more from the road…

My travels always bring me inspirations to write about, whether it is the way a shadow falls across a valley or the simply driving methods of others along the way. This trip was no different. I was driving home after spending time with my brother in Southern California. I left early, missing all of the holiday traffic and making it out of the Los Angeles metropolitan area (from a beach city) in less than 1 ½ hours.

I don’t remember much of the trip. It went by in a blur. I only know that I made it home in 6 hours when it usually takes me 6 ½ to 8 hours, but I don’t think I ever went over 100 mph as I’m known to do on occasion. chuckle Yes, yes, I know, I’m a speed freak. I like the adrenaline rush. Please, no lectures, I’ve heard them all before. Most of the time I don’t even realize I’m going that fast until I’m already up there and then I get busy slowing down. It usually happens when I’m trying to get out of the middle of one of those bunches that the Californians seem to like to drive in. I like the open rode, no one around me. I hate being in the middle of a bunch of cars.

I’m kind of disappointed that I didn’t notice the landscape but, on the other hand, I had time to think about things. I think best when driving, gives me time to sort things out.

I thought of Susie and how she, too, loves to travel. I thought of how much fun we would have traveling and picking out landmarks to share or stories to relate.

I thought of the look on my brother’s face as we sat at lunch the day before and he told me that he thinks I’m beautiful. I burst into tears, there in the restaurant because one of the men that I respect and cherish most in this world thinks I’m beautiful. He also told me to quit living for my mother and start living for myself because it’s my life and not a second chance for her. He is, I think, one of the best friends I could ever ask for in life.

I really feel loved right now. I’m surrounded by love. I’ve never completely felt it in this way and it’s amazing. There is peace in that kind of security. I’m overwhelmed by it, sometimes.

I have amazing friends. I know that they would traverse the world for me if I needed them. I know that they will be there when I’m happy and sad. I don’t speak to them everyday. We don’t need to speak every day to know that we love one another. When we do, though, we are always sure to say, “I love you.” It’s important. I hope that the ones who read this know how much they are treasured, how much they are loved.

I thought of the cork, here, and how people are ridiculed when they come online and express their newfound loves to the rest of us. I wonder whom we are to judge them. Perhaps they love easily. I know I do. Perhaps they love with a carefree that we wish we had. Maybe we have become jaded. Maybe we don’t believe in love that way anymore. And if we don’t, doesn’t that say more about us than them?

I thought of past relationships. I can finally listen to the Dixie Chicks sing “Cowboy Take Me Away” without bursting into tears. Instead, I smile and I remember some really fun times. I also think that song still relates to the person I am, wanting something wild and free growing in a space without tall buildings blocking my view. I can finally go to the Pacific Ocean, drink her in, and not feel like screaming. I can drive past the exit to Lake Havasu City and not feel weak and stupid. I can go to Tempe and not be petrified to enter a certain part of town.

I’ve learned that it’s ok to forgive those who hurt us. And it’s ok to recognize the pain that we may have bestowed upon others and to learn to change that part of us so that we don’t hurt others again. I can forgive and agree to be a friend to an ex. But that doesn’t mean that I have to be his best friend.

I was thinking about the people who’ve said “I love you” to me this week. Wow. I’m so fortunate. It is given without it being expected in return and that’s when it feels the best.

There are things that make me feel giddy, girl-like, and ready to shout from the rooftops. Is that love? Is that being in love? Maybe. Why do I hold back, then? Mostly because I’m afraid of unintentionally hurting others, by being blinded by my own good fortune and joy.

cathelin, wonderful lady that she is, told me to love freely, to let go and let love happen. She even backed it up with a quote from a favorite author:

You know, what are hearts for? Hearts are there to be broken, and I say that because that seems to be just part of what happens with hearts. I mean mine has been broken so many times that I have lost count. But it just seems to be broken open more and more and more, and it just gets bigger. I remember saying to my therapist, “You know, my heart by now feels open like a suitcase. It feels like it has just sort of dropped open…It feels like that.” Instead of that feeling of having a thorn through your heart…you have a sense of openness, as if the wind could blow through it. And that’s the way I’m used to my heart feeling. The feeling of the heart being so open that the wind blows through it. I think that’s the way it’s supposed to feel when you’re in balance…”

–Alice Walker

I’d like to think that’s what my journey is about opening my heart wider and wider, loving more and more as each heartache fades into a memory, leaving me only with the joy of having loved.

I do love…deeply, passionately, and hard. I love to the bottom of my being and all points along the road.

And maybe soon, I’ll share a newfound love, marking yet another milestone as I continue my journey.

I climbed the hills and descended into a valley, and across the way, I saw my snow-covered mountain peaks welcoming me home from 150 miles away. I waved hello and smiled as they slowly slid behind another, closer mountain.

I knew I was home.

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