Travelling at the Speed of Life

My friend David recently decided to take a road trip around the US visiting friends along the way. It was meant to be 3,000 miles in 7 days. To date, his great adventure has taken him 4,700 miles and 17 days.

The additional miles and days were added for one very simple reason: life happens. The unexpected came his way. Days ago, it was a fuse that blew five times on the leg of one trip. Another time it was realizing he was close to a friend and didn’t want to pass up the opportunity to visit him when what stood between them was less than a hundred miles. Especially in light of the fact they live well over 1300 miles from each other. He even spontaneously accepted the invitation of two bikers on the road along Hwy 90 headed towards Alabama for some lunch and a beer- an adventure that wasn’t planned but turned out to be worth taking.

Yesterday his great adventure landed him in my neck of the woods, visiting me and my family. And what was meant to be 3-hour ride down the Interstate into town, became an escapade all on its own.  He got a flat tire, required a tow truck 2 hours out, and the bike shop he intended on having the repair done at was closed the following business day. One thing after another seemed to deter him. But he remained determined to stay calm, accept what is, and enjoy what’s in front of him. In spite of the delays and frustrations and detours, he is intent on making the most and best out of his journey.

As I read the recount of his latest leg into Jacksonville from Pensacola, I thought back to some of what he’d shared about his trip. And I couldn’t help thinking about how his road trip is a great example of what life is like for many of us.

Well, perhaps, I cannot speak about your life and experiences but I can speak about my own. Often, I have planned out my journey in life. What I will do, when I will stop, what I hope to pick up along the way. I have timelines, schedules, and the best of intentions to set out and conquer my goals. And life happens.  A car breaks down. A child gets sick. An accident shifts. A job loss is unexpectedly experienced. That income tax money that was going to move us forward is actually due to the government, not the other way around. The house we bought fell apart and we couldn’t afford to fix it. The deal we thought we got on the washer was a scam. Delays happen. Things fall apart. Stress is incurred. Anxiety sets in. And I stand looking at the shifts, changes, and rips in my timelines and schedules.

There are times I never even have a chance to arrive at the destination I was aiming for. Instead I was routed to a whole new destination without my permission or consent.

And yet despite all the setbacks and detours, there is beauty on the journey. There are friendships I have forged in the most difficult situations that I treasure. There is an appreciation for the good times I may not have felt as deeply if it wasn’t for the tough circumstances. Hugs from my kids are sweeter. Kisses from my husband are deeper. Love and beauty find a way to weave themselves and make the trip worthwhile.

And like David, I find myself resting in between the tough and the planned, intent on staying calm, letting be what will be, and enjoying what is in front of me as much as I can.

Because I only get one road trip in life. And I want to make the journey count. 


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