Monday, January 30, 2017

Life is Not Tried, and Driving, and other Thoughts on Living

I totaled a car when I was four years old.

I'm a miracle, really... but aren't we all, in one way or another?

It was a hot September day and back then there weren't all these safety rules. Nobody thought about getting sued or getting prosecuted or things going viral on social media or broadcast on the 11 PM News.

Mom had a table to drop off on somebody's back porch, and how long would that take?

So she left me in the backseat, buckled up, I'm sure, with the car running...

And I decided I was hot... so I climbed over the seat and tried to fix the air conditioner... while knocking the car out of gear. It crashed through trees and bounced off rocks and landed on a small landing before plummeting to Quicksand Road below... caught by a tree not much taller than the car.

I don't know if I really remember it. I have images in my mind of me curling up in a ball in the driver's side floor... and remember, the driver's door was open, because Mom was just stepping away for a minute.

I have images in my mind of shaking glass from my hair as I crawled out the busted out back windshield, because the tree had wedged against the driver's door, and also, my glasses were broken so I couldn't see.

I'm not sure if those are memories, or just things I've created in my mind about the wreck... but I do know this. I like to imagine that I had an angel covering me in that floor, the wings spread over me, just like the Bible says, "He will cover you with feathers..."

I wrote all that to get to this point... I am not a good driver. I always say I started driving with a bang, and it never really got better.

And driving in traffic? Well, that is NOT my cup of tea.

But when you're a Mom, you'll do things you didn't think you would.

Like drive to downtown Cincinatti when there is snow forecasted so that your boy can go to a Garth Brooks concert.

Granted, he only knew two Garth Brooks songs, but...

Garth Brooks is one of my favorite all-time artists. I don't actually listen to his music much, but it's stuck in my heart. I grew up on The Dance and Friends in Low Places, can remember belting out The River in high school chorus class, and have ALWAYS physically shifted gears when I hear Papa and Mama... even though I can't drive a standard, much less a big rig.

And part of being a good Mom is passing on traditions to the next generation, right?

So even though Caleb only knew two songs, I wanted him to experience Garth Brooks. At one point in the show last night, Garth was talking about how he was so blessed to get to do what he does. He pointed out a dad in the crowd with a little girl who looked like she was about eight, and said, "He might have come to one of those shows 20  years ago, and now he's bringing his baby. Y'all have let me into your lives."

That got me a little teary-eyed... not because I know Garth on a personal level, but because I understood what he was saying. As I stood there, with my Aunt Nora at one end of our section and Alaxandra standing on the other, I thought of my first Garth Brooks concert, when Al was just a baby and Aunt Nora got a ticket as a "labor day present" so that Jen and I and our friends would have an adult to drive us.

And it made me almost sentimental, because at that time it felt like things came full circle and I thought of how blessed we are to have each other...

not just my family, but the people I come in contact with, who choose to let me be a part of their lives. It's not easy, always... because relationships mean vulnerability and that's hard... but one of my goals this  year was to open up to others. To actually LIVE with others...

So I looked at my manchild laughing with his cousin Al and we belted out Friends in Low Places just like we meant every word, even though I've never had a glass of champagne,  nor have I ever had my sorrows drowned out by the whiskey or beer chasing my blues away...

And I thought of my word of the year- LIVE- and how that means taking a chance and driving when you don't want to...

And then I thought of the chorus of his closing song. "Life is not tried it is merely survived if you're standing outside the fire."

Whether it be relationship or job or trying something new, you're not really living if you're standing outside the fire.

We were made for the abundant life.

We were made to step out of our comfort zone.

We might get burnt, yes...

But that's the chance we have to take.

(Although I still stood just outside the fire when I got back to Jackson, calling Wallace to come get me so I wouldn't have to brave Shoulderblade Hill. Baby steps, people... and my word is LIVE.... not drive over a cliff).

Shew... I've taken you for a ride if you've read this whole thing. Now get out there and live!!!

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