As most of you know, I purchased a sweet little something this April, my sleek, middle-aged-crisis style convertible. By that, I mean, it still can hold 4 passengers and a boat load of groceries…it is not a racy convertible. My last blood work shows that it has helped increase my vit D. yippee! I found myself seeking out errands this summer just so I could hop into the car and play a favorite song or two. You cannot drive a car with its top down, windows down, and not smile. And smiling has been shown to boost your immune system. So, therapeutically speaking, this was a good purchase!!!! Oh, boy, am I skilled in rationalization, huh?
Lately, we have been experiencing daily bouts of “scattered showers”. Also, the temperatures are dipping down. My top-down days are numbered. I am squeezing out as many as I can. So, last week, I picked up Maria from school in my sleek little car. Looking west, there were storm clouds. “Put that top up!” a teacher hollered at me. “No way!” I shouted back, grinning. I was headed east, after all. Then, about a tenth of a mile from home, the sky broke open. Maria just looked at me as I grinned and kept on driving. “Really, mom? It’s raining IN the car. Really? Please put the top up!” Ooookkkk….I pulled to the side of the road and put the top up. Later that week the same thing happened as I left the grocery store. This time I could tell I was heading into the storm, but I really didn’t care. My sis in law had told me that if you drive fast enough, the rain simply blows over you. Sweet! The rain fell and I sped up. Oh no, red light! A mild soaking…no matter, I speed up again when the light changes. Sh$t, another red light! Ok, top up….
Makes you think, though. How many times have you been cruising along, enjoying everything and then BAM! the storm hit? Minding your own business, paying your bills, picking up your kids, and BAM you lose your job? Pulling out of Starbucks, latte in hand, and BAM someone backs into you? Living your life, having some fun and BAM you have cancer? It happens to us all. Well, not the cancer or job loss, but something goes BAM. And we have to think about how we’ll handle it. When it rains really hard, I have to get off the expressway because I honestly can’t see. John drives faster so he can get through it more quickly. Hmmm. Maybe this is a personality trait. Some of us want to wait until we can see things more clearly before we proceed. Some of us drive faster to get through it…figuring the rain will just blow over us. Interesting…
I don’t know if one philosophy makes more sense than the other. It seems to be that it is wise to be able to see the road ahead of you. While driving. But, metaphorically, we can never see the road ahead of us. And how wonderful that some have the spirit, the confidence, the resolve, to speed ahead…fully believing that the rain will not soak them. They may get sprayed, but they won’t get soaked through. I am trying to learn this confidence. I am trying to do things and realize that not every movement is related to cancer. I am not dying tomorrow…from cancer, anyway. So, if I drink too many cups of coffee or only walk 2 miles instead of 3, the earth will not quake. But, also, I want to race ahead. To believe there will always be a road in front of me. To move on with confidence through any storm and know that I’ll be okay. At least for today.
And, after you’ve been caught with your top down, not once…but twice, you realize that life is unpredictable. Ok, you knew that. But, how you react in that moment makes all the difference. You may even begin to love the storms. While you’re speeding ahead, though, take time for the people you care most about. Sometimes we race too far too fast. And, for Pete’s sake, and your own sake, take the time to eat real food. You know what I mean. If it comes out of a box, it isn’t real. If you pulled up to a window and had it handed to you, it isn’t real. The Italian in me says slow down and chew your food. Enjoy!