I met with a friend yesterday morning for coffee in downtown Omaha. It was nice to be able to do that. I don’t get out much these days anymore, so it was fun to be able to have the time to get out of the house for a bit. We had a wonderful conversation about all sorts of ponderable topics. It’s amazing how life-giving a good conversation can be for me. It rejuvenates me for days afterwards.
Before I headed downtown, I turned on the navigation on my phone to consider which route would be the best path to take. I could take the fairly direct route through town, though with more stoplights it would take longer, or I could take the interstate, which is a more roundabout way of getting there, but it’s also a faster route with less stops. I dislike choosing between these two options because I prefer straight shots to where I’m going even if it means more stopping, but I also like the quickest route, typically. I was running just a couple minutes behind when I had intended to leave, so after some consideration, I thought the interstate route would be the best choice this time around.
But there’s a deeper reason why I was hesitant to want to take the interstate, though. To choose the interstate route would be to choose the route that takes me past the spot where my brother was in his car accident before he died. Every time I pass that spot my mind races with curiosity about the events of that night, and I am reminded of the horribleness of the accident. When I see the intersection that I hypothisize he turned from to get onto the interstate, I pass it and impulsively say aloud, “There’s that damn intersection!”
A cold shiver shoots down my spine when I pass the exact place of impact. My fingers tingle. My chest gets a little tight. Its location is etched into my soul. So I have to prepare myself emotionally if I choose the interstate route to go downtown.
As I drove past the spot yesterday, I noticed my hands were gripping the steering wheel very tightly. I looked down and saw that my thumbnail still had ash under it from the previous day’s Ash Wednesday service.
At this moment some of my brother’s ashes sit on a shelf near my desk in my bedroom, where I am currently writing this now. It’s such an odd thing.
Ashes to ashes,
we all fall down.