Linger at the Edge . . . Or Let Go
“Nice rig!” a guy said through his truck window. We sat side by side at a red light in a quaint small town. Red brick buildings lined the main drag, bright-colored flower baskets hung from light posts, and the scent of yeasty bread browning wafted through my open windows. The guy looked to be in his mid to upper 30s. He was in a silver truck in the left lane; I was in the right, with my home on wheels in tow.
“Thank you,” I said with a nod and a smile as I muted the mellow folk music on my radio.
“How long have you had it?”
“Since 2017.” I checked the traffic light, still red. “It’s home.”
“Home, wow!” He smiled with his whole face, twisted his torso toward me, and leaned over his center console. “Are you headed to Davidson?”
“No . . .” I said a bit shyly with a shake of my head. I had no idea what or where “Davidson” was. I was pretty sure this was North Carolina, although oblivious to what town we were in.
“Where are you headed then?”
I felt my mouth curl up in a smile. “North.”
“North . . .” he said softer and his expression conveyed the rest. His head tilted a smidge to the side. He smiled a half smile and pressed his lips together. It was as if he were lingering at the edge of something. In his expression, I felt a longing to be free of the handcuffs he had on himself, the doubt if he could do what he really wanted, and a twinkle of wonder about what it might be like to let go of what he thought he was bound by. The way his eyebrows tilted up in the middle seemed to say that the tickle of his soul had been nudging him to head towards his own “north,” but he didn’t know if he could.
We were still looking at each other, the rumble of idling engines filling the space between us, when I noticed the car on the southbound side of the road rolling through the intersection. The guy and I exchanged smiles and we both let off the brake and eased north.
My rig’s 0–60mph speed is quite slow, so for a few minutes, I watched his silver truck shrink as it traveled and up and down rolling hills until the road was just yellow lines on gray asphalt as far as I could see.
I’d like to think that our moment at the intersection sparked something in him. His genuineness and presence touched me. I felt so cared for and I wish that red light would have lasted an afternoon longer. I wanted to know about him and his dreams. I wanted to say thank you for being, attentive, warm, and thoughtful. I also wanted to let him know that I know how it feels to think, “I can’t do what I really want to . . .” and how scary it is to take that leap, to walk away from a really nice life and into the unknown. I wanted to share with him that my journey has been so, so, sooo difficult at times, but oh so worth it, to confess to him that I am living a life more incredible than my wildest dreams, and that just three days before our traffic light chat, I bawled my eyes out until my voice went raspy because I missed my family . . . and I still wouldn’t change a thing. More than anything, I wish I could whisper in his ear right now: Do it! Whatever it is you are wishing and wondering about, go do that. Give yourself that gift, give us all that gift.
“Ask not what the world needs; ask yourself what makes you come alive. And then go and do that. Because what the world needs is people who have come alive.” – Howard Thurman
I wrote this piece in May, a couple days after the red light chat, while I sat creek-side next to a roaring waterfall in the Appalachian Mountains just south of the Virginia/Tennessee border. There was no cell service, no power, no nothing but forests bursting with lush, bright, spring-green leaves, wildlife, and cool mountain breezes.
My Writing Spot
The creek-side paradise wasn’t a planned stop. I pulled into a tiny national forest boondocking area and I found myself in a little community of fellow travelers that felt like family. For four nights, I sat around campfires and chatted about life with the most interesting people. One night, I met a singer/songwriter, Mike, whose songs gave me goosebumps. He gave me a CD of his music and we laughed about how it’s so difficult to find a CD player nowadays.
The next morning, around 8 a.m., there was a knock at my door. Mike stood there, fishing pole in one hand, two rainbow trout in the other. He said he was heading home and handed me the trout, cleaned and ready, then wished me well on my travels. I hadn’t had breakfast yet, so I cooked them right up and 15 minutes after the knock at my door, I sat with my forearms resting on a dew-soaked picnic table, enjoying a two-trout breakfast while the creek babbled and birds chirped.
Two Trout Breakfast
This was my north for a few days, until I wandered north some more. Side note: I cannot wait to share how far north I traveled, and what I found beyond the end of the road!
As I was sitting next to the guy at the small town intersection, I couldn’t have imagined any of this. Life has a funny way of blowing the doors off what I think is possible when I’m open to anything.
My journey isn’t all rainbows and butterflies either. Through all the ups and downs, I’ve realized that feeling insecure is a completely normal experience. Trying to change my thinking or perspective, or trying to fit in, or trying to avoid or get rid of uncomfortable emotions is not the answer. The true remedy for letting go of suffering requires no effort.
I’m not sharing this story because I think the guy in the silver truck wants to live a wandering life like me. No, not at all. I have no clue what ideas and dreams pull on his heartstrings. Everyone has their own tickles, their own “north.” What I wish for him is the same thing I wish for everyone: look for truth. Listen to your nudges and explore that inkling in the back of your mind. Don’t put so-called experts on pedestals. Look for yourself; have experiences that stretch beyond societal norms. Instead of looking to improve life, look for the feeling of truth. The point isn’t to arrive at any specific truth, just at the ones that rise from inside, from our own reflection and experience. Be curious, interested, and open.
A step will appear, then another, and then . . . with eyes and heart wide open, wonder and awe flood in.
Home for Four Days- The Creek is Just Through the Trees
My next small group exploration begins on September 11th: We inquire together with no expectation to ‘get something’. Yet, it is guaranteed you will get something… and your experience of life will shift as we dabble in the unknown with curiosity and wonder. We meet weekly live on zoom. The group usually sells out well before the start. For more info and to book your spot: Coddiwomple Group Program
Would you like to live at ease and watch your stress melt away? Through one on one mentoring and coaching, you’ll realize more freedom, contentment, confidence, creativity… problems fade and decisions become a breeze. Curious? Your “North” is calling. Send me an email and let’s have a conversation.
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