I didn’t think I’d have to write something like this so soon on the trip, but it’s been quite a test in humility for me… and I must write about it.
Yesterday was day #4 of the trip, and we had more car trouble. Everything about this journey so far has been incredibly awesome, but our car is testing our patience. First the window shattered, then the battery went, and now it’s a series of things that popped up during an oil change. We set aside some money to cover miscellaneous car expenses, but I never thought we’d use most of it by day 4. We have to make this car last at least 7 more months or we’re really going to be testing our ability to adapt to change.
It’s hard for me to write about this… about breaking. I see myself as strong, and I feel a sense of pride because I can usually take anything on. I have the uncanny ability to let things roll off my back and move on. But today I cried. I bawled like a little baby with a tummy ache. I held that in for a really long time, and it boiled over today. I held it when I said good-bye to everyone. I was strong then. I held it when the rock shattered our window. I was strong and positive then, too. Then we got stuck in Illinois for 4 hours on our first day of the road trip with car trouble. I was giggling about it, being strong and joking about it. Strong. Right? Well, I think I was just letting it all store up somewhere… and today I broke. I haven’t cried that hard in a long time.
I was sitting in our rental car. I could feel tears well up in my lower eye lids. My head ached. I looked out the window at the rain and tried to think about anything but the emotion I had building. I thought I was doing a pretty good job avoiding it. I went to the bathroom at the car service center twice, went into a stall and sat down and looked up, letting the tears flow back inside my eyes and took deep breaths. I told myself over and over again, “It’s going to be fine. It’s all going to be okay.” But then sitting in that rental car with Adam, I was no longer able to hold it. The tears welled up so much they fell. I was forced to admit to Adam that it was all I could take, and once I did that I totally broke and bawled my head off. He reached over and just held me and let me cry. I know he understood where I was. It was a very raw moment.
Humility. I needed it, admittedly. I have a lot to learn and a lot to think about. I thought the “finding out who I am” thing would start on the trail, so I was a little surprised this has started so soon. Yesterday I realized I have to let my emotions be there when they’re there. I need to be okay with being scared, or nervous, or frustrated, and I need to let myself break now and then.
While crying my eyes out in that rental car, I said to Adam, “I’ve been ignoring all these signs that this trip isn’t supposed to happen. I’m just being selfish.” But after I settled down, I decided I’d hold out on the hope that it was a test of strength. Adam rolled the truck… I mean, if there’s any sign we should have quit, it would have been then. But we didn’t.
My phone gave me the word of the day yesterday, which was “qualm.” The sample used actually said, “A sudden qualm about the success of this venture.”
Um, okay. That’s strangely appropriate.
And then immediately below that was a bible verse of the day from Philippians 4, which is one of my favorites. “I can do all things through him who gives me strength.”
If I can choose a “sign,” that would be the one to roll with. I might not always feel strong, but I have to remember that God will always give me the strength I need. I feel much better today, but I learned an important lesson from yesterday: Sometimes I just need to cry, and that’s okay.
So… Onward. Tears and all. Today will be a better day.