I’ve had some of my best revelations and inspirations while I was alone in my car.
I was driving home from work one night when I was 17, in an ’87 Ford Thunderbird (the year was actually 2000), and hit the scan button on the dash board hoping to find a good song on the radio. I opened the sunroof and let the windows down to enjoy the South Georgia midnight air. It smelled like earth and peanuts. One of the songs that played through the scan was Hero by Enrique Iglesias. I only heard one line before the scan continued to the next song, and my thoughts were consumed with the weight of those words. “Would you save my soul tonight?”
I’m not a fan of this music. I’m more familiar with Jimmy Fallon’s impersonation to be honest. But those were serious words coming through the speakers, and I couldn’t help thinking about the significance of one’s soul and the task of saving the souls of others. This led to my brain making connections between people and their actions and the needs in my own life, and before I knew it I was taking classes and joining a church I had previously considered overbearing and a little…strange. That church and the family I found in it changed my life, truly.
On a cool autumn afternoon some years after this, alone in the same ’87 Thunderbird with the windows down (the sunroof was permanently open at this point in the car’s life) and the music playing, I knew that I would marry Adam Shepley; even though we had really just started spending time together. I knew that I would spend the rest of my life loving him because it simply felt right. I was on the no choice plan and didn’t care that I had no answers, no control, no idea how this would actually play out. I let those worries slip away with the wind rushing in and out of the windows.
On several occasions I have realized my own faults while driving in the car. Road rage, anyone? I have also practiced improving or eliminating those hurtful or negative behaviors from my routine.
I have decided it was time for forgiveness as I worked through a situation or problem. I’m the crazy lady you think is really into the song she’s singing along with, except I’m passionately talking out loud about serious issues or concerns – to myself.
I have envisioned things wonderful and amazing for my family, exciting futures for those I serve, and even some fun things for myself. The name of this blog and the ideas I wanted to write about just came out of my mouth to the empty passenger seat one morning.
I have been humbled while driving my car. By an awesome storm or bouncing clouds or a monstrous urban skyline in the distance or a tiny thought that found its way through.
For all the reasons we gather in temples, I find myself doing so much of this in other places. And I’m not surprised to prefer this method over larger social gatherings. An introvert and an Aquarius who needs time to process…
My car, like my garden, is not an exclusive place where only worthy individuals may visit or gather to feel the presence of love and all that is life. My car has never been blessed by clergy. It is not a sacred space. It is not holy. It is just a Honda that gets me from point A to point B.
I’m not getting lost in prayer or deep meditation while I’m driving, friends. I’m not chanting or otherwise seriously preoccupied. I’m an attentive driver – I really am. I’m not even doing any of this on purpose. I think my muse lives in the car, so I can’t help having wonderful and amazing inspirations while I’m in there. And the spirit of life finds me in the driver’s seat, because this is the only time I am alone.
If we’re honest about everything, isn’t my Honda a temple – A safe space I can share with God, for loving and worshiping the energy of life?
What if, instead of thinking about our to-do lists or talking on the phone during our daily commutes we spent more of this time saying thank you to the universe for all of our blessings? What if we took half of that time practicing behaviors that would promote us, grow us, heal us, or nourish us? If we can work out our bodies in seven minutes using a mobile app for guidance, certainly we can spend five minutes in tune with our morals.
Even if it’s in a moving car.
Agere Contra, friends