The truck feels heavy. The trailer we carry has quite the drag. We three road wanderers packed ourselves in and made the best use of space on the way down to Texas. But it's the journey home, with my belongings, that has us knees to our chins and stuck in-between our backpacks and water bottles.
I have a lot of stuff. I know this just from the passenger seat. Each small uphill slope feels daunting, and he pats the dash and says, "You can do it," checking the mirrors for the traffic speeding up behind us. "I haven't named her yet," he says, referring to the blue Toyota that has now been a secondary home to us for the past five days.
"You haven't?" I pause, nodding in agreement. "You should. I like naming my cars." And the conversation sprouts another random rabbit trail, a normal thing at this point in our travels.
The road is long and the night is black. Trees turn into looming giants, fog sweeps under our tires with a ghostlike swirl and truck lights become faces and taunt us from behind. The hum of the road is a quiet reminder that we are in fact moving along the highway, headed somewhere. All this journeying is taking us from there to here, and wherever here is, we're not staying for long. Long enough for the driver to read a sign, one of us to laugh, and the pavement bumps to fall back into the pitch.
I'm reading a book out loud and it seems like the most perfect book to read. We hear about those who traveled roads, some roads we have even traveled already. There is some kind of sweet camaraderie in hearing their tales. As the second night rolls us along, one sleeps, one drives, and I'm here with my legs underneath me, my voice cracking and drying as the words fill the silent space. We have traded seats, traded chapters, traded thoughts and now we share the quiet and someone else's stories.
It seems the in-between is always packed with more than I can extract at the time. The in-between, the here to there, is always more poignant after the fact than in the middle.
I feel held in this space. In where God becomes both the comforter and instigator. Where I feel Him calling me out and placing me in. Cutting strings and binding old ones. I feel the drag of all my things in the trailer behind us, and a part of my independence longs to let it all go. Something in me wants to detach, become some sort of altruistic vagrant, see all of the world and live in it. The other part of me knows that rich, Christ-like character is built and lessons are worked out when I don't cut, don't shut down, and stand shoulder to shoulder with friends in 100 degree garages, sweating and complaining, allowing people to get in the grit with me. Or rather, getting in the grit with them.
I tell him, "I kind of just want to sell everything I have and live life on the road, in an airstream or something." He lifts his eyes off the road to look at the trailer swinging behind us, my said belongings piled under a blue tarp, and then looks back at me and smirks. I know what he's thinking. The same thing I'm thinking. Then why all of this? I look at the yellow lampshade bouncing and say, "But then, I think, it's just not that season of life for me."
It's the moving forward kind of time.
It's a wheels to the ground, buckle-up, let the road pass beneath your feet time.
It's not when I skip town, blow it all off and do my own thing.
There are people to see, a city to discover, a place to call home.
I try to explain the way I view life, and sometimes I feel like I am going to make others roll their eyes with my ever-changing goals, hopes, and ideas. In fact, I know I've made others roll their eyes. I've seen it. I've felt it in words and silence. It's a good thing I'm enjoying this whole thing of discovering God's giant mystery, or else I might let the people-pleasing thing in me persuade me to do otherwise. Not go. Not chase. Not dream. Not be me.
(I wonder when this wrestle will stop. Will I one day be able to make decisions and say things outloud and not have the questions and eye-rolling bruise my heart? Does that ever change?)
Maybe, maybe I'm just always in the in-between. One day, I'll tell you I want a huge family and a house in the mountains. The next day, I'll say I'm content with just Madeleine and soon I'll take her to travel the world with me. One day I want to be a graphic designer. The next day I want to farm. The next I'm wondering if I could settle down and write something worth reading in more than 1,000 words. It all is about as random as each conversation that happens at 3 a.m. on state border lines. I feel about as steady in my life as I do about us on the highway.
It all looks the same, but something is always changing.
Like these road signs, like the stars sparkling outside, the semis speeding past, we are in the in-between and there is no life to live but the one that is in our hands.
Leaving Texas propelled me out of one place, Rochester waits for the next.
No where in this part of the story am I scheduled to do otherwise. Nothing other than the in-between where life is richly happening and stories are told of other in-betweens. Life is good, and a constant adventure. I am traveling along, with, inside of this great story and one day, I will sit on the other side and tell stories about "this one time I took a roadtrip" and the in-between becomes something.