A blog is an autobiography written as you're reading it.

The Hitchhiker

Today I picked up a hitchhiker. I know, good kids shouldn’t do that. You could get beaten, or robbed, or worse. But this guy didn’t ask for permission. He just hopped in, and he was polite, so I let him stay.

When I first saw him I rolled down my window so he’d blow away, but he clung on and a split-second later I regretted even thinking of killing him. So I rolled the window up and apologized to him. It’s a seven hour drive from Kansas City to Minneapolis, about 400 miles, so I welcomed the company.

He crawled laps around the inside of my window. I would drive a little while, forget about him, and then look back to see him still crawling laps. The longer I looked the more amazing he became. His legs were thread-thin, barely and carefully stepping around, with the hoppers tucked up in the air. His tiny, almost transparent skin covered his body and stretched tight. At the head, two long feelers waved gently, too thin to see without looking closely. I’m sure I almost wrecked the car six times as I watched, fascinated.

He felt carefully, discovered a new place on his lap, and walked towards it. After it was explored, the lap returned to normal, the feelers gently waving at the front.

It was a long while before he left. I almost hoped he’d stay the whole way. But when I opened the door at a McDonalds to buy us some coffee, he didn’t even say goodbye. I was going to take our picture together, and use it as the cover for this blog, but he left without so much as a thank you. Ninety miles, and then he just jumped out and left. I didn’t even see him go.

Ninety miles is a long way. It’s long enough to share life stories. But this guy didn’t talk. So I started thinking about his story. Maybe he’d just hopped onto my New Beetle because it was a towering detour in his driveway neighborhood. Maybe he was just going to Walmart, on the other side of the driveway. Maybe he hadn’t even kissed his wife and kids goodbye. And after only ten seconds, I had already driven him farther away than he would ever be able to crawl or hop or walk back.

But I liked to think of his life story another way. He had said goodbye, and jumped onto my car to see where it would take him. He certainly seemed content as the world whizzed by at sixty-seven miles an hour. Maybe he was going somewhere, and he didn’t really know where, but he hopped into my car and hung on for dear life until he got…somewhere.

I’m not too different from my hitchhiking grasshopper. Today I drove away from home, and away from everything that was familiar. In one day, I drove 400 miles — further than I could walk in six days. I am a hitchhiker on my own car.
Now I’m in a new town, with a new house and a new school and new grocery stores (even the grasshoppers are different here too, if there are any in the city. I haven’t seen any). Everything is new.

Soon it won’t be. But for now, it is. Life in Minneapolis for me is very big, very overwhelming, and completely terrifying.

I want to face it all like that grasshopper did. I rode away from home, just like he did. And just like he did, I’m going to hop out the window without hesitating. I’m going to go skydiving and land with a tumble on the pavement and hit the ground running. I’m going to run fast into whatever God has for me.

I am hitchhiking. I haven’t found Home yet, but I have found another piece of it. Welcome to Minneapolis. I hope you’ll stay awhile.

(Photo Credit Kevin Galans)