Sunday, July 18, 2010

Just a bit farther down the road

My new job has me traveling to new places, so my friends at my old job got me a TomTom as a going away present. Only problem is, if you don't have an address, the TomTom can't get you there.

I was headed to the Lawrence County Fairgrounds, so I called the office there to get directions. I scribbled some notes and headed north. I turned west as the directions indicated when I realized my notes were a little fuzzy about just how far I was supposed to go. Surely I can't miss a fairgrounds, I thought, so I kept going. . . and going . . . and going until I thought apparently you can miss a fairgrounds, so I turned around.

I watched both sides of the road, certain I would find a fairgrounds this time, and had faith until I drove all the way back into Lawrenceville.

I turned around again. And, again I started off and went as far as I thought I needed to go and stopped. With no fairgrounds in site, I called a coworker who gave me directions. Armed with knowledge, I returned to the path until I got to the point where my coworker said "if you get to here, you've gone too far." Somehow, I had missed it again.

Late beyond repair, I stopped at a house where a man was mowing his yard, and I asked for directions.

"You have to keep going," he said. "You've stopped too soon. The fairgrounds is farther down the road."

It was then I realized that the directions from my coworker were from HER house. I was coming from the opposite direction, so what was "too far" for her was only the beginning for me.

I had to keep going.
I stopped too soon.

How often do we do that? Stop too soon. Fail to take one more step. Fail to do the one last thing that will put us where we need to be. Fail to plot our course. We misinterpret signs and take the advice of friends who aren't where we are and aren't who we are, and we miss the place where we're supposed to be.

I got back in the car and drove, and then drove more, past the point where I had stopped before and there, just a little bit farther down the road, was the fairgrounds. It was there all the time just waiting for me to find it, claim it, enjoy it.

What is waiting for you, just a bit farther down the road?

Photo credit: Tyler Ackerman, CWCHS cross country runner who understands what it means to go just a little bit farther down the road. Sorry, can't remember if this was my photo or his mother's photo, but too good not to share!

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Live Out Loud

For years, I've been a bystander of the Fourth of July.

After the divorce, the kids always spent the holiday with their father's family. I knew they enjoyed their cousins, so I never fussed over it. The first couple years, I would walk uptown to watch the fireworks display, but it just wasn't the same as before.

Fireworks are a "two-persons-minimum" event.

The beauty of fireworks isn't the spectacle in the sky; it's turning to the person next to you and saying "ahhhhhhhh" and "ooooooooh." You can't experience it the way it should be experienced by yourself. I tried, but without someone to interact with, I was merely a bystander, someone who, although present at something, didn't take part in it.
Lately, I've realized that, in many ways I've become a bystander of my life, present, but not taking part. I've become a spectator of my own game of life. I've let life dictate to me,  and I've just gone along for the ride.

It's time to stop.
It's time to actively choose where I go.
It's time to participate fully in the rest of my life.
It's time to go watch the Fourth of July Fireworks and Live Out Loud.

Photo credit: Judy Mae Bingman, 2010 Fourth of July Carmi Car Show