I’ve heard that life is like a highway. And it definitely seems like that sometimes. The pace of life swirls around me at dizzying speeds.
We’re all so busy. In such a hurry. Always somewhere to be, something else to do.
I’m a get-to-the-point, get-there-quick kind of girl. I don’t like to waste time on small talk or side trips. If I could figure out a way to do the 800-mile driving trip home without making a single stop, I would take it. At least, I think I would.
Before the day has even started, I’ve got a to-do list running through my head. Some days, my energy matches the list. Other days, like today, I can’t imagine accomplishing anything other than napping or reading or both.
The thought of even sitting down for a few minutes with my coffee and my Bible felt like too much effort. I wanted, instead, to just jump right in to all the things I think I have to do.
But I’m finding that at times like these, when I just want to rush through, check off my lists and get ‘er done, these are the times when I most need to stop. Pause. Sit. Listen.
It is often the harder work.
Maybe you noticed, or maybe you didn’t, but I changed the name of the blog this week. Thanks to my super-talented, highly creative friend Alison, the name/theme I’ve been mulling for a year or more finally sees the light of day.
Beauty on the Backroads.
Maybe it’s obvious what I mean by that, but I’m a writer so I’m going to explain it to you anyway.
In this fast-lane life, I’ve discovered beauty on the roads less traveled.
I mean this literally.
When we first moved to our current place of dwelling, we found we had numerous options for getting from one place to another. The fastest way is always the highway we can see from our house. And for a while, we took that route because we knew it and it was familiar. But with GPS on our phones, finding the back way, the country roads was a less daunting task than it could have been. I don’t like to be lost, and I am directionally challenged, so GPS is my safety net. (Although it has let me down before.)
These are the roads that offer views of the river. Old houses. Farms. Birds. Animals. Towering trees. Flowers. On the back roads, we’ve found one-lane bridges and covered bridges. We’ve seen farmhouses that make us feel we’ve traveled back in time. Because we live in Amish country, the horses and buggies are more prevalent on the back roads. We’ve discovered parks we didn’t know existed. Businesses we’ve never heard of. Roadside stands we never would have seen.
I won’t argue that you should never take the highway anywhere, but I would advocate for taking the back roads once in a while. You never know what you might see.
I mean this figuratively, too.
I used to think life was like a point A to point B kind of journey and the idea was to get from one to the other as quickly as possible. I don’t think I’m alone in this thinking.
Whether I’m driving or grocery shopping or just going about my business, I feel like everyone is hurrying past, getting on to the next thing.
In my 20s, all I wanted to do was get married. When we were married, all I wanted to do was have kids. When we had kids, all I wanted was for them to be out of diapers. And then to go to school. When my husband was in seminary, I just wanted it to be over. Now my kids are in school, my husband is working full-time and sometimes I just want to slow time.
I’ll be 40 in a couple of years, and I’m not in any hurry to get anywhere.
I used to want to have a successful writing career as soon as possible. I have tons of ideas that clog my brain but not enough time, or so I think. And I think I’m running out of time. Won’t the ship have sailed before I even had a chance to board?
But I don’t want to rush. I don’t want a hastily built life. That’s not what lasts in the long term.
So, I’m trying to pay more attention. To ignore the lure of the highway life that tells me I have to get to a certain point by a certain time or I will have failed to live correctly. To recognize that even if I’m not on the road I thought I would be on that there is beauty here.
I’m learning it’s less about where I’m going and when and more about how I’m going.
The back roads are slower. They meander. Sometimes the ups and downs, twists and turns make you sick to your stomach. But sometimes you catch a glimpse of something that makes your heart beat a little faster. Sometimes you get a little bit lost, but then you find your way through it and the next time it happens, it’s not so scary.
Beauty on the backroads. More than anything else it’s the theme of what I write these days. Things you read here on the blog, things I’ve yet to release to the world in book form.
I believe it’s okay to take the highway sometimes, and I believe it’s crucial to take the back roads at least once. I believe we’re all headed somewhere, but the way we get there isn’t always clear. Or straight. Or the same as anyone else.
I believe it’s important to tell each other about the beautiful things we see along the way, even if we find ourselves on a road we never meant to travel.
So, what have you seen on the back roads of life?