They said don't go. They said, it's dark and it's late, don't go.
I sit on my parents bed fiddling with the sleeves of my red pull over hoodie trying to figure out how to get around this. "Mom, seriously, the parking lot is lit, the chances are so slim." She steps out of her closet and looks me in the eye, "Kelly, drop all the emotion and think about it objectively. Would any of your friends parents let them drive to the track at night? Just run here." I see her point, but it is still entirely irrelevant to my argument. My dad, buttoning up the American Apparel plaid shirt I recently surprised him with, puts in his two sense. "Seriously Kelly, just run in the neighborhood." At this point I'm standing up, pacing in a fury. "No but you don't understand. I just need to go to the track. I have to go, I just need, I... sometimes I just need to do certain things and I can't explain why." My dad laughs. "Well, you are certainly one of a kind, that's for sure."
It's 56 degrees and I am gone. Now they're at the neighbors' and I took my bike instead. My thin tires swerve across the damp pavement. The rain is salty; the drops land on my cheeks and fall into my mouth as I smile. Leaving the house is weird. I always forget the magic of the roads. But I wouldn't even call it magic. This kind of freedom is not in anyway supernatural or illusionary, it only appears that way because we keep ourselves so distant from it. This is our element and we don't even realize it anymore. Not intentionally, of course. That's just life. That's the modern world.
I hit the woods. The path morphs into the grass and I duck my head low to avoid slicing the branches. The cut through is risky, but so am I. Metal bridge. Steep hill. Then boom, I'm on the main road, under the street lamps. It's almost as if the whole day builds up to this. I always feel like I'm doing one thing as a substitute for something more fitting. Like I am waiting to complete or return to a certain type of existence that fits with who I am. I pretty sure this right here is it. The salty rain and dirt on my face and warm wind make that pretty clear. I lift up my feet and take my hands off the bars. Ready to create a moment? I shout to the sky. Ohh yes.
The thing I like the most about the road is the clarity. It's a step back, a full glance. My life is put into perspective. I think we run into problems by simply waking up, living, and going to sleep. There should be a pivotal point of reflection. A moment that is solely yours, and reserved for more expansive, retrospective thought. Because those are the moments when you find truth. Or better put, where truth finds you.
If it was three weeks ago and things were quiet, I would stay on my bike. I would keep gliding down the glossy pavement to nowhere yet somehow everywhere. But things are not quiet and I am not staying on my bike. I am in my socks on my high school track. Even though they said don't. But how could they understand why I have to be here. I barely do myself. But I do have to be here, and there is danger in not listening to yourself sometimes. Sometimes you have to not listen to others for the sake of protecting your own voice.
I leave my big classic ipod on shuffle as I finish up the last of my spontaneous run. It doesn't feel right to call it a run. Actually, in the car today I described it to my sister Allison and she said it should be called a "jiggle" because I run, dance, skip, and walk. Anyway, my skinny jeans won't stay up and my feet are getting blisters from running shoeless. Maybe this wasn't as effective as I thought it would be. As I'm hitting the last lap, track 17 on my new mix CD titled "The Winter's Got You" comes on. It's a song called, "Let The Waters Rise" by Mikeschair. From what I recall this CD was mainly random indie stuff I had collected lately. Mikeschair? I went with it, and ran off the track onto the football field and starred up at the sky, trying to catch my breath. I stand there, owned by the moment. When the bridge hits I scream along with it.
"God your love is enough. You will pull me through. I'm holding on to you."
Then standing on wet familiar field, I find truth again.
I do love these nights. I crave them for a reason. I love element of escape and thrill, but somehow they aren't enough, and they aren't what I'm really after. They won't carry me through tomorrow or the next day and certainly not eternity. But God will. He is enough, his love is enough, and he will pull me through. Not the nights that I so carefully create out of desperation for some sort of inner liberation.
The salt on my face and the dirt in my eyes makes me smile and feel alive, but God is the one who created smiling and feeling alive. That's what I forget. That's what we all forget. How much greater would it be if you were smiling and feeling alive, because of the realization that he was the one who made these things? And that he loved you, uniquely and distinctly loved YOU? Wouldn't that be better than salt rain and mud? Even better, what about all of it combined?
I swear I underestimate the streets. Sometimes I feel that I really belong out here, searching for things that I'm not sure are to be found. Yet if you step out into the salty rain, and really allow yourself to look and ask and wonder, you will find. Just run on your own two feet and listen to track 17 and be owned by the moment and you'll find. You'll find him. He's there.