She was a quiet and attentive listener, this passenger of mine. She didn’t say much but when she did it was affirming and intuitive. She had a gentle spirit that conveyed complete acceptance of everything I told her which encouraged me to open up more the longer I was with her. I knew that everything I said to her would stay in the car, between us. I knew that she had no preconceived judgments towards me or anyone I spoke of. I knew that with her, on this new journey, I was safe.
I told her a lot about my old road, starting back from as far as I could remember. I discovered that at times in my past, I was driving through the desert and had experienced expanses of mirages brought on by drought and heat and fatigue. I became aware of this as she guided me along parallel paths to my old road. During these times she offered to drive so that I could look out the window and observe my old road as a passenger. This allowed me to focus, reflect, and truly see my previous path and landscape for what it was; for its beauty; its pain; its truth. We stayed parallel to my old road for many miles covering years of my past.
We went through new territory together, as she had never been on this exact road either. But going through it together made it possible for me to continue on. There were unexpected potholes along the way… big ones. Potholes like exploding punches to the stomach that caused me to pull over to the nearest pit-stop so that I could simply regain breath. I was always able to resume my course, sensing within myself that I was growing…changing. Encouraged by feeling the pain, rather than the numbness I so often felt on my old road.
With each new pothole, I found myself relating to a pothole from my old road. With each passing mile I found myself reconciling with the pains and hurts from the past. Eventually, to my surprise, I found myself beginning to enjoy the new road. I found an unexpected peace in the unknown and a new excitement in forging ahead. I was actively creating a new way for myself, rather than coasting along on cruise control on my old, too familiar road.
We finally came across a sign stating that a major intersection was ahead in two miles. Feeling confident and proud, I looked over at my passenger and saw that she was smiling back at me. As we approached the intersection I was at last able to see the sign with the name of this new road I had been traveling on. It read The Road to Personal Discovery. There also, alongside the new sign, was the exit to my old road. I stopped just before the intersection and with a final nod of encouragement and confirmation, my passenger silently slipped out her door. I knew that if I ever needed her, I could find her right at that exact spot. This final choice of what road to take was mine to make, and mine alone.
I looked down at the map that was placed where my passenger just sat. This new road indeed wasn’t on the map, but I made the decision to pioneer ahead on this path that I once mistakenly found myself on. This time was different. I was conscious of my choice. I was alive in spirit and embracing my life for what it had been and for all that I knew it would become.