Now I lay me down to sleep, I pray the Lord my soul to keep, if I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take. God bless Mom, Dad and everyone I love.
This was a nightly prayer I grew up reciting. Now as an adult I understand that this prayer was created in the early 1200s when so many people died in their sleep because of the plague, but for me it is much more personal…it’s home.
I found myself thinking about this prayer tonight as the sun was setting over the crest of the highway and I was doing 60 miles an hour toward a destination I wasn’t sure of.
I still pray this prayer almost every night, only I add God bless Mom and Dad in the heavens, and all of the people that I love. Plus I typically add… and all of the people that I don’t know.
These last 4 days of being on the road have filled my heart already. Having friends gather to wish me well on my journey, and strangers go out of their way to help me has been overwhelming and a bit breathtaking.
Last night I rode five hours in the dark to get to a friend’s home of which I haven’t seen in almost 10 years. We’ve known each other for almost thirty at this point. There was this point at which I finally saw the name of the town that I was going to on one of those green and white road signs, and I did a little happy giggle knowing then I was going to get to hug my friend.
So much has changed in both of our lives and we stayed up chatting for a few hours after I arrived. Immediately upon waking up this morning we were deep into another meaningful conversation that only broke for a shower and then lunch.
I knew that she had become a teacher, but I didn’t know what kind of teacher. My friend Gretchen works at a school with at-risk kids. It doesn’t seem to matter what kind of a community one lives in, there are so many children at risk and a school like hers actually has a waiting list.
A waiting list to get into a school that will treat a child with the respect needed in order to get them the working knowledge they need to not only get a degree but to have a decent life.
From there I left to meet a wedding professional who has gone through a double mastectomy and a hysterectomy and needs knee replacements but she hasn’t missed a wedding that she had made a commitment to.
Then I met a bridal couple who exemplifies what love really is. Less than two weeks before their original wedding date, the bride was in a horrific car accident. They postponed their wedding until she knew she could walk down the aisle. Although she’ll never walk on her own again, she’s at a point that with two of her son’s help she will be able to walk toward the man who has nursed her back to living a full life.
Each day I’ve met someone since being on the road who is inspired me and touched my heart and this is only the beginning.
Yesterday I spent time with a doctor who first met me when I was at my sickest. He met me when my skin was weeping more than my eyes could. He finished our conversation with a T.S. Eliot poem The Wasteland and suggested that I read A Heros Journey. He smiled and told me that I was a wondering traveler. So I’ve decided to name my scooter… The Wondering Scooter.
So now I lay me down to sleep, in the safety of my space. For I don’t worry about being abused or neglected or rejected. I have the freedom of being an adult, of owning my ride, and understanding my beliefs.
I pray the Lord my soul to keep, because I have given my soul freely back to God. I have had the opportunity to witness love at its finest and love at its worst.
If I should die before I wake, I pray the Lord my soul to take… For many of my friends their biggest fear is that I won’t come back alive. As I ride down the highway as I glean every moment on the byways… I wish my friends could understand that this is awakening. That finding the story behind the story and telling it is being fully alive for me. And if I die… I know the Lord my soul to take. I’m all good with that.
God Bless… every single human.