i drove on the freeway tonight. something i have done for a few years now. i commute about an hour everyday to work and mostly everywhere i go is fastest reached by taking it. but i was once scared to drive on it. to some that might sound ridiculous, but those don't know of the fear that use to rule my life. i didn't allow myself to truly live. i sold myself short hundreds of times for the fear of "what if". i grew up sheltered, protected, and had a fear of all things unknown instilled in me from the first day i can remember.
but the freeway changed that all.
as i drove tonight listening to a birthday mix my best friend made me, a movie of my favorite moments started reeling through my mind. i thought of the first time i stayed out all night. we drove up to lake tahoe at midnight and didn't get home til the sun had already reached the top of the sky. i thought about the drive to summer camp with the car stuffed full of fast food and songs from preteen years. i thought of birthday trips and "honk it's the passengers birthday" written on the window next to me. i recalled all these moments and dozens more and thought of how i got to all these places. every adventure brought to me by miles of road running underneath tires and gallons of gas filling the tank.
the freeway took me to places of exploration, adventure, excitement and the unknown---all things my upbringing rejected strongly. i was afraid to drive on that four lane road because
i was afraid of being free.
i was afraid of being free.
others could take me but for me to be behind the wheel was unheard of. i was driving for two years before i ever got on the freeway. one night on the way home from a friends house something inside of me changed. it had been two years to the day since my cousin had passed away and without even thinking my wheels were turning onto the onramp. blood was rushing to and from my head. my right foot on the gas pedal was burning like a fire was underneath it and my heart was thumping inside my chest like a bass drum. but i kept going, kept accelerating, and before i knew it...i was driving on the freeway. i exhaled deeply and started laughing. what on earth was I doing? my dad said i would inevitably die if i took this path, why wasn't i dead yet? and what about this is so scary? for the first time in my seventeen years of life i had felt like i was free. i was no longer a slave to my fear and wasn't allowing my life to be run by the "what if's". shortly after this night i started taking the freeway everywhere and every time to this day i get on it something inside me reminds me of that night. the night i did something for myself. the night i allowed myself to be freed from my fear.
tonight marks four years from that night and six years from the day my beautiful cousin passed away. every year on this day i take a drive to think back on everything and to celebrate her life. i truly feel that she was the reason i got on the freeway that first night. she always believed in me and encouraged me to never give up on my dreams. since that night i have used miles of freeway to take me to places unknown, to see things that make my heart alive, and to cross places and things off my list.
when i get on the freeway every morning on the way to work i see the sun rise and the mountains in the far distance and thank God that i am able to drive on these white lines fearlessly, that i get to dwell in His beauty in undiscovered places, and that i am free.