Traffic has become an unavoidable aspect in my life recently. Every day I sit in the dreaded "crawl" from Vancouver to Portland. Someone remind me why I decided having classes in the middle of rush hour traffic was a good idea! In the morning I hop straight onto I205 but in the afternoon I have to take I84 onto I205. Obviously, I have to go through town to get to I84 in the first place, not to mention the construction detours in place right now!...now this feat is a major accomplishment at all times considering my lack of knowledge in Portland streets.
It's not out of the ordinary to have about a thousand cars around the city during that time of day, particularly the amount of cars driving the same route with me each afternoon. On a recent afternoon I noticed a woman. She didn't look particularly happy, she really looked rather exhausted. I'm not just talking, "boy I need to get more sleep at night." type exhaustion. I'm talking the type of exhaustion that we all come across every once in awhile; the emotional exhaustion that is so heart wrenching, stressful, demanding of our souls that the only thing we know is that we are exhausted and feel heavy, like we are carrying 200 pound brinks on our shoulders. You know exhaustion I'm talking about, we all get it, even if you don't want to admit it!
Now, on this particular day the sun was shining, and though it be a long day cooped up in classrooms it was still a glorious day. I couldn't help but wonder about this woman in my rear view mirror the 2 or so miles through town when I looked back every so often to see her in about the same exact position with the same look of exhaustion, of defeat on her face. It was almost as if she had decided to give up to her pain and let it rule her that day. (Yes, I know I have those days, I can relate!) I wondered as I noticed her lack of movement if she thought I was crazy because lets face it, I sing and dance around in my seat and I don't sit still...ever. As we were turning onto the on ramp to the I84 meter I knew I would loose sight of her quickly with the mass of moving metal objects on the freeway that day.
And I was right. I lost her.
I was stuck in traffic for 40 minutes that day just getting half way home which provided me that much time to think about this woman, and spend time in prayer for this woman. I often spend my time talking with God on long drives alone (something my Mama is responsible for teaching me) to center myself or keep myself sane in high traffic times! Although, I painted myself a picture of the possible cause of this woman's state it just really didn't matter to know what it was that struck her heart like that, I still prayed.
I began thinking about what it was about the woman that left such a stirring in my soul. I realized that while I'm coming out of that season of life there are so many still in the depths of exhaustion and maybe they have God and maybe they don't. It's hard for me to fathom not having that person there next to me saying, "Let me carry that weight, allow me to bear this weight. It's not for you." and still waiting patiently when I finally say, "Yes Papa, you can have it all." What a love that is to take the weight of someone else on for yourself. Wow, that boundless love that more should be able to feel and experience. That kind of love takes my breath away.
I like to think this woman knows who Jesus is...spotting a sticker placed delicately on the back of her car window reading, "Daughter of The Risen King" as I watched her drive freely by toward the Dalles, I think it's a safe assumption. My prayer for her and all the people in this exhausted season of life is that God wraps them up in his arms, blankey and all, and they, Finally Find Rest. That kind of rest is the most precious, and we all need to remember not to try to hold onto the heavy stuff that takes that kind of rest away from us. At least that's what I would like to try to accomplish in my own life...remembering God's rest in my heart through the physical and emotional exhaustion.
The things God shows me through the eyes from a car length behind.