Yesterday we were driving down the highway in a rainstorm. I was excitedly chewing my husband’s ear about all my dreams like I’ve done so many times over seventeen years, and… as it usually does… the conversation turned to my heartache.
I turned to quietly gaze out my window at the gray, rainy day and the trees whirring by. My eyes were getting wet.
A motorcycle came up beside my window, then quickly passed in front of us and over and across into the fast lane. He revved the bike as fast as he could and was off like a light.
“What an idiot!” I said.
“He must really have to be somewhere to be driving like that in this,” my husband said.
It got quiet again.
The word “idiot” rolled around in my head. Who was I to judge?
I thought about it.
“Yeah. Maybe someone’s sick and he’s trying to get to them,” I said. “Or, maybe he’s gotta poop!” I giggled.
Knowing life speaks to me every day, and that there are lessons in the ordinary if we listen, I looked out my window and put my ear to the world.
For me, the lessons were this:
When we stop to criticize someone else and their choices, we’re out of your own business. When we’re out of our own business, it’s usually because there’s something too painful to process right now and we think we’ll deal with it later. But, I know all too well, if we don’t deal with our pain, our pain deals with us. It comes out in bitchy comments, mistreatment of others, name-calling, judgment, joking, over-helping, acting as if we have it all together and busyness in order to forget our own problems. Too much of that, and soon we have physical ailments, and even diagnoses of dis-ease.
The motorcycle man also shared his lesson with me about perseverance, determination, and courage. He told me if we want something bad enough, we get there any way we can… which for him, was on a crotch rocket barreling through a rainstorm. Some get there by the skin of their teeth, some much too late to even matter, and sometimes not at all. But, “the choice is theirs to make.” I was reminded.
My gentle, unassuming husband didn’t assign a negative assumption to the man’s actions. And, it dawned on me that the man sitting next to me was sharing a lesson too. This is why he’s usually blissed out happy on any given day. Because he doesn’t assume bad intent and he stays in his own lane. My judgment of the man on the motorcycle took me out the process of dealing with my feelings because it was too painful. Not an excuse in any way, but people from narcissistic abuse backgrounds, no matter how good life gets, seem to be lacking something. We struggle reconciling then with now. We’re all too often missing a family member. Grappling with negative feedback loops. Or we’re just not all that sure we even deserve happiness?
The heartache that misted my eyes were now tears of gratitude. “Thank you. I hear you,” I said to the sky. “And thank you too, for my husband.” I squeezed his hand.
Back at my window, I hoped the man on the motorcycle got to his destination in time and everything was o.k. “I’m sorry for judging you Mr. motorcycle man, I’m still an imperfect work in progress and I falter sometimes,” I said to him in my mind.
I hope that where ever he was going, he was going to feel his life and listen for the answers that usually come when spent in quiet reflection. Sometimes, if we listen hard enough, even while we’re sitting next to someone we’ve too many times disregarded in the way we always do with people who’ve been in our lives for a long time, we may get the chance to stay in our own business, have the determination to explore what the day is saying, and see people closest to us a little louder. May we don our uniforms of courage to drive erratically into the fast lane and disappear into the thick, gray ominous rainstorms of life before it’s too late.
Because hunkering down against the winds of change, sometimes over a screaming engine and a half-empty gas tank, holding on for dear life for the ride of our lives is the only way I know how to go through heartache.
Hopefully, while squeezing onto someone’s hand.