Dear Rascall Flatts,
While I absolutely love your song “Life is a Highway”, I really don’t think that life is like a highway. It’s actually more like a winding country road. There are bumps. There are railroad tracks where we have to stop and wait on that slow moving freight train to get past before we can move on. There are twists and turns. Sometimes the road is straight and we can go fast and get to our destination quickly. At other times, you might as well roll the windows down and listen to your favorite song cranked up as high as it will go and singing along. Occasionally, there might even be a cow in the road that you have to stop and deal with before you can move on.
We don’t all get to drive a racy sports car, either. Some of us drive small Ford Focuses. Some of us drive huge F-250 pickup tricks or SUVs. Some of us are barely peddling a tricycle. Sometimes we are alone and sometimes others are along for the ride. We all get through life at our own pace and in our own way.
The Forks in the Road
Then there are the forks in the road. When you come to a fork, it is usually time to make one decision or another. Sometimes the decisions seem almost natural. Should I get married? Is it time to start a family? Should I switch jobs? At other times, the decisions are less obvious and harder to make.
As a Christian woman, you would think my decisions might be easier. Say a prayer, see what God thinks and move forward. However, it isn’t always that simple. Sometimes, no matter how hard I pray, I don’t feel like I receive an answer. Does that mean God wants me to stay put? Does that mean that it is up to me to decide? After all, He already knows what I’ll choose. Is He giving me an answer and I’m too dense to see it? (probably)
I am going to do something I don’t do very often. I’m going to admit my age. Although I typically and jokingly claim a perpetual 29, I am actually forty-one. In the last four decades, I’ve learned a lot, but the main thing I’ve learned is that I still have a lot to learn. I’ve also learned that things have a way of working out for the best.
Those decisions that seemed so stressful at 23 are long past me and they worked out just fine. That move to Southern Indiana that I dreaded turned out the way it did for a reason. I’ve made some wonderful, life-long friends here. I’ve grown closer to the Lord here, thanks to a wonderful pastor and dear friend named Paul Long. I’ve met people who are like family to me. My parents now live across the street instead of two hours away. If I can impart one thing to you, and take my own advice a bit, it would be to stop getting stressed over forks in the road. Pray, listen to advice, know your own heart, make your decision and move forward. There really isn’t any other direction to move.
I am fond of saying to my writing students that you must always be growing and moving forward as a writer. If you aren’t moving, then you are stagnant. Have you ever seen a putrid, stagnant pond? Who wants to be stinky, mucky green water? I say it to my writing students about their work as writers, but it applies to life as well. If you are standing still, you are stagnant. It is time to get things moving again and clear up the muck. This can apply to your career, your hobbies, your relationships with family/friends and your spiritual walk with the Lord.
Life is a Winding Country Road
Life truly is like a winding country road. Try to learn to embrace the rough spots, the pot holes and the animals that dart in front of you. Take time to enjoy the beautiful scenery along life’s path. Don’t fret so much about the cows, the trains and the forks. If you walk in faith and integrity, it all works out for the best in the end. Sometimes it just takes a while to get to your destination.