Seatbelt Checks

Once upon a time, I knew this guy. We were friends for no more than a year. He and I were never on the same page. In fact, we may as well have been in different books in different libraries. Still, he was a constant in a down time for me and—though a lot of it was unintentional—I took a lot away from our friendship.

When we heard his words—”Seatbelt check!”—we would immediately prepare ourselves. I would curl up and wait for the sudden jerk. My legs stayed pressed against the seat as I would brace myself for the van to stop. He would slow down and then speed up again until we all relaxed. Then all of a sudden he would brake, sending us flying forward. (I mean, honestly, who wears seatbelts in a church van?)

It’s such a pain to experience something so unexpected. Especially when you should have seen it coming. But I guess, every now and then it happens: life throws us a seatbelt check. Everything halts and you’re taken completely off guard. You thought you were safe. You let your shield down. Then when everything stopped working smoothly, you were unprepared. You were thrown forward, jerked around, and maybe even feel like you went through the windshield.

This last year for me had a seatbelt check waiting for me around every corner. I was slammed by so many surprises, both pleasant and unpleasant. “Hurricanes,” health problems, drama, and important people leaving my life. It was hard, not going to lie.

But after a seatbelt check, my friend would just keep driving. Everyone in the van would straighten themselves up and some would even buckle up in preparation for the next sudden stop. Just because life hit the brakes, doesn’t mean it’s all over. The road still lies ahead and there are plenty more opportunities on it. Just because I’ve past a few or left a few behind does not mean I’ve lost hope.

I don’t really know where I’m going yet. Hell, I may not know until it’s right in front of me. I guess that’s just the fun of the adventure: the unexpected, the unanticipated, and the uncertain. All I know is that, even after seatbelt checks, I’m still heading on down the road.

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