Learning to Love the Road
“I’ve Moved On”. When your marriage blows up after a couple of decades, “I’ve Moved On” might be a longer road than you would think.
In fact, I would say that the road is not only longer, but completely different than however you may imagine it. Or at least that’s what I discovered.
Seven years ago, my (then) wife came to me sobbing and said that she was afraid she was about to do something that would destroy our marriage and our family. We had been married for over 21 years and had four children. We had covered a lot of ground together and I thought that this was just another trial, that when it was over, we would see that it made us stronger still. I told her as much and told her that I was there for her no matter what and that we would be ok. Not so fast. (That was me–Taking the High Road to nowhere) That thing that she said she was afraid she was about to do? Turns out she was not only already doing it, but she liked it, and had no intent of stopping. She was doing it, and doing it, and doing it, and . . . uh, well, you get the point.
Sometime later, she asked for a separation. I didn’t want to, but I thought if I gave her room she would eventually come around. We gathered the family together and had a talk, which for some reason, I had to lead even though it wasn’t my idea. So, while my wife wept, or more accurately, “wept”, I explained to the kids that we had hit a rough part in our marriage and that I was going to leave for a little while to give Mom some space. The kids were terribly worried whether I would be ok out there in the world all alone without a home. I assured them that I would miss them terribly but would be ok. I hugged my kids and said goodbye, went out to my vehicle, got behind the wheel and took inventory before I started it up. I had:
- A suitcase full of clothes
- A sleeping bag
- A family van with 150,000 miles on it, built to carry 7, but now carrying 1
- A job
- My faith
That was plenty for the “couple of weeks” journey down the road that I thought this was going to take before we figured things out and I could come back home.
As I pulled away I had no idea that I would sleep in that sleeping bag and live out of that suitcase for years.
(Roll Video of Mel Gibson as Mad Max the Road Warrior wearily driving day and night in the Wasteland, right?)
The Road. The Journey. The Path. Moving On. Since pulling out of that driveway, I’ve seen and done things I never imagined. Met people I wouldn’t have met otherwise, including the love of my life. Cried harder and laughed harder than I ever did before. Faced death. Embraced life. Acted the fool. Gained wisdom. I came to prefer the journey over the destination, as they say, and found that, at least on this one point, “they” got it right.
I’m not sure exactly when “I’ve Moved On” became a reality for me, but it is definitely a mile marker in the rear-view mirror, somewhere in the distance. I think I passed it once I became more interested in where I am now and what’s around the next corner, than wishing I could go back to a place that, in fact, never existed.
Today when I was thinking about this, I did an image search of “beautiful road”, “lonely road”, and “scary road” just to see what kind of pictures popped up. It’s amazing what you see in these pictures. Many times you can be looking at the same road but it made the “beautiful” search when it was a sunny day, and made the “lonely” or “scary” search when it was a stormy day or it was night. You look at these roads and have no idea where they go, but they make you feel something nevertheless. The “road” is a powerful metaphor.
Try it–Do the searches yourself. See if the pics tell you anything about you, or where you are, or where you’ve been, or where you are going. Which pictures do you identify with? Why?
“Not all those who wander are lost”
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