Monday, February 16, 2009

The beginning

The drive itself was releasing. I had all these thoughts of leaving New Orleans on some great musical number—my first CD choice felt really important. But as my distance from the city increased, so did my anxiety, and the music was only mixing in a sour taste. By track 12 I had turned off the noise and began to drive in silence. The sound of the road was the only soundtrack I had (though Louisiana roads aren’t very quiet :) )—I needed to clear my head.
With A LOT of road time ahead (60 some odd hours total over the next two months), I felt panicky that this anxiety would be the norm for my alone time. I felt isolated, and forced into it, and those same uneasy feelings also associated with flying, riding on public transportation, and sitting in tight quarters with strangers crept in… this would never do.

Why do I fear isolation so much? And why does change make me so uneasy?

The changes ahead in my two month road trip are unpredictable. I expect that I’ll have to rely on other people a lot, and with that comes a lot of unknowns. What will my bed be like (my first question of course, because a good night’s sleep is the most important thing)? Will I eat balanced meals? When will we eat dinner? Will it be later? If so, when should I grab lunch? Will the shower be clean? Will I have a safe place to put my toothbrush? These logistical questions continued…

And what about my interactions with people I visit? They are friends, yes, but will I need to feel “on” all the time? Will I get alone time to just be? Will they feel shafted if I do? …Why do their feelings and opinions about this matter so much? Am I projecting unfair assumptions on them?
These thoughts were traffic-jamming my mind as I drove, creating a reaction of acidic anxiety inside me as I got farther and farther away from my controlled, semi-predictable life.

STOP. Just stop: “Do not be anxious for anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace that passes all understanding will guard your minds in Christ Jesus.” [Philippians 4:6]

“What good is worrying about tomorrow when today has enough worry in itself?” [Matthew 6:34]

And there it was. Yes, these anxieties contained valid questions, but really, where was it getting me? And the feelings of isolation in the car were real, but as I’ve learned from dealing with them on planes, buses, and strange public places, I am not truly alone. EVER.

I started fighting for peace, claiming truth for my uneasy mind, and slinging mental rocks at my unproductive worries about the future. Slowly, as I spoke out against the anxiety, it subsided. I was able to turn the music back on and just be. May the road trip begin!

1 comment:

  1. as i was reading, matthew 6 came to mind and then i read that it did for you too! i find that i enjoy silent car time now more than ever, expecially on trips where i'm visiting a lot of people. you need that time to reflect and prepare for the next visit. sounds like you're having a great time so far, can't wait for your stop in dallas!