Driving Home

She rolled the window down and dangled her arm into the still shimmering heat. Her eyes drifted out of focus, the red light allowing her a moment of stillness in the sweltering late summer night. The air conditioned quiet of her car, without the children, had only amplified her loneliness, and she welcomed the noise, diesel fumes and unmuffled exhaust of the teenagers cruising in their muscle cars. Somehow the chaos banked the echoing canyon of her heart.

She had been doing this for so long alone, that she barely noticed it anymore. Or at least that’s what she thought. Isolation had been a part of her life for what felt like decades- isolation from her family, distance from her friends, geographical isolation when her marriage crumbled, emotional isolation as she picked up the shattered pieces and cobbled back together something of a life.  “I am a rock, I am an island…” Paul Simon’s words meander through her brain as the light changes to bright green and she pushes the car into gear.

Moving off the main drag and turning down a backroad, her path is inky black and the humid night hair whips her hair in an untamed halo, catching on her earrings and spilling out the window into the night. She is living on borrowed everything right now- borrowed loans for college, borrowed house until graduation, borrowed light for her soul.

The loneliness inside permeates the layers of her spirit, and reaches towards heaven to her God. Living on memories. Is that borrowed light? She doesn’t know. She only knows she doesn’t know anything now, and she misses feeling close to God, feeling like she was heard and loved. Now, the silence echoes through the same canyon of her heart. Is it borrowed light if you are using your own stockpile? she wonders idly, downshifting at a a deserted crossroads.

How much can one person handle? Her thoughts wander. Platitudes roll through her mind- you get what you can deal with, put your shoulder to the wheel, you must be so strong, God doesn’t give us more than we can handle, I don’t know how you do it, count your blessings name them one by one, you chose this in the preexistence, and on and on the useless words roll. People mean well, she knows, and they don’t realize what they are saying. And the loneliness grows.

How much can she absorb, take in, buffer for those she loves, before she breaks? She is afraid to really ask that question, afraid the answer will terrify her and God will take it as a dare. Rationally, she knows this is crazy, but emotionally, her shoulders shake and she worries her knees are going to buckle any day now. How many times do you get knocked down? How bad can it hurt? How deeply can your heart be cut and have it still go on beating? Why does loving someone, anyone, everyone, hurt so much?

She laughs at herself. What kind of question is that? Silly girl. The smile lingers on her lips.

The night whips by, and the lights of home crest on the hill. Home, at least for now. Even if it is borrowed home, borrowed light, it’s still light, it still glows. It holds her children, and her lifelines, feeble though they may be, and it holds, despite the oppressive heat of the late summer night, hope. There are no answers. But there is that… a gossamer thread of hope.

7 thoughts on “Driving Home

  1. your words are bare emotions….I wish I had the talent to express what I feel…for now I simply breath and try to do the hard things…and like you…one step at a time and try to hold on.

  2. as someone who has been there and felt that, but could not express those words like you did, i thought i’d share something i came to understand as being a single momma… maybe i have to go through this now so that i can bless my child who will go something similar, or a niece or even a grandaughter. my love for them is so great and of course, i would do anything to help them, and maybe the Lord knows this and knows what will be in store for them someday and He knows that by some of my suffering, i will be able to help them. makes me think of what Christ did for me. that thought made life easier to bear, knowing that i could help teach someone i love how to handle it when it was their turn to look to me as an example, how to endure and laugh and still enjoy life, no matter the hand that is dealt.

  3. Your insights are powerful. Thanks for sharing your moments of darkness, as well as your hope.

    You don’t realize how much your feelings of desperation and powerlessness and love and hope help others hold onto their own gossamer threads of hope. (I don’t believe I am overstepping my bounds including others beyond myself in that statement.)

    Much love, Tracy.

  4. Re: “you chose this in the preexistence”

    I strongly suspect we had no idea what we were in for when we were in the pre-existence. I base this on what happened on my mission. Before my mission, people said, “A mission is hard. You have no idea how hard.” And I smiled and nodded. It was a mission. Thousands have gone. How hard can it be? Well, pretty hard, as it turns out. Had I known what I was in for, I doubt I would have gone, which would have been unfortunate since the hard part wasn’t the only part, and I learned a lot, and I’m glad I went.

    I suspect the pre-existence was like that. We saw the plan and we smiled and nodded. Maybe we saw details of what was in store for us specifically, maybe not. Either way, I we probably smiled and nodded and thought how awesome it would be, even if we heard it would be hard. How hard could it be? Ah, how naive we were. Luckily we were naive or we may have opted out, and that would have been unfortunate because the hard part isn’t the only part. But still….

  5. As somebody who has been through craptacular times, but can’t really complain about my right now, I’m feeling guilty. I hope I haven’t added too much to the pile of painfully well-intentioned cliches. I really do think you are being refined into something fiercely beautiful, and I know that the entire process is so painful that there are moments you are just about done-in by it. I wish I knew the best way to shore you up. I hope the recollection of how many people are praying for you takes the tiniest bit of an edge off of your loneliness sometimes. We can’t make up for the holes, but we’re here for you regardless.

  6. I want to sincerely thank each of you for these comments. They honestly help, and I feel such a love and kinship with those of you who comment and leave me loving and supportive words. It helps me, and has helped me for years now, more than I can adequately express.

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