It started as a leisurely drive on I-81 in Virginia. This time of year, the scenery can be beautiful, the leaves changing color, creating rainbows along the roadside. It can lull you into a false sense of serenity, until you see twenty pounds of rubber fly over the roof of the van in front of you.
It unfurls at its apex, then balls to increase velocity, like the meteor out of Armageddon. A split second decision. At 65 miles and hour, pinned tight between the weekend traffic, you take the hit. An explosion of sound, the remnants of a truck tire roll up the windshield of the van, clawing it's way down the roof, preparing a surprise attack on the next vehicle in line.
Seventeen hundred dollars later, thank you Geico, our "new" van is as good as new?
Two months ago, our Xterra was totaled in a rear end collision, while we sat at a stoplight. In the last two months, both my boys, Logan and Cole, have had visits to the emergency room, my other car broke down twice. Because we are still trying to sell our house in Lynchburg, I see my family on the weekends. There is more I could say but you get the picture.
The worst is not seeing my family. Not wrestling with my boys. Not holding my wife. Not having the casual conversations over breakfast. Not doing many of the stupid things that families do. Not being there in the midst of a lot of the challenges my wife has faced. What can I say, I am married to an amazingly strong woman, that I love immensely.
It has given me a new perspective on Hell, or the short end of the stick when we get to what comes next. I would not wish the "separation" from family on anyone, but I can not imagine what it would be like living in that kind of separation to the One that gives me hope in the face of all the challenges we face. To me, that separation is more real than any flame filled room, haunted by the goateed man in red spandex.
Wherever you find yourself, whatever closet you still keep hidden, or who you are with, know there is a story being written that is so much more than than the pain, the loneliness, there is hope for a new day. We are not promised an easy life, but I would not trade my journey, my life, for anything.