I used to hate driving with the windows down. I hated how my hair would blow messily in my face and at the end of the car ride, I’d have a nice little rat’s nest to greet whomever I was about to see.
I’ve done a lot of 180’s since my childhood, and now, I love the feeling of the wind dancing with my hair and the cool whoosh of the breeze on my face. Until recently, I thought nothing of it; it didn’t really occur to me until I was driving after my aunt’s Ordination (it seems I did a lot of thinking that day). That day was certainly a day of mixed emotions: joy for my aunt, agony over the Lutheran-Catholic division in my family, mournful over my aunt’s impending move seven hours away, and frustration. The frustration I experience nearly every time we have a family gathering with my dad’s side of the family.
Neither of the sides of my family are perfect. What family is? Needless to say, my dad’s side of the family has it’s share of issues, and now that I’m old enough to comprehend them, they stress me out whenever we’re together. Anyway, as we drove away from my aunt’s Ordination, the breeze whipping through my hair, I noticed how the stress seemed to melt off of me and fly away with the rushing wind. The wind was a physical embodiment of the relief I felt from getting out of a situation that made me feel tense.
I’m one of those people who needs to be moving and shaking. Whenever I have to stay home sick for more than a day, I go stir crazy. I like travel- seeing the world. I like when trivial things change; I mean, I hardly get the same haircut twice anymore. I love the feeling of not being tied down. Of being able to go where I please and do what I want. When I’m cruising down a rural highway with the windows down, it feels like reality, even if it’s only for a little while.
Those are the kind of car rides that are the best for thinking. It’s just you, the breeze, and the open road. This transformation, this 180 of mine, I think is one of the greatest signs of my maturity. I’ve let go of some things, and it’s reflected in my ability to just cruise. My voice teacher used to say that I was afraid to look in the mirror, that I was afraid to be quiet and still because I couldn’t face what I’d find there. He was right. But now, sometimes, that quiet and stillness is just the thing I need. I need to be able to cruise. Because when I do that, I’m at peace. I may be moving, but with the stillness in my heart.
Sunday drives are good for the soul.