We are on the road as I write, making our way east across the country once again.
This trip is fast-paced. We have a deadline to make.
Justin’s parents are celebrating 50 years of marriage this year and the party’s on Saturday. We can’t wait.
But even though we are racing past mountains and valleys and winding dirt roads we yearn to drive down, there is a sense of peace that settles into my heart when we have a long stretch of highway laid out in front us. The music is on, the land rushes by, and even in these circumstances, it feels as though adventure is just around the bend.
Sometimes Justin and I have long conversations as the miles roll beneath the wheels. We talk about where we’ve been and where we are and where we want to go. We talk about what’s working and what’s not and we iron out a few of the wrinkles that can appear without our noticing under the weight of routine and daily life.
Sometimes we sit in silence, each of us caught in our own secret ponderings, allowing our minds to drift and wander and and knit their frayed edges back together in the shared space of the truck cab.
His folks have been dancing these steps in their own way for 50 years.
Half a century navigating a life shared.
Late nights with newborns and long kisses goodbye at the back door before a second shift at the plant. Spaghetti dinners and in-laws and getting the bills paid on time. Laughing over tv commercials and building on an extra room and making another death-by-chocolate for another family Christmas.
Fifty years of figuring out how to love…themselves, each other, their children, their parents. Fifty years of dreams lived, broken, changed, shared.
This morning we’re crossing South Dakota and there is a feeling of wide space around us, of room to move and stretch. We made coffee on the tailgate in the Walmart parking lot, nearly wordless as we each played roles perfected with practice.
I hope we get four more decades of our very own.
Forty more years to hold hands across the center console and point out the prairie dogs as their heads pop up like a never-ending round of whack-a-mole. Forty more years to fight over forgotten groceries and wrong turns and schedules stretched too tight.
Forty more years of apologies in the dark of a late night bedroom and forgiveness in the pink light of a brand new dawn.
As the road stretches out ahead, I know we’ll soon come to a horizon filled with tall buildings of steel and glass, roads congested with beeping cars and focused pedestrians, and the space of this prairie will take on that dream-like quality that inevitably comes with crossing the landscape at breakneck speed.
I know this because we’ve made this drive before. We’ve danced these steps and sung these songs and leaned into each other as the world pressed in all around us.
We've always managed to find each other's hand, to make our way back to the road, back to the space, back to long conversations and healing silences.
I hope we get four more decades to do just that.
But for however many years we doget, I will do my best to look for the spaces between those tall buildings and in that too tight schedule, to breathe into what room there is and try to expand the air available to us. I’m not always as good at that as I’d like to be, but I’m working on it.
That’s something, isn’t it.