Last night I was driving home singing at the top of my lungs and, as I pulled into my garage, I just sat there for a minute until the song was over. I felt really good, which was especially surprising because this has been a particularly rugged and stressful week for me. In fact, it was the kind of week where I had frequent bouts of volcano virus. You know, your stress builds and builds inside you until you feel as if you are going to completely explode and if even one more teensy-tiny thing happens or someone even dares to look at you cross-eyed – BOOM! You will become the physical embodiment of the reenactment of
Mount St. Helens erupting, spewing forth all that
stress and anger and bottled up ugly like verbal
lava explosions. Oh yeah… you know exactly what I
It got me to thinking… my car is often my place of therapy.
It is a place of comedy, where I listen to podcasts or CDs or talk radio that makes me laugh out loud. When I am in traffic sometimes I see abstract humor as I look to the left and right lanes and watch people dealing with the commute, or one another.
It is a place of mourning, where I can cry alone and in safety. Many times I have wept behind that wheel as I have found refuge driving/stopping near a river nearby or a lake or just a park area. I’ve cried on the road as well, because sometimes it hits you when you can’t just pull over.
It is a place of sanctuary and worship, where I have raised my voice in praise and song to God and worshiped Him. It is also where I have screamed and cried in prayer to God when I couldn’t understand His plan. I recall one rainy night in particular where I sobbed and the tears pouring down my cheeks matched the rhythm of the raindrops beating down on the windshield. I held onto that wheel for dear life and shook it so hard, choking out in broken screams my heartbroken prayers through searing emotion pain until I though that poor wheel would surely come off in my hands.
It is a place of learning, where I have read audio books and listened to educational CDs and radio programs/podcasts and recordings from my college classes. It has been my university on wheels – did you know most folks spend approximately 12-2,400 hours a year in commuting? That’s about the equivalent of one-two university semesters. So your car can become your scoot-about school as you use that time to learn. There's something about using that time in bumper-to-bumper traffic usefully that takes the edge of the commuter stress off a bit. You don't feel so victimized by it when you're actually in class behind the wheel.
It is a place of primal scream therapy, where I have just screamed and yelled – no words, just blowing off steam. It’s also been just a place of decompression as I used my commute time to wind down from a long day and transition into my non-working life.
It is a library as well - sometimes at lunchtime I'll go sit in my car and read while listening to soft instrumental background music. I'll eat my lunch in my own private little dining area (on those times when I need to be alone) and escape the day with a good book, or use this time to catch up on my homework reading. Your car is also a perfect place to find quiet time to journal and think - your thoughts can flow privately without the distraction of interruptions.
It has also been a conference/meeting center, when I catch up with friends on commuter calls (yes, I have a speaker and a Bluetooth earpiece), or talk them through a rough patch of their own, or seek their advice and comforting words. Ah yes, and this is definitely a time when it turns my car into comedy central - I have amazingly comedic friends!
It’s funny but I never realized how important this function and role of my car has been to me over the years. Imagine… the door locks and suddenly you’re in your own little world of therapy and shelter… a refuge of glass and steel (and speed and power) where you can be you, and deal with life, and think and dream in safety and without judgment. Whether you’re in your own garage/driveway/street or in a parking area in your favorite getaway spot… it’s your asylum.
Today, exercise your therapy muscles… get in your car and just sit in silence for a few minutes, then take a drive and make it your own center for healing and analysis and centeredness. It will give you a whole new appreciate for your therapy center on wheels!