I had errands to run. It wasn’t something I wanted to do, but sometimes we have to make ourselves do things whether we want to or not. So, with a few words to my husband about dinner and when to expect me back, I was off. Heading west.
As I approached the on ramp to the freeway, I felt a little nervous. There was a lot of traffic. But there was no turning back, and, like it or not, I was soon in the midst of it.
The past few days had been troubling for me. For starters, it was January. It had been cloudy for days on end and I craved sunshine! Furthermore, news of sickness and death among friends and family seemed endless, and I was depressed. In addition, I wasn’t feeling well physically either. I was suffering my usual bout of post-holidays stomach and intestinal problems. This has occurred every year for many years because I simply don’t have the willpower to avoid the foods that I know will cause problems.
As I drove, I thought about my father, who used to caution me every holiday: “Peggy Lou,” he’d say, in the same voice he used when I was five, “you’re going to have to stop eating things that are bad for you!”
“I know, Dad,” I’d whine, “but I love all the holiday foods; it’s so hard to resist.”
Without fail, at this point, he’d chuckle and say, “Well, I guess when it causes enough pain; you’ll stop doing it.” I think he sincerely thought I would.
“Yeah, I guess so,” I’d say, but that was many years ago and it hasn’t happened yet. I suppose it’s time to accept the fact that I’m just a glutton for punishment.
Miles up ahead, a few rays of sunshine penetrated the dark clouds, changing the tops of the trees to a golden hue that warmed my heart and seemed to pull me, like a magnet, in the direction of the light. For a moment, I felt like one of those people you read about having a life-after-death experience; they always report being drawn to a bright light.
With cars buzzing all around me and one of my all-time favorite songs playing on the car radio, suddenly, I had the warm feeling that God was in His Heaven and all was right with the world!
And there in the privacy of my car — with a heart full of contentment — I spoke to God, telling Him what was going on in my life (as if He didn’t already know). I felt His presence and knew everything would be all right.
How quickly things change! When I left home, I was in pain, depressed and fearful of making the trip in heavy traffic. A few rays of sunshine, a little music, and some time alone with God — and all was right again.
The human spirit is a magnificent entity. Just when we think we can stand no more pain, disappointment or heartache, something significant touches our soul...
And life goes on.
This essay is an excerpt from Peggy’s new book, “Stop the World and Get Off.”
Peggy Horton lives in Nitro and may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.