Wednesday, September 12, 2012

The Road Will Show You

Returning to life in America, small town or big city, women are flowing in the River of Jobs whether of necessity or will. It is path shining with income, belonging, and achievement. My internal compass quietly murmurs, "Honor your loves and good things will follow," but it competes with, "I need one of those too."

Then there is the work of home life-- it's not glamorous or high paying, but there is lots of it. My house is clean and reasonably organized for the moment. My yard is shipshape. I have cooking projects to make and recipes to test. I have a basement full of fabric to sew. I have writing prompts to pursue. I have children to fetch, care for, and homework to review. The reality is I can barely keep up with this full-time job.

My husband's grandmother once gave us these directions to a favorite stop along the Ohio river, "The road will show you."

A few years back, my husband driving at my behest to an unnamed restaurant in the woods of the Pacific Northwest, was pushing me for directions when I quipped, "The road will show you." I had yibber yabbered on the drive previously with my friend and had not noticed the specifics of the route, despite being the driver. It was my birthday dinner so my husband kindly aimed the car in the direction my finger pointed, toward the tall pines and into the dark night. We found it and had a memorable dinner.

Whenever I get into the orchestrate life mode, the unknowns invariably remind me that I'm not in control. It can be maddening. My husband tends to say at these moments, "Stop trying so hard honey bunny." There is a fierceness in my soul that thinks it can overcome all obstacles which exists right next to the parts of me that know, "The road will show you."

Negotiating these varying views is maddening-- I push myself into crazy woman mode. Push, wait, oh, over there, no, no, no chill, oh, they're passing you by, kick it up a notch, stop it! It is a recipe for insanity which of course got me thinking I probably ought to wait for a few road signs.

I've come to this: The world is full of shiny things. Be true to your passions, your strengths, and your loves. Use them as a basis to winnow opportunities that beckon. Push yourself to help others more than you think you can. In time, the road will show you, but when the arrows indicate "turn here" or the sign says "detour," ignore at your own peril and quit trying to find a shortcut.

The Serenity Prayer
God, grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change,
The courage to change the things I can,
And the wisdom to know the difference.
Attributed to Reinhold Niebuhr


  1. I loved your reflection Kim. It gave me a great start to the day. Here is something I wrote a while ago about the "road"..............

    I love the words in scripture........., “As they were going along the road, someone said....” All four of the gospel writers love to use this “as they were walking along” phrase. That’s because our encounters with Jesus always occur along the way in life. Paul was on his way to Damascus. James and John were on their way to go fishing. The Samaritan woman was on her way to the well.
    These were all ordinary folk, like you and me, doing everyday things. But along the way they encountered Jesus, and nothing was ever the same again. Jesus can find you while you are on the way to your first apartment or the nursing home. He can find you on the way to a great career or a terrible divorce, on the way to give birth or on the way to bury the dead. You thought you were on the road up, or the road down, but once you encounter Jesus along the way in life, you’ll discover that he always bids you to follow him on a new road. Jesus never stops moving. He didn’t buy any houses. He didn’t join any clubs, PTAs, pension plans, or even churches. He just kept moving toward Jerusalem. And if you are going to follow him, you’ll find that he is constantly moving your life around as well.
    Have you ever been at a place where you got your life just right? You have close friends who are always available when you need them, your family members are all healthy, work is going pretty well, and you’ve got yourself a good church where they sing hymns you know. Usually. Didn’t you want to say, “Okay, this is it. This is just right. Nobody move!” Well, take a picture because that is always the moment when Jesus blows a whistle and says, “Everybody out of the pool!” Do you want to know what tomorrow will bring? I can’t tell you that. I can promise you what you will find in the new day—change. Now, why is that always true? Why do you have to keep letting go of cherished things and adjusting to new things? Doesn’t Jesus know you’re an old dog? Why do have to keep learning new tricks? Families, friendships, workplaces, congregations, the city—they all just keep changing. Why can’t everything stay right where it is? Because you are not to Jerusalem yet.
    What is so special about Jerusalem? Most of the time, the disciples don’t know. You see, Jerusalem is not just an ancient city. In the Bible it stands as a symbol, as the place of our salvation; it’s the place where we finally understand what Jesus is doing. At the end of the New Testament we are told about a New Jerusalem where God’s reign is clear, where all creation is restored, and where there are no more tears. So Jerusalem is a symbol of that place in time when you join heaven, and earth will utter the great celestial exhale because then we can all stop moving. But you are not there yet. Jerusalem comes at the end of the story, which means we are always more clear about what Jesus is asking us to give up than we are about where he is taking us. Jesus is calling us to keep moving because the opportunity for life is now waiting down the road. But it is hard to stay on the road of change, unless we see Jesus along the way. That is what faith is. It is a way of seeing that Jesus is with us on the Journey. That is why we come to worship and why we commit ourselves to Sunday school classes, Bible studies, and daily devotions. It is why we pray for each other, serve lunches to college students, and gather for fellowship. It is all a way of seeing Jesus with us. It is why we love those God has given us and do the work we’ve been given to do today. Jesus still loves to appear along the way of the everyday. And you have got to keep your eyes on him, or you’ll never make it to Jerusalem

  2. Those life affirming moments on the road and that ever present reality of change often collide. I hadn't considered how long that has been going on and will continue. I like the idea that we aim for an ideal instead of the image I have planted in my head of us all in a rat race striving to get over each other. The world is indeed gentler, more receptive, and in need of each of us as we put toe to heel on the road. I'm so glad we will be on the road together for a while Rob.


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