No talking. No music. No phone. No Destination. Do you remember the last time you did it? Set out on the open road with no point to it other than to rediscover the lost sound of QUIET? To let the hum of the engine or the patter of rain melt your thoughts away while watching the trees dance by you or the stars chase you? To lean your palms against the pressing wind, ready to catch the world as it blurs by you?
I never really understood the depth of why Eric has always loved car rides as much as he does. It’s been only over the past few years I’ve come to appreciate just how liberating and therapeutic they can be. I can only imagine what each day is like for him. Not being able to speak or communicate in an effective way. Having to keep all of his emotions, his dreams, his fears.. all to himself. 15 years of internal dialogue. Compounded by incessant noises around him amplified to a degree that causes him to plug his ears, sensory challenges that leave him buzzing like a bee to try to regulate himself. But when we drive.. it all goes away.
While Eric lives in his own world, I believe we all do as well in our own way. To say that anyone actually truly knows you, all of you in every way I would find very hard for many people to say, if anyone at all. In many ways, we all live in our own heads. Wrapped up in our own thoughts and emotions, unable to truly share them with anyone in a way they could fully understand. So what does that make us in comparison? Are we really all that different from Eric? Yes, he cannot speak.. but many of us who can, just don’t. When we drive, all of the pressure goes away. There’s no need for words or understanding. It’s an unspoken agreement to just shut it all off. To let it go and enjoy what God has created all around you and within you.
The most beautiful thing I have come to see in Eric is his innocence. He was diagnosed as having the cognitive ability of a 24 month old, and they expect that to be the case for the rest of his adult life. That’s a hard pill to swallow, right? Well, I ask you for a minute to think about that. He will never understand the terrible things in this world. He will never feel the pressures we do in our society today. HE is ok. The problem is us quite frankly. The world around him can be so cold and so unprepared that that is where the problem lies. I am lucky enough every day to see him live life and giggle through it like a child. He reminds me every single day that stressing is a wasteful emotion. I get a front row seat to see pure bliss and joy each and every time we get in that car and just drive.
It’s ok every once in a while to unplug. Lose your phone. Listen to the quiet. Move without direction. The only place you need to be is present. There is so very much to be thankful for.
I, am a blessed woman.