February 23, 2019

Alone, in the driver's seat, I white-knuckled the steering wheel the whole way. Terrified. Not sure where we were going and not sure how I'd get us there.

My eyes strained, hard-fixed to the black ribbon of road unraveling ahead. Visions of all the turns I had missed clouded my thinking. Where might those other roads have led us instead? I'll never know. And, worst of all, the rearview mirror held nothing but pain, visions of pasts lived and not lived, blurring what was real from what my mother-hopes invented.

That drive, for me, is over. And though our destination was not expected, and not welcome, it was not as tragic as it could have been. For that, I am grateful.

But I don't drive much anymore. Instead, I ride in passenger seats, co-piloting other drivers.

These drivers are much like me. Some are seasoned, and some are not, some are solo and some come in pairs, but they are all terrified, just like I was. They strain to see the road ahead, they worry about crucial turns they may have missed, and they fight ruminations of what might have been.

From the passenger seat, I don't claim to be an expert navigator. I don't make promises I can't keep. But from the seat beside them, I try to offer them hope.

No, I don't have the answers, but I've asked the same questions. No, I can't see their destination, just like I couldn't see mine, but I've gripped the same wheel before. I don't know where their road ends, but I will sit beside them and be their co-pilot, sharing their view and their pain. We travel together, scanning the road ahead looking for signs of hope.

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