Saturday, October 12, 2013
I shall be telling this with a sigh
Somewhere ages and ages hence:
Two roads diverged in a wood, and I—
I took the one less traveled by,
And that has made all the difference. - Robert Frost
Over the years, I've frequently gotten comments from my friends that I always seem to know the back roads, the "scenic routes." A few days ago, I was out gallivanting with an similarly adventurous friend and since I was expecting to get lost as we explored some new routes, I got out my GPS for help.
I was reminded of why why I own a GPS.
It was a dark and stormy night . . . .really, it was! It was a few years ago, around this same time of the year when daylight ends quickly and it was just starting to rain, a fine mist that made everything look hazy. I was leaving work with plans to stop at the grocery store on my way home. I didn't have much gas left but I had enough to get to the store and I could fill the tank the next day.
As I drove to the store, I discovered that my usual route was closed due to some road construction and I made a last-minute decision to go to a different store in a different area. When I came out of the store, the mist had turned to rain and I just wanted to go home where it would be warm and dry. I took what I thought would be the shortest route home but quickly figured out that because I was not very familiar with the area, I was not going to end up where I expected. I realized quickly that I was going in the wrong direction but I kept going; I couldn't be THAT lost, could I?
I live in an area of town where the urban landscape changes to a rural one quickly and I was now in a place where all I could see were farmhouses and cornfields, not a single landmark to help me. I was so turned around and I had to rely on my car's compass to keep me moving in the right direction; I didn't feel any closer to my destination and now I was starting to think about the small amount of gas I had left to get home.
I never panicked but I was getting quite concerned as I maneuvered through the rain and the darkness, Should I stop at one of these farmhouses on a dark and rainy Autumn night and ask for directions? My car has a lot of gauges and I really appreciated the "distance to empty" gauge that night; I knew how many miles I had left and I felt certain that I wasn't that far away from home, that I was closer than I thought. I would go a little further and then stop to ask for help if things didn't improve.
Oh, sweet relief! I came to a county road that I knew would lead me home. I still remember the feeling when I walked in the door to my warm and dry house. (And I had enough gas to get to the gas station the next day!) It wasn't too long after that I bought my GPS. I never wanted to feel that lost again (and I seldom let the gas tank get that low any more!)
It's been a fun gadget to play with. It's come in handy many, many times. If I hadn't been using my GPS on a day that I had been in the mood to go on an adventure, I would have missed one of the most beautiful routes along Lake Michigan. I turned onto an unfamiliar road and even though the paved road I was on was turning to gravel and then to a one-lane dirt road (with grass growing in the middle!) the GPS said to keep driving. I really thought I should turn around but I relied on the GPS and kept going. I was driving along the shoreline in one of the prettiest areas I had ever seen. I was laughing as I drove along this dirt path; I knew I could turn around if I really had to so I just enjoyed the trip. The dirt road eventually returned to pavement and I continued on my way. I thought at the time that a lot of people would have missed this beauty because they would have turned around and gone back to something more certain.
I use my GPS frequently now as I travel the roads I've never been on before. I have discovered some beautiful ways to travel, my little secrets that most people don't know about (but I would be happy to share!) They aren't the fastest way to my destination but I've found that they're the most rewarding way; the trip that I can remember years later.
These days, I'm again exploring new areas on my Spark journey and sometimes I have to travel dark and stormy paths as I uncover some tough truths about the reasons I have made for all of my choices over the years. I keep going though because I discover beautiful places along the way that either I didn't know existed or I had forgotten about. I'm finding new ways to look at old issues and also new ideas for the path ahead, SP allows me to do that! I've learned to keep moving and that I'm closer than I think, that I can ask for help from my Spark Friends and Teams if I'm not sure. If i feel completely turned around, I have trackers and charts to put me back in the right direction and I no longer let my energy "gas tank" get too low, there's always enough to get to tomorrow.
Have a fun time on your journey, one that you will remember for years! And don't ever be afraid to try that less traveled road; you never again have to feel lost and it may just make all the difference!