January 4, 2010

Seeking a Spiritual Something

I had my last cup of coffee with Takeshi this morning. As we hugged goodbye, I made a teary scene worthy of a low-budget film. I knew it was coming; it was the next step in getting to Phnom Penh. The downside of leaving home is saying goodbye to people that are a daily support system.

On the way to another goodbye in Omaha, I stopped at the Wayfarer's chapel, just off I-80. Though she knows that I am not much of a church person, my mom recommended I stop there, as it is a traveler's chapel. Ok, I thought, I can use all the help/luck/miracle I can get. I took the exit and turned onto the snow-packed country road. The dooming walls of snow on either side of the road made me extra anxious about the rolling (and I mean ROLLing) hills. I found it ironic that I was taking a pretty serious risk to get to this place of salvation. Alone in my little Mitsubishi, I hoped that I would just make it to the place, enjoy, and get safely back to the interstate. The driveway was nearly vertical and totally iced over. I made it to what seemed like the apex, and just like the original Grinch stealing Christmas, my sled was stuck, spinning wheels just before reaching safety. I pressed the accelerator, but I began to slide backwards down the curved driveway. I had visions of becoming lodged and buried in the snow just yards from my destination.
After successfully navigating down the driveway backwards, I somehow worked a magic that only Great Plains drivers possess to wriggle and wrench a car out of any snow predicament. I had summited Everest. Well, not Everest, but that damn hill anyway.

Perched on a pew in the airy, glass-walled chapel on a hill overlooking the crisp white landscape, I watched the other people in the pews. They looked to the altar--for what, I don't know. Perhaps guidance, comfort, or inspiration.

I sat with my journal, hands folded, brain ready for a divine illumination. Everyone else seemed to have a beautiful and clear reason for their visit. Unsure of my motives for attending, I looked on, awaking a stroke of genius or an epiphany of spiritual awakening, but I felt little more than reverence for those who have found a spiritual well-being.

Perhaps, I thought, I have been missing out on something.