Sunday, August 11, 2013

Thoughts in the cab of a truck

Two weeks ago yesterday I climbed into the cab of a fourteen foot U-Haul, and as I clumsily positioned myself behind the wheel, the young man assisting me said, "If you're not scared now, you'll be just fine."  I wondered what made him make the comment, but I was too busy inspecting the dashboard and getting the lay of the land to voice the question, which was probably a good thing, since I don't think he needed to know just how uncertain I was about my ability to drive this seemingly huge truck some five hundred plus miles to Nashville on my own.

As I pulled out of the parking lot, the rain, which had been a drizzle, began to come down with much greater intensity.  My friend, Cathy, had given me a ride to pick up the truck ( We had to go all the way to Sharpsburg!) and she promised to follow behind me to make sure I didn't have any problems on the way back to my house.

The cab seemed huge compared to the inside of my little Mazda, and I kept looking at the big side mirrors, afraid they were going to hit something I passed because they seemed to extend out so far from the truck itself.  As I pulled out onto Rt. 28, I said out loud to God and my angels, "Ok, guys, you better help me with this!"

Rt. 28 was, as usual, under construction, and at one point I was in a narrow single lane with the rain pounding down and water splashing up around me, and I was reminded of the log ride at Kennywood where you're going down a narrow shoot and water is spraying up on both sides, and there's nothing you can do to go a different way or get out of it if you needed to.  

As I drove, I found myself looking in the mirror to see if I could see Cathy behind me, just to reassure myself that if I got into trouble there was help available.  Sometimes I could see her and sometimes I couldn't, but she promised she'd be there so I just trusted and kept driving.  I thought to myself that if I could make it through that construction zone - this huge truck with this novice driver at the wheel - that I should be able to navigate the interstates between Pittsburgh and Nashville with little problem. 

A short, uneventful while later, I pulled the truck up on the sidewalk in front of my house, put it in park, jammed on the emergency brake, turned off the ignition and carefully climbed out.  My initial journey was successful and it gave me hope for the longer journey yet to come.

I hired movers to pack the truck, and once they finished, Cathy followed me to her office, where I parked the truck for the night.  I planned an early start in the morning, figuring that what usually took me nine and a half hours in my car would more than likely take me eleven or twelve in the truck.  After taking my car out to the airport ( I flew back to Pittsburgh the following Wednesday to pick up my car and drive it to Nashville.), I spent the night at Cathy's, sleeping sporadically, my mind filled with thoughts of the drive.

I pulled out of the parking lot about 7 am, waving goodbye to Cathy and trying to get comfortable behind the wheel.  For about the first 90 minutes or so, I was nervous.  The steering wheel was bigger than my car's, the cab was huge and the passenger side was packed as full as I could pack it and still see the mirrors, and the mirrors were screwed in place and I couldn't change their position, so the view I was seeing in them was different from what I was used to, and what I wanted, which made me more uncomfortable.  I kept wanting to judge the position of the truck on the road by the side mirrors, rather than through the windshield, still concerned each time someone passed me that those big extended mirrors were going to hit whatever was passing by.   The problem was that by focusing on the mirrors instead of what was in front of me, I kept swerving from side to side thinking I needed to do so to avoid hitting something, and because I was concentrating on that,  my speed was erratic.  At one point I looked at the speedometer and I was only going forty, and another time I was doing almost 70! (Sitting up high like that you don't realize sometimes just how fast you're going.  I missed my cruise control!)  But finally I got the hang of things, settled down, and began to enjoy the drive.

It's amazing how much more I could see sitting in the cab of that truck than was visible to me doing that same drive in my little Mazda!  The  herons that I saw when I did that drive several weeks before had seemed such a miracle to me, mainly because herons are usually spotted around water, and from what I could see, there was no water! Hah! What a difference when I was seeing things from a greater perspective!  There were bodies of water everywhere: lakes, ponds, rivers.  I just hadn't been able to see them because I was sitting too low.

Previously when I'd driven south, I could see miles and miles of cornfields, but during that drive I could even see the farmhouses at the edges of those fields. I'd never seen those before; never even been aware they were there!  From up high I could see several different layers of vegetation along the edge of the highway where previously I'd seen only what was at the very edge!  I could look down into the cars going past and see the bodies of the people inside, instead of just their heads and shoulders.  And even though I wasn't nearly as high as the eighteen wheelers, I was high enough to see the faces of the drivers instead of just their hands on the steering wheels, which was all I could see from the driver's seat in my car.  I was surprised at how many women where driving those big trucks!  The things you see when you're looking from a higher perspective!  Who knew?

I couldn't help thinking as I was driving (when I got more relaxed and wasn't so intensely focused on every little motion of the truck) that my driving experience was a lot like our spiritual journeys and our relationships with the Divine.  As we begin to engage with Spirit, we are often nervous, uncertain, uncomfortable in the bigger realm that the Divine represents.  It's hard to relax and let go.  We are caught up in wanting to be in control, in watching each and every little move, afraid that a single misstep will take us off course or cause us to crash.  We often miss the bigger picture because we're focused on the details. But as we come to know Spirit, to experience a higher vibration and become more accustomed to it, we are able to relax a bit and look at things from a different, broader perspective, and from that perspective, we see things we've never seen before, perhaps things we never knew existed.  Our eyes are opened in a new way, and the new revelations that we're privy to, often amaze us, and sometimes befuddle us.  And the higher we go, just like those drivers of the eighteen wheelers who were sitting higher than me and could see even more than I could see, the more those higher vibrations allow us to 'see', the more they allow us to know, and our lives are never the same. 

Just like I realized when I drove that same drive later that week, this time once again in my car, that even though I could no longer see the rivers and lakes and ponds, even though it appeared there were no farm houses on the edges of the fields, and I could see only one layer of vegetation at the side of the road, even though I couldn't see down into the cars or see the faces of the drivers of the big rigs, because I'd had the experience before, because I knew what was out there, that drive in my little car would never be the same again! 

I was always going to have a greater perception, a deeper knowing.  I couldn't not have.  Of course there will be times when I make that drive that I won't think about the things I cannot see, but now that the knowingness is within me, there is no way that I can lose it completely.  And that's just how it is with our relationships with Spirit as we travel our paths.  Once we've experienced those higher vibrations, once we've experienced Spirit at work in our lives, we will always have the awareness of that experience, that connection, somewhere down deep inside of us, even when our egos cause our vibrations to lower and we begin to question or doubt, or worry.  Even then, somewhere within us, we know there is more, and our journeys, and our relationship with God, will forever be changed because of that knowing.