This morning I leave on my journey. I’m reminded of the first road trip I took with my family to Florida the summer after second grade. In typical ‘Daddy fashion,’ we left around 2:00 a.m. because he liked to drive when it was quiet and cool– since our two-tone-blue ’58 Chevrolet didn’t have air conditioning. We took Highway #1 South to Marathon Key where Daddy’s sister and her husband lived. Leaving in the dark of night added a layer of mystery to our adventure and made that drowsy daze almost feel like a dream.
As an eight-year-old, the drive seemed to take forever. When we crossed the bridges to the Keys, I was amazed at the expanse of blue-green water, which may be why turquoise is my favorite color. During our stay with my aunt, they took us out to eat at a Howard Johnson’s restaurant. It was a big deal at that time because there were few restaurants in our town. After that trip, anytime I saw that orange-roofed-restaurant I felt happy with its cheerful colors reminding me of that first big trip.
I won’t go as far as the Keys on my trip and I’m not that eight-year-old that had never been to a place so different from North Carolina. I wonder how my eyes will see in a new way, On our drive to Florida when I was eight, we spent one night on the road before reaching Marathon the second day. I’ll stay my first night in Charleston, South Carolina with my son and his wife. It’ll be our last visit before they have their first child. How will I see them now versus the next time when we go for our grandson’s birth?
The following day I’ll take off early and head south for the Gulf coast of Florida to visit my cousin. My last time there was when I was eighteen, a road trip before college with my immediate family. Now I’ll visit my cousin who’s older than me and knows a lot about Daddy’s family. How will I experience the people and places in my path on my way there? What will I discover about my cousin and what will I discover about myself?
While the first few days of this journey will be staying with family, I’ll have the same intention as I have for all pilgrimages, praying each day for God to bless me and the ‘people in my path.’ After I leave the Gulf area, I’ll travel to the Atlantic side for several days alone. Years ago when I took my pilgrimage to Michigan, I started with visiting my cousin and ended with time by myself. The time alone was a way of pulling in and reflecting on the experience with family but also going beyond to see what God was showing me about my life. Drawing away from everyone to a place that’s distance from home, helps me gain perspective on my life.
It seems this journey is coming at a good time. It’s been a year since I stepped into the new chapter of retirement from school nursing, it’s been almost six months since I started my part-time job as a research nurse, and I’m at a pivotal point in my writing. It’s time for rest, renewal, and listening for God’s voice.
While I didn’t leave at 2:00 in the morning like Daddy would have done, I do take off with the anticipation as if in the dark of night, looking for light on the road, expectant about what I’ll discover in Florida.
How About You?
Where would you like to go on a Road Trip?
What would you be seeking to discover?