Guest post by Ashlie Woods
I didn’t see them coming. I never do. Like a derailed freight train with frightening momentum and a deafening roar, they come uninvited.
At the first heart-dropping movement of the motorbike’s tires on the soft and shifting sands, anxious thoughts plow through the feeble gate I’ve constructed… he has on a helmet, I should be wearing a helmet. What if we get in an accident? I could split my head open. Where is the nearest hospital? It’s probably dirty. What if I get some infection while being treated?
The stream is momentarily interrupted as I notice the minibus passing us on the right and quickly approaching Adrian’s motorbike just ahead of me. His driver moves over, allowing the bus to slide between him and the oncoming traffic. I wince at the casualness of such an effort on this thin strip of highway and the freight train picks up speed.
What if something happened to him? What if I see it all take place right before my eyes? I couldn’t live with that! I’d never get that image out of my head. What would I say to his family? Would it be my fault? Was this my idea? A feeling of paralyzing pain floods my body. I’d be alone and heartbroken. What are we doing here?
The weight of the bike leans left into a curve then moves over once again, our tires nearing the fine line where the pavement meets the dirt. A new stream of ‘what-ifs’ begin infiltrating my mind. With a gesture of surrender I close my eyes and lift my face to the sun-filled sky, no longer attempting to fight them off.
It’s true. All the things I fear could happen could happen.
Cool, wet tears slip from my tightly clinched eyes. My shoulders fall loose. I exhale a deep breath. For the first time, I am aware of the sun hitting my face, the wind pressing against my body, the medley of sounds filling my ears and the hum of the motorbike beneath me.
I am overwhelmed with a sense of vitality and words seem inadequate. It feels like the delicious freedom that comes from acknowledging what we so often deny or pretend not to notice: life is risky. At any moment, it could all change. To live means to be vulnerable, whether we like it or not. Perhaps the only real choice we have is to hold more tightly to the illusion of control or to embrace the reality that the future is unknowable and allow our hearts to be pried open by the joy of such ordinary moments.
Join Ashlie from July 8th-15th to explore what it means to choose love and to let our own wild hearts lead the way.