On sometimes sitting in a parked car
Sometimes, I sit in my car. Motor off, quiet encircling me, just outside whatever my destination is.
With the door shut, the world is still outside, and I’m insulated from it, if only for a few moments. It’s my pause button, just like the moments when I lay awake in my bed, knowing it is time to arise, to greet the day and be brave again.
For about a year, my life felt a lot like an alkaline lake: stagnant and acidic, burning and going nowhere, with bizarre life forms growing throughout that I would rather pretend don’t exist.
But somewhere in the last year, life carved for itself a damn, and now it is rushing again—through me and over me. In the process, things I’ve carried are getting brushed away, and I’m remembering how to swim.
It’s healing, and hard.
I do not know for sure what or who will be stripped away next and what will remain.
So sometimes, I sit in my car. Breathing. Reminding myself I am enough for today, and I can live it well. Remembering there is grace when I haven’t lived this day well at all.
Most days, I catch myself thinking, “Won’t it be great when this season of change is over. And I have something constant again.” We all tend to long for what isn’t. I think it’s part of how we are broken.
I’ve heard people talk about your twenties being when you find yourself…I suppose that is accurate. For me, my twenties have been about one rather simple truth:
“Life is not about what you thought.”
I’ve seen it across the board: for those of us whose post-college life followed all of the expected turns and for those of us who lost our roadmap and are now making it up as we go. It’s true for the rule keepers who have seen our formulas fail, and it’s true for the rebels who are worried that somehow we have sold out.
Life doesn’t work the way we were taught it would: with clear progressions and graded feedback, an obvious job path and a solid sense of what family should be. It doesn’t always feel like the world is getting better. We don’t find ourselves continually confident we are loving one another in the ways we’ve been loved by God.
Sometimes that is what I think about in my parked car. And I wish this were all easier.
Then sometimes, on the best days, I sit in my car and I remember that I am right in the middle of getting to live in ways that matter. Other people exist. This world I live in is not for or about me. And I have what it takes to love who is here right now.
Sometimes, I breathe out, open my car door, and brave on.