Eight months ago when my car went in for an oil change, something happened with the stereo, and since then the options have been limited, as in, there are none. This has worked for me amiably. I use the inordinate amount of driving time that it takes to go anywhere in the Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex to think or, if I am feeling generous or anxious, pray.
Once, when I was stuck in construction (which is about as usual as not being stuck in construction), I pulled out my car's manual and paged through to see if there was a fix for the stereo situation. My guess is that they write those manuals for engineers and not artists. I stuffed it back in the glove-compartment beside chapstick, mechanic receipts, and (don't tell anybody) thirty dollars in cash that I keep there for emergency gas or toll situations.
The car has always been my thinking place, my best and most descriptive writing has been scribbled out on the backs of receipts and the fronts of anything else available. I see best when I'm in my car, figuratively and literally. I think it's because I'm moving.
I've been feeling discouraged recently, creatively dry, emotionally zapped, and academically stagnate. Nothing challenges me except the sort of challenges that mostly feel frustrating and not exhilarating. I think it's because I'm not moving.
A friend of mine here is the very loyal, very steady, very dependable sort, and she is always cocking an eyebrow at me and asking me if I'm "running away." What she means is, am I getting cold feet, feeling hemmed in, too safe, too comfortable, and too bored. To which I reply, most of the time, in the affirmative.
One of the most oft quoted lines from that set of fantasy penned by CS Lewis is also one of the lines about Aslan that I have recalled since I was seven, "He is not safe, but He is good." And I remember that nearly every time my soul yearns to be outside of what is safe, predictable, normal, and still.
I remember that a life with God is not safe, but it is sure. I remember that this life makes no guarantees about anything, but that we are held and known in the process. And I remember that the gospel prevents us from ever feeling truly comfortable, but always feeling truly kept.
I have to remember that especially when I find myself to be simply standing still in the silence.