backroads. sunny. 75 degrees. loud music. all four of my favorite things that i’m enjoying right now.

i tweeted that on thursday afternoon. i was on my way home to north carolina on a road in the middle of nowhere. there’s a little shortcut that i take sometimes that cuts through some farms, fields, and forests. it’s normally just me and the road through there. i see maybe one or two cars in this 20 minute span. it’s just a fun time to sit back, relax, and simply drive without traffic or distractions or anything really.

and then i got stuck behind a school bus.

are you kidding me? i normally run 60 through here and change lanes like anyone raised on backroads knows to do. now i’m behind an empty school bus going 37 miles per hour. son of a…

right then, i saw a little girl who couldn’t have been older than first grade run to the back seat of the bus, look out the window at me, smile, and wave really excitedly. i smiled and waved back at her. then out of nowhere there was a boy the same age that ran to the back and did the same thing so i waved at him too. then she would wave and giggle. then he would wave and giggle. then they’d just smile and look at me driving behind them.

what i had thought was going to be an annoying ten minutes of the drive turned out to be the highlight of my day.

when all of this happened, i was about 45 minutes into a two and a half hour drive home. one of the reasons i was heading home for the weekend was because i was planning on talking to a church about a possible opportunity there. during the 45 minutes i’d been on the road, my head went all kinds of places. all i could think about was what my future might be there. what if this happens. what if that happens. i wonder if this is the right thing. i think it’d be cool to do that.

what if.

what if.

what if.

that’s what my life has become. it’s become a series of what if questions. what if this church is the right one? what if that job is the one i’m supposed to take? what if i’m looking in the wrong direction? what if i screw this up?

to go along with all of that, there’s been a constant stream of questions asking if i’d heard anything. don’t get me wrong, i absolutely love that people care enough about me to ask how things are going. it all just gets overwhelming at times. my head starts going too many places at once. i start thinking of too many different things. then i just start acting like a jerk to the people asking the questions.

but there were those two first graders. they had smiles bigger than i’ve smiled in quite some time, and only because some random guy was driving behind them. they were happy with just seeing someone and waving at them. somehow, somewhere, i lost that. i find it at times and spend 45 minutes in a restaurant after i’m done eating just laughing at a ridiculous conversation.

these days those times are rare though.

these days there are more what if’s than laughs.

these days there are more unanswered questions.

these days are numbered though. at some point, maybe it’s a few weeks, maybe it’s a few months, i don’t really know the time table but at some point the what if’s will turn back into smiles, the unanswered questions will have answers, and my head won’t be filled with so much clutter.

all of this is growing up.

this cycle will continue to keep going for the next fifty years until i finally end up smiling when i meet jesus.

until then, i’ll just keep working to get back to the smiles, the answers, and the good times.

i’m pretty sure the ataris got it right when they said “being grown up isn’t half as fun as growing up. these are the best days of our lives.” things may suck right now. they might be tough. they might not even be fun.

but i wouldn’t trade the experience of going through them for anything.

say your prayers and take your vitamins.

have a nice day.