We took a quick trip last week; an eight-hour drive northwest, scurrying quickly to take care of some family stuff, followed by an eight-hour drive southeast, hustling to get back in time for my Sunday responsibilities. It was a lot of driving sandwiched layered between a lot of scrambling, and we came home exhausted. I slept like a rock the first night, but tonight, here I am – sleepless again- with my brain racing, listing all the things that seem imperative and important.
They are, truth be told: Imperative and Important.
So I got up, and I journaled, and I made a list, and I took literally the notion that we can cast all our cares and I think it worked. Except I opened the computer to order a book that was on the list that I need before Friday and now here I am, writing things…
By the way: I have figured out the secret to my sleepless nights – how to prevent them, that is – but that’s fodder for another post, so I’ll save it. I have discovered that when they do occur, the best remedy is to get up and journal.
Maybe have a glass of water.
Maybe reach over and grab my husband’s hand, or wiggle and worm myself under his arm, or rest my head on his shoulder. All of this I do while desperately trying to avoid waking him, but he always stirs and mumbles something unintelligible.
There’s something symbolic there about marriage, but I’m not sure what it might be… He’s there, and he provides comfort, even if he’s unaware. And mumbling.
When we drove home Saturday we got distracted on the turnpike and missed the exit. I thought, How does this happen? Are you serious? We have driven this road – separately or together – hundreds of times. How do you drive right by Breezewood? What? It turned our eight-hour trip into an 11-hour one; getting off the turnpike is no easy thing. We were nearly to Harrisburg.
We exited and headed south and figured out how we’d make our way back to our original route, forfeiting the GPS notion of south-on-I-95 because we never trust the Beltway traffic. We chose the road less taken: A two-lane country lane meandering through rural farm country; stars on the houses and quilts on the barns. We did a double-take and turned around for the Double Dipper, a family-run ice cream shop with an immaculate parking lot and pristine grounds and a great view of the mountains. Late, we pulled over on a high vista to throw our trash away and take in the view before winding our way down into the next valley.
We stopped to take a picture of a porch we liked; we stopped at a sit-down restaurant for dinner instead of something faster. We stopped for gas, after the small grace of glancing down and noticing that the tank was nearly empty.
It was distracted driving, and we were fully engaged in being distracted; and by the time I realized how late it was and how little sleep I’d get before morning, my emotions started churning. Morning would come early, but only for me; he had no obligations.
But I did. And I don’t do well on too little sleep, or maybe I was just jacked up in general – so I started stewing. Eventually I popped the cork and said You know, I’m really frustrated. I have to work in the morning. I’ll get – at best – five hours of sleep, IF I can even sleep, and I feel like we’re just meandering our way home without any thought of everything I have to do tomorrow and all that I need to do tonight when we get home because we’ve been gone and I’m not ready and I just don’t really feel like you took any of that into consideration.
It wasn’t all his fault, not really. We missed the exit because he was in the middle of an important conversation, and I was reading, and we travel together as a team, trusting one another to navigate as necessary. We both blew it. It wasn’t his fault. I did mention that I didn’t want to spend a lot of time eating dinner somewhere, but I didn’t push hard, and so we sat down to have a good meal together. We’re a team; we are partners, and so for me to get frustrated about singular implications for me about where we’d ended up together wasn’t exactly fair.
But he didn’t say so. Instead, he said, I’m really sorry. I wasn’t thinking, and then he did everything he could to see me and serve me and help all throughout the next day. And everything got done, and I survived.
And our partnership thrived, because that’s what grace is, y’all; it fills in the cracks when things don’t go right (because that happens, all the time). And in the end, the broken, filled-in places are bonded tighter than they were before, because that’s how grace brings healing.
And you know what? Three days out, you know what I remember most about that whirlwind trip?
The getting lost, of course. The Double Dipper and the new scenery and the struggle to figure out where we were and how to get back on track. Getting lost, together, and finding our way home. Together.
It was the best part.