On this familiar Interstate we'd driven countless times before, with every road bump, every small town, and every restaurant sign marking the two years we'd lived here, I heard myself ask her, "Lindsey, what makes you feel most alive?"
There must be something about late-night donut runs that makes me consider this.
This particular night, Lindsey and I were headed back to Clinton after going through the Krispy Kreme drive-thru twice and satisfying our mid-semester sugar cravings in the parking lot.
For the rest of the night we thought and talked and remembered.
I thought of my first roller coaster. I remember feeling like the breath had been sucked out of my lungs during a free fall with only an extremely large, metal contraption protecting me. Needless to say, I was very aware of the first deep breath I took once my feet were safely on land.
My mind then flashed back to the summer after high school, in Manitou Springs, Colorado on Red Mountain. We woke up early and hiked to the summit just as the sun was rising. [My words will fail every attempt to convey the beauty of this moment so I won't even try. All I can say is it felt like smelling coffee and campfire smoke and freshly lighted silence.] Instead of taking the trail back down the mountain, we sprinted down the wash-out. Which, basically, is sprinting down loose gravel at a steep mountainous incline, dodging trees and boulders with zero common sense, screaming like idiots. Terrifying but freaking awesome.
My last memory wasn't exactly a moment, but a series of moments. It was anytime a song slices through me. I don't know what it is, but music cuts me and fills me at the same time. It helps me process pain but isn't painful. Lindsey and my mom have both told me that my happy place is a song, and they are right. Music is feeling and thinking and living. It's the sharpening of every sense. Music is a gift that I didn't give myself. It's a precious way to communicate with God. It's adoration and humility and tears and joy.
There's really no cohesion between all three of these moments except for one thing: a complete lack of control. In these moments of extreme alive-ness, I'm always at the mercy of someone other than myself.
Oh the irony; I hate being out of control. Believe me, God and I discuss this frequently. But when I think about the times I've felt most alive, they're all moments I'm completely out of control. This realization took me by surprise. Could it be that I was not created to be in control? That I'm most alive when I lose control?
Even though our home isn't isn't here, even though our flesh is still attached to our bodies, God still lets us glimpse bits of alive-ness to preface the full life we will experience during our forever with Him.
So don't be afraid to take a crazy risk every now and again to remind yourself that you were created to be alive--even when you're not in control.