“Well, here we are,” I say as we pull the big blue bus into yet another Walmart parking lot, this one just outside of Urbana, Illinois. “Home sweet home.”
“I’m going to miss spending the night in Walmart parking lots,” she says.
As silly as that may sound, I know exactly what she means. There’s something nice about pulling into a mostly vacant parking lot, finding an out-of-the-way spot for the bus, turning on the generator, and falling asleep to the sound of its humming while a cool breeze whistles in through the screened window at the back of the bus. There’s something nice about the knowledge that the next day you’ll be on the road again, to a new destination a few hundred miles away, and that, once again, you’ll see things and places and people you’ve never seen before.
* * * * *
A kind of reflective peace has descended during these last few weeks of our trip. It’s as if our emotions have decided to mirror the landscape, going from mountainous, rugged and ever-changing to smooth and even. It feels kind of like one long sigh.
Now that home is in our sights, I find myself thinking back over the trip, marveling at the experience, hesitantly lifting rocks of thought and waiting to see what has grown there during the last three and half months, waiting to see what might scurry out. Perhaps a new take on my current life. A new direction. A new hope.
But even more often I find myself looking forward. What waits for us when we get back to Lancaster? What sort of work will I be able to find? Does my novel have a future? Will we write a book about our trip? Will I be able to survive the summer eating only sweet corn?
* * * * *
So many questions. I’m still working through a lot of things in my mind. Somehow, though, this adventure has (nearly) cured me of my need for answers. My need to know where the next project will come from or how I’ll make any money. My need to know if God will supply another runaway truck ramp just in time.
For perhaps the first time in my life, I am okay living in the here and now. Let me tell you: it’s a glorious feeling.