Monday, September 12, 2011

Putting the Destination Back in Drive

Oh, the Matron woke up with a dark cloud around her. Not just dark -- a really menacing swirl of steel gray, accentuated by swirls of angry red.

You see, she woke with road rage, without even entering the road. Indeed, she was still in her very fine soft king-size bed, replete with down comforter and pillow, yet she managed to HURL herself instantly onto the very freeway she resented.

For this is one of many weeks of the road. Three kids and only one can take a bus to school. The other two must be driven, with conveniently incompatible end-times, meaning kicking around forty minutes a day with Merrick (let's just say the Matron has plans to only do errands during that time). Since all the school start times stagger and the one bus that does arrive does so at the CRACK of dawn, the Matron will be up from 5:15 am until the last one is dropped off at school at 8:30 am. Then, HWCBN is still the master of debate, requiring transportation three days a week instead of the bus home and Scarlett has daily rehearsals from 4:30 to 6:30 and this week, is taping a commercial, which not only means driving but interminable amounts of waiting around with people who are justifiably wary of the parents on the set, and therefore exercise self-protection against eye contact.

Oh, and then there's the drive to work, the orthodontist, the errands, the playdates for Merrick and you get the drill. Her life is probably like yours: the minivan is actually a complete home, with food, blankets, jackets, wipes and water.

But something strange happened to the Matron while she scowled at the ceiling of her bedroom. She suddenly remembered a lovely essay she'd been reading last night, a bit of wisdom inspired by William James and others of the theological elk. The kernel of wisdom from the essay bit into the center of the cloud (drat, she hates it when that happens) and in a heartbeat, there was a cool gray mist, clearing, instead of the iron gray.

Fellow travelers on those roads with children -- soccer practice, violin, gymnastics, college, dentist, grocery store -- she knows you want that nugget of wisdom!

The essay posited (see how she uses words like 'posited in blog posts? her dissertation adviser would either be proud of horrified) that spiritual conversions require but a single element: that the destination of one's life and the pathways there -- windy, non-linear roads -- are fueled and defined by what's sacred. To you. So if art is sacred, spirit or God or creativity, that your destination in life is fueled and defined by art, and what you do in your day-to-day life feeds into that, reflects and is steeped in respect for, pursuit of, joy in, art. Even if this means whistling Dixie while you do the dishes . . . well, you sometimes have to look for the sacred. If you're living the life toward your destination, organically, the sacred is already there.

The Matron isn't entirely sure how she would define sacred for herself: the destination and its pathways. But she has a vague, visceral understanding that there is something divine in all of us and that divinity manifests itself in unknowable, unimaginable ways -- and this is something sacred. So is art. Justice and its unwavering pursuit, too.

But while art felt elusive on I-94 (and 494W, 35w South, 494 E, Highway 5, Shepherd Road and 280, all of which felt the weight of her wheels today), divinity sat in the back seat with Lays potato chips and a root beer. And sometimes even smiled back at her and asked what was for dinner and did it look like rain?

Ah, that cloud. Pink now and steady, a heartbeat.


Anonymous said...

I love it when you posit stuff.
I had a similar thought while racing through homework, karate car pool, PTA meeting, Scouts and soccer practice--my busyness is my own doing. How blessed am I that what makes my life a crazy mess are sports and activities and not job hunting or waiting for a bus or doctor's appointments.

unmitigated me said...

I am now positing a theological elk. Protestant, most likely. An Episcopalian Elk?

Anonymous said...

Thank you for your beautiful analogies. I am now smiling.

Anonymous said...

I was going to comment on theological elks also, but unmitigated beat me to it. I'm imagining what one looks like, with perhaps one of those bishop headresses on its head.
I love the mist clearing visual on this post. I was about to write a post about driving kids around, but nothing so thankful or thoughful.