Moments of rest, glimpses of laughter are treasured along the road.
"Cursing the quest, courting disaster, measureless nights forbode."
In Dan Fogelberg's song those two lines are reversed. But I am so taken by the gifts of laughter and rest, I have to use that as the title for this post.
I take risks. I drive through blizzards. I get up when I should stay down. I persevere when I should get the hell out of Dodge. So it may not surprise you that I left on this long trip without all of the necessary funds in place. The proverbial check was in the mail. It really was.
But it wasn't. And it isn't. That was not the motivation for staying with people. The people, these very ones, were the motivation for staying with these people, to learn from them more about the gifts of grace and graciousness. These wonderfully gracious hosts and friends were the point and the impetus for the trip.
I did not, however, have arrangements for every night. I wanted it that way. Indecision is the key to flexibility. A lack of planning creates open space.
Flexibility, I've got it! Open space, open indeed.
This is a good thing and a bad thing. I couldn't live with it all the time. But I'm living with it some of the time and it is reminding me of the power of synchronicity -- of recognizing the magical mystical quality in an unexpected moment, a new friendship, chaos. The power of putting two unpredicted people or qualities or moments together and seeing something totally new, absolutely brand new! come to life and grow.
My life has been changed irrevocably already in these two and a half weeks. And not in the ways I might have anticipated. I have cursed the quest: the empty wallet, the skipped meal, spending the night in a Service Plaza/truck stop and my car. And I have courted disaster: driving in Boston! taking all the roads not taken, normally.
What have I learned? It's more fun if you have the money to play mini-golf, or watch the whales, or sleep in a bed (or sofa) every night. But I've also learned that it is survivable to just sit on the bench and watch the golf, to anticipate whale-watching on the next trip, and to become one with my car.
And most important, I've learned that people are kind. Generous. A guy just gave me three quarters yesterday to park in Harvard Square instead of trading me for my times. I left Nantucket with one mongo cinnamon roll to last for days. Friends missed work, drove across town, complicated their own lives in order to enrich mine.
After experiencing great evil, this is no small thing: to learn that people are kind, more than kind, generous. That people will go far out of their way for you. That even though you learned to not be trusting, there are more trustworthy people in the world that you ever dreamed.
When one encounters great mercy, gutsy generosity, and pure grace, one relaxes, leans into life in a more trusting way, gives away more because more is coming in. And then, it is simply inspiring.
This is an advanced degree program, if you want to put it that way.