Last night I was driving home and reached a point where the train tracks were down but no train was in sight. A few bold drivers went around the tracks and a few turned around but the majority continued to sit there. I was impatient because I had to get home to the boys before it got too late. Eventually, I turned around. It was dark and I was tired and in an unfamiliar area not that sure of an alternate route. But I knew the right direction to head home toward and some of the street names were familiar so it wasn't long before I was able to pick up the main road again having gone around the train tracks.
I thought about all this on my remaining ride home. How this is so much like a metaphor for being a widow. You're going through life as planned and suddenly this tragic obstacle presents itself. You didn't do anything wrong, nor do you deserve it - this hardship just happens. So you're left having to detour from that original and expected life plan. There are a number of roads to take but in the end you go with the one that seems best. Or maybe the first road you take is wrong so then you have to turnaround and try another one.
Last night's blocked train tracks required me to take a detour. Although I was a little worried and unsure of myself, I turned around and figured out where to go. In the end I made it home - a little later than planned, but I got home. And maybe for all of us in this situation, our lives have required us to have to take unexpected detours. Our lives may be more challenging and it might take us longer to get where we're going, but I think in the end, all of us will make it home.
As I opened the door to my home, I felt relieved and also proud of myself for not freaking out and doing what I had to do. It made me realize how infrequently I give myself credit for having to navigate through life's twists and turns brought on by widowhood. This is not the life I wanted or expected but it is my life. The gift of last night also showed me that even if it's not the way it's supposed to be, there is always another route available for us to follow.
Today I am grateful:
1. For people who stand by their commitments and do what they say they'll do.
2. For the opportunity to be a friend to others.
3. For life's lessons turning up in unexpected ways.