Saturday, May 17, 2008

Cruise Control

Life is one big car ride. The trip starts with riding away your youth in your parents' car. Then, one day you learn to drive, but in mom and dad's vehicle. After a while you buy your first car and you're finally driving yourself. You are the one behind the wheel. You are making the decisions. You feel a sense of freedom previously unknown.

In time, you pick up a passenger. Someone who wants to sit permanently in the bucket seat next to you. The two of you drive around everyday, best friends. Sometimes you drive calm and relaxed. Other times you might experience a little road rage. Sometimes you and your passenger do silly things as you zoom around. Other times, even though your bucket seat is filled, you feel like you're driving alone. You are both looking out opposite windows... one seeing mountains, the other a desert. And yet another day finds you holding hands looking at the same beautiful scenery and enjoying the fact that you are together.

You come to a point where you pick up a few more riders for your car. They are young and sweet, pliable and soft, molding to the ways they watch you drive. They yell at cars like they've seen you do, or they tell you to pull over and change a strangers tire like the example you shown. Everything you do, they do as well. They ask innumerable questions all along the drive, and the driving becomes a little more stressful and joyous all at the same time. The noise level increases with giggles and screams. But, your bucket seat passenger is with you, and you take turns driving and quieting the screams or smiling at the giggles.

There are times where you are just running errands all day. Going from one place to another and then, perhaps, back to the place you started from. Sometimes you don't plan your route well and frustration looms in your side view mirrors.

Other times you fly with intention to a destination, pushing the accelerator as much as your car will allow. Your heart races with the pursuit of purpose. You get lost in the wind licking your face. You see the scenery whipping by your periphery. In your haste, you forget to check the fuel gauge, and before you know it the car is sputtering and you are coasting to a dead stop. You smack the steering wheel and cry at the lost time. Then, someone with a kind heart will stop and help you get your tank filled again. You marvel at the generous hearts of strangers and loved ones alike. Hopefully, you learn your lesson, check that fuel gauge, slow down and pull off to fill up at your favorite fueling station when you're low on fuel.

There are also those times that you just put it on cruise control. No accelerating, no passing, no feeling. Just cruising with your foot off the gas. You just zone out and steer.

Sometimes when you have to get your oil changed, fix a flat tire, or replace the alternator. But you know the magic of preventative maintenance and you try your best to keep your car running smooth and free of the need for major repairs.

And then there are times that you crash. You hope for just the minor ones... a few dings or scratches, but you drive away. No harm done. You hear about the major ones. Crashes where people get hurt. Maybe even die. You pray that they never happen to you or anyone you love.

Despite all this, the road and the scenery change and everyday you can find spots of color that make your heart sing. Yet, in the end, the greatest joys of the drive are the ones riding with you. You and your bucket-seat-best-friend holding hands as you smile at the picture in your rear view mirror... those soft sweet faces of your little passengers and the joy of this moment.


Rachel Chick said...

Clancy, that was beautiful and fantastic! I loved it! I love the way your mind works!!! You are amazing. Thank you for being my friend!

Maria Hart said...

"Life is a highway! I'm gonna drive it, all night long!"
I find myself singing! Great metaphor.

Britta said...

and some times you get pulled over by a cop on the way home from Bk on main late at night! some times someone steals your car while it's warming up late at night on 5th north and sometimes you have to push your car to pop it into gear! other times you get busted for having passengers enjoy the roll bar!

you are a beautiful writer with a beautiful mind and i do so love you! thanks for sharing this beautiful analogy! i hope you're doing well and enjoying the sunshine!

love you!

Kristin said...

You are amazing and that was beautiful! Where do you come up with this stuff... I'm just getting to know you and I'm loving it. Thank you!