Wednesday, March 4, 2015

The Long Road Home

I hurried out to start my car yesterday morning. It needed to run several minutes before making the twenty-five minute trek into the office. Not exactly July in Indiana, you know. 
Same routine, same idea, same old predictable same.
But on this particular morning I arose early to get to the office for some added responsibility due to a meeting. 

Then, I lost my footing on the sidewalk and was forced to slow down. 
Whoa, I had forgotten it was going to freeze over night. Weather gal wasn't joking. What an inconvenient day for an icy ride down Highway 35.
Immediately, I thought about everything I had yet to do before noon: 
Make the rural trek in. 
Sort copies. 
Data sort customers. 
Update spreadsheet. 
Print all files for appropriate members. 
Print labels. 
Box documents. 
And at some point, address overnight emails and voicemails. 

Time was of an essence - and if I could make it back to the house without breaking my tailbone - I was going to capitalize on every passing minute. 
I did. 
I rushed to change my boots. 
I hurried the lunch packing. 
I started the coffee, then got frustrated that it percolated slowly. 
For just a few minutes, I patiently listened as Cody said our PS savers. 
I grabbed my bags, lunch and water and rushed back down the sidewalk. 
Slipped again.
Only worse. 
I was again annoyingly forced to slow down. 
I reached the end of the lane only to get behind a car, behind a truck, behind a semi. 
"Really don't have time for this," I said to myself. If I hadn't started Cody's coffee, I'd be in front of that semi. 

Our caravan made it five miles before the leader of the pack - the semi - slowed down abruptly. I thought for a minute maybe a deer or an officer had slowed his pace. But the semi continued at the twenty-under pace for several miles. What did he see that I couldn't?

Miles later we - the pack of job-bound cars and trucks behind the semi - reached the small town of Williamsburg where our route was redirected by a Sheriff. Accident ahead. We rerouted through the rural town and ended up coming out just 100 yards from the scene of the route-changing head on collision with entrapment. The IU Health helicopter was there, awaiting passengers.

(Photo by Matt Monnig....continue reading to learn more about that)

I was sick, enough to roll down my window in need of fresh air. 

As slow as a funeral procession, our caravan climbed the hill parallel to the accident scene. I made it to work just fine, not thirty minutes early, but rather seven minutes after eight.  
Seven glorious minutes. 
I don't know how women can't keep mascara in their car console.

The PS Prayers were good to us. The meeting went well, the day was brief but a good one. I had a dentist appointment at 4:15 and that's a blog for another Wednesday morning. No cavities, but enough content to suffice. 

The long road home was different.
I cautiously made my way back to the homestead after work, eyes forever scanning side ditches and cross roads. A heavy fog had set in and familiar landmarks were getting more and more less visible, let alone the vehicle directly in front of me. I remembered the morning commute and took my heel off the gas. I had all the time in the world. 

I made it home without trouble just in time to help Cody feed the cattle and meet the new kid on the block (a heifer). And also give a pep talk to some young mothers about their role once they were allowed past the gate.

But then, as generally done when given a few minutes to stop and reflect, I began thinking back on the day and how it completely parallels so much we experience in life:

Fiercely rushing through a morning - or day? Week? Month?
Darn near busting my ability to ever do a back handspring again. 
(Just kidding - that happened in 8th grade when I never actually could physically do a back handspring. Ever.)
Annoyed by a row of three (only 3!) vehicles slowing my progress. 
Curious about Someone (in this case, a semi driver) who might know better than I. 
Then, on the return trip home, uncomfortably watching for familiar signs that weren't there. 
White knuckled with anticipation of an unknown outcome. 
A heavy fog nearly able to erase any familiar comfort or knowledge of a place we thought we knew. 

Do you get it?

The Long Road Home is not one for the faint of heart. And as I type that, I'm not referring to anything that has to do with asphalt or passing lanes. 

The Long Road Home is about 
realizing that the living is not in the rush
The Long Road Home is about learning that 
patience is one trait that will be used more often than it will sit on the shelf.
The Long Road Home is about 
understanding that it is okay to learn from those in front of you. Take notes. Heed their warnings, disregarding pride. 
The Long Road Home is about 
learning patience as you wait for signs that you think are to come. Or should come. Or will come. Or, may never come at all. 
The Long Road Home is about patience. 
The Long Road Home is about
letting go of what you thought was to be, and accepting what is. 

Sometimes, the path - that one that we might deem dreadful and discombobulated - is the long road Home. 

It's life. 
Perhaps not the one planned, but rather the one designed specifically for us. 

Either way, you're going to need sunglasses to deflect the snow and maybe a double shot of patience to get through the upcoming years. Trust me. 

On a oh-so-ironic side note, the IU Health helicopter that began the entry of this blog, ended up landing in my cousin's yard in Ohio later yesterday, due to ice. You can read more - including little Cora's perfect, brief media response - here.

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