We’re All Sharing the Same Road

I love a good short cut. Correction, I need a good short cut, especially on those mornings when I am running late to get my daughter to school. This is most mornings.

Such was the case on a recent anxiety-laden trip to school. My heart thumped in my chest in synch with the countdown to the tardy bell. My sweaty hands struggled to grip of the steering wheel as I maneuvered my way through the charming side streets of my shortcut route. If all went according to plan I would join the carpool line with time to spare.

It turns out the white Prius in front of me did not agree to my plan. It paced in front of me at a leisure rate. In pure frustration I cried out, “Why are they going so slow?” I scoffed, “They’re probably going to coffee or yoga right now. Must be nice.” My daughter looked up from her Eggo waffle long enough to give me the adolescent eye roll salute. I was alone in my distress.

Suddenly a student on his bicycle came into my side view. I now had to add extra caution to my growing angst. I was trapped. As I whipped my head around frantically looking for an exit route it suddenly came to me. We are all sharing the same road.

The Prius clearly did not share my time concerns and the teen next to me was obliviously peddling away to whatever was pumping through his AirPods. We were on own journeys with own timetables and the only thing we really shared was the asphalt beneath us.

This roadshare realization is so metaphoric of my personal growth over the years. While other travelers may be in front, behind, beside, going faster, slower, or keeping pace, we all have a very distinct journey we are on.

My judgements about where people are headed, how fast they get there, or whether or not they should be in my lane is ultimately none of my business. I haven’t been given the detailed map to my own life’s adventure so how could I possibly know what’s best for you? Me focusing on your lane takes me off my own course and leaves me broken down on the side of the road.

I am reminded of a recent antedocte I heard from one of my favorite ministers. He talked about regularly running a route around his neighborhood. He once came across a fellow jogger some yards ahead of him and was hit with  a sudden surge of competition. The minister decided he was going to outrun this other guy.

Intoxicated with the thrill of rivalry he eventually passed the fellow runner, also passing his turn off home three blocks earlier. The minister shared, “I was so focused on beating that guy that I completely abandoned my route.”

Oh how often I do that. I see someone chugging along ahead of me and I start picking up the pace declaring us in a race. This is completely unknown to them. I am huffing and puffing and conjuring up countless stories about what it means that they are where they are and I am where I am. I may pass them up and declare myself the winner- but winner of what? I’ve left my path in pursuit of theirs, their destination unbeknownst to me. I’m left lost, exhausted, and longing for directions home.

I am now committed to staying in my own lane. I no long want to miss out on the scenery, the stops and starts, the unexpected turns, and favorite resting spots along the way. I’m going to crank up the tunes, open the sunroof, and trust I’ll get wherever I’m meant to be, right on time.

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