Cruise Control

Photo Credit: Jack Nobre
Photo Credit: Jack Nobre

The morning sun thrusts long beams through the trees like arms stretching to wake up, evaporating mist from the fields like a yawn.

My hand, gloved to the middle knuckle, rests out the car window while the heater blasts a musty, potato-peelings smell.

I drive without a destination. East on 18, north on 61, west on 19, north on 74. The county roads parallel stretches of muted yellow oak, wind through walls of crimson sumac up to my eyes.

“Oooh, look at that one,” I point out a torched tree amid a company of green.

I made that, he says, and grins.

I feel myself on the edge of photosynthesis. The air is colder, the days are shorter. I want to hold onto the vestige of the sun’s warmth, somehow retain the heat of summer, maintain this greenness.

But change is exacted upon me, like my side of the earth tilting away from the sun as it rotates.

I have been absorbing his light as he puts my heart together, storing his heart until it is time to turn color. I can feel the Spirit stirring with the wind.

I dressed and fixed my hair for work while I cried.

My mom listened to me hiccup and blubber.

If there is a moment in your youth when you cross the threshold of no longer needing your parents, it’s happened. Somehow I missed it. It didn’t announce itself with gusto, but slipped by in the haze of summer.

My roots went deep in those green months, watered with the words of my Father. My leaves grew resistant to worldly winds, strengthened by the wind of the Spirit. My branches burst with the fruit of gardening with Jesus.

Somewhere in those green months, my heart shifted from the teaching of men and turned to the light of the Son.

I feel myself on the edge of photosynthesis.

He’s about to change me to receive people as my companions on this journey, but only look to his instruction for abundant life. It is unexplored territory of love.

I will bring you through this, he promises.

I want a map, all the north and south roads marked, the straightest course to arrive at the destination.

Anything you want to say? I ask, hoping for descriptions of landmarks.

I love you.

I know that. What else?

But he is silent, and suddenly I really am turning crimson. When it comes to driving for hours with no destination, simply for the enjoyment of the ride and the restfulness of his presence, I am satisfied.

When it comes to living, my heart starts looking for the destination. He is patient and kind to slow me down.

I set my cruise control at 45.

I don’t want to miss the drive or any of the changing colors. His love and promise to bring me through are enough right now for all the change to come.

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