attempt the grand journey home. Two hours in, I found myself falling asleep behind the wheel. Every last attempt to keep myself awake failed. Saying I was exhausted didn’t begin to put myself into perspective. I was drained, mentally, emotionally, physically, any way I could have felt emptied, I was two folds over. After talking to each of my siblings on the phone for the first two hours, I lost my mind and I pulled over. I started crying on the side of the interstate, as cars flew past me at eighty miles an hour. Shaking my car and my mind even more intensely, putting a physicality on the way my life felt day in and day out. Out of the blue, who should call to save the day but my momma? In a time like that, I don’t think anyone else could have better understood the words I couldn’t even find in myself to cry. From sixteen and a half hours away, my momma lovins took my hand, and calmly got me to a hotel and into bed to unfurl. And that’s exactly what I did.
In room 107 at the Super 8 in Burlington, North Carolina, I finally let it all go. As I laid down, I felt relief. Then I called a friend for comfort, only to find more pain added to the mountain my heart had just been building up for far too long. Hanging up that phone call, I lost it. I let every emotion go, everything I had been pinning up, shoving away, not allowing myself to accept or face or feel. I felt it all. I cried it out to God, and begged Him to give me understanding. I begged for clarity, I begged for the pain to stop, the bitterness, the anger, the hatred I felt in my heart to dissipate. I begged God for the peace I had been longing for and not truly allowing myself to seek for such a great while. I knew that it probably wouldn’t be instantaneous, but I needed God to know that I needed Him. More than ever I was allowing myself to be completely broken down, shattered, and vulnerable. In room 107 at the Super 8 in Burlington, North Carolina, I cried out to God, and I cried myself to sleep.
After almost two days of not sleeping at all, I stayed in hibernation for twelve hours. Finally I woke up and got back on the road. Eagerly awaiting my sixteen hour arrival home to my crazy beautiful life-my loving best friend, my supportive parents, and my own bed. The drive back seemed to take double the time over the trip there. I guess Passenger had it right, you really do only hate the road when you’re missing home..
After sixteen more hours of endless driving, another long set of continuous phone calls, pit stops, and one distracted speeding ticket, I was finally home around midnight. Another exhaustion spell took me over and I became a lightly snoring rock for the next ten hours. I woke once in the middle of my sleep, feeling the familiarity of my momma. Kissing my forehead and telling me that she loved me. There will never be such other comfort found on this earth than something like that. I was home. I was safe. But in no way, was I the same.
Somewhere along the way, something changed in my heart and in my mind. God gives us the desires of our heart. And it wasn’t until within these eight days later, when I am finally able to wrap my mind around everything I’ve experienced, that I understand. God did grant me the desires of my heart. God gave me peace. After three long and dragged out years of hello and goodbye, God allowed me to let it go. It’s not that I’m giving up. It’s not that I’m breaking my promise. It’s that I’m fully and forever putting my trust of it all into the only hands strong enough to grasp it, the Forever King.
God took this spur of the moment decision laid heavily on my heart, and He used it for the best in me. He allowed me to feel the things I wouldn’t let myself fully feel in the fear of breaking down, of disappointing. In finally letting myself lay it all at the alter, I have found the most comfort yet. I have such a burning desire to live the life God has planned for me. I know it’s nothing like anything I could imagine it to be, but so so so much more. I’m grateful that in my time of despair, among all of the day to day moments in my life, God was there. He was my bodyguard, my road trip passenger, my hope, my true destination all along.
One road trip halfway across the country and back.
One wave of reverent peace.
One Almighty God.