I was left alone in my consciousness and I was struggling severely to maintain it. It was the worst case of sleepy driver I've ever suffered. The long week of late nights and pre-dawn mornings had taken it's tole. My brain was fuzzy and my attitude was dour. Before the trip meter had reached 100 miles I had to stop and refill my coffee cup, get some protein and threw in a diet soda for an extra boost. The kids still asleep I found myself slightly more awake and my mood substantially worsened.
To make matters worse, I found myself behind a U-Haul in the left lane going the speed limit and unwilling to move to the right so I could pass. Each time I punched the gas and tried to pass him on the right I found the right lane blocked. With each unsuccessful pass I became more and more angry until I exploded in a fit of bad behavior. I found an opportunity to pass the truck and I took it. When I left my lane the gap between the U-Haul and the SUV in front of it was small. Almost too small and as I was passing, the SUV in front began to break. I had a choice. Back off and return to the left lane behind the truck, or punch it, jam it, and step on the breaks hoping I didn't get hit. I did the latter.
As I jammed my car in front of the U-Haul then hit my breaks I saw the thing get dangerously close to my rear bumper and I saw the drivers face contort in a fit of rage even the weak dawn light could not hide. So, what did I do? Did I look contrite and apologetic in the rear view mirror and gesture an apology? That would be a no. I began to scream and yell and gesture to the right hand lane saying "THAT'S WHERE YOUR SLOW ASS BELONGS!" and continued on my way smugly in the left hand lane. Now, with 2 kids and a hamster wide awake.
About 2 miles down the road the U-Haul is on my bumper so I decide to take the high ground and show it how the "nice people" behave in the left lane and I moved right. No sooner had I completed the move did I realize the U-Haul was coming back into my lane. It was less than 3 inches from my car and continuing to move over. The girls screamed, the dog barked and I prayed and went off into the shoulder. With white knuckles and shaking like a leaf I return to the right lane behind the U-Haul then proceed to the left with the intent of putting as much distance between me and it as possible but it keeps pace with me on my right.
At this point a normal person would be scared. Me? I was pissed off. The guy in the U-Haul rolled down his window and was screaming at me. I, with my young niece in the front seat, rolled mine down. Through the window poured exactly what you would expect. A string of obscenities until he noticed the child in the front seat. Then he started with the "You have kids in that car! Learn how to drive you idiot!". My response was a simple and universal hand gesture and I roll up the window and pulled away. The U-Haul sped up, cut me off in the left lane and sped away. This was a mere 200 miles into a 764 mile drive.
I was pissed big time until the girls started asking questions that I had to answer honestly. In the process of answering the girls questions my anger ebbed away and was replaced by guilt & gratitude. Guilt over my abhorrent behaviour and gratitude for God's protection and grace. I explained that I had behaved very badly and so did he. While he was wrong to do what he did, it was ultimately my fault.
For the first Hundred miles or so I prayed for forgiveness. I prayed the U-Haul drivers forgiveness as well. Because of what I did to this poor man before the sun even finished rising, I changed the course of his day as well as those he comes in contact with. I am responsible for his anger and who his anger spills over on. The quote Ms. Amy had sent me only the day before came back to me and I began to cry.
quote from “The Weight of Glory” by C.S. Lewis…
“It is a serious thing to live in a society of possible gods and goddesses, to remember that the dullest and most uninteresting person you talk to may one day be a creature which, if you saw it now, you would strongly be tempted to worship, or else a horror and a corruption such as you now meet, if at all, only in a nightmare. All day long we are, in some degree, helping each other to one or other of these destinations. It is in the light of these overwhelming possibilities, it is with the awe and the circumspection proper to them, that we should conduct all our dealings with one another, all friendships, all loves, all play, all politics. There are no ordinary people. You have never talked to a mere mortal.”
I spent 464 miles hoping against hope that I would catch up with the U-Haul and by some twist of fate or God Wink I'd get the chance to apologize. I even had the apology all worked out in my head "I'm so very sorry. You were right. I failed to consider the precious cargo I had in my car and yours. I am so very sorry." I never caught up to him but I did spend the remainder of the very long, very slow, every wet trip home on my absolute best behavior. There was not a nicer, more courteous person on all of I95 from Main to Key West. Of this I had no doubt.
"Lesson learned Lord." I see the footprint and I will follow.
Today I'm grateful for:
lessons learned without a trip to the body shop. For us or the car.
being home. I'm out of practice dealing with chaos. My little slice of paradise is Grade A Peace and Calm. In it is my man waiting patiently while I type up my list to hold my hand. Tonight I will fall asleep without a flea infested hamster and to the lullaby he sings to me each night with his snoring.
God returning me safely home. Despite my attempts to the otherwise.
footprints to follow. Lord please don't ever leave me on my own. You see what kind of trouble I'd get into.
time well spent with my grand children. It was not enough and I was not at my best but I love them and hope that's what they remember about this week.
a weeks worth of amazing photos. Everywhere I turned was an image was ripe for the taking. Thank you Tara for loaning me the camera! It's been amazing! Just wait till you see the 1,112 photos I've taken! Um, I promise not to make you look at them all :)
a thousand more gratitude's I'm simply too tired to type out. God can read them from my heart and you can feel free to assume at will. I'm going to watch BB with my man while holding hands then pass out cold till dawn.