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Looking out the back window of the old pick up truck as it pulls away from the  beat up old farmhouse out in the country.  The shutters hanging loosely from the windows, the paint peeling, the wind blowing the wind chimes on the porch.  As the tires leave the gravel drive and turn onto the dirt road, the dust begins to blow behind, leaving it a faint memory.   Moving along the road hitting a hole here or there, bouncing around the cab of that old truck.  As you near the paved road, things are bumpy but manageable and you can see a smoother ride ahead.

Once you hit that newly paved road, things seem so much simpler, smoother, easy-going.  Suddenly you can enjoy the sunset in the distant, the wind blowing through you hair, the smell of clean country air.  All your senses become alive again.  But sometimes without warning that smooth paved road has a few rough patches, and there you go bouncing around that cab again, catching your breath, holding on through the rough patches.

This is what the last couple of years have felt like.  A year ago I was preparing for that final day, that final moment when I could pull away from that old abused house and move on. The first couple of months were rough, they weren’t the same as before, but it wasn’t a newly paved road until he was out on his own finally.  Then we could breath again.  All my senses came to life and I was for the first time in so long ALIVE!  Everyday felt like a beautiful country summer night, with a vibrant sunset.

Then about six months ago it felt like we started hitting those rough patches in the road again.  I’ve been sitting here reflecting on all the things that have happened in the last six months.  The people who have entered my life, the ones who have left and the relationships that have grown through these less than perfect road conditions of life.

I’m constantly amazed at how hard things feel at times, how unprepared for whatever it is that is being thrown at me I feel.  The moments that I sit alone in my thoughts, doubting my ability to raise these beautiful souls I have been blessed with the honor of protecting through their childhood.  Yet when I open my tear filled eyes, take a deep breath and look around, I’m never alone.  I have been placed in the exact place that I need to be so many times, to be supported, loved, and held up when I needed it most.  And in most cases, those are the moments when I have completely lost all hope, faith and trust in life and myself.

I have been so use to a life behind a wall, protecting myself from each new blow I’d be taking, that this open road has been nothing short of terrifying and exhilarating at the same time.  I try really hard to look at the lessons in all of life’s difficult moments;  knowing we are never given more than we can handle, and everything happens to teach us something, to prepare us for what’s next.

I’m reminded of a post a few months back I miss you.. Many of the growth moments over the past six month have included removing or adding people to my circle.  As my walls have been down, more people have been able to get closer to me then they would have had the opportunity in the past.  And yet others have been able to exit as well.  There are days I really miss my friends who I have parted ways with, but realize I’m really missing the old times and security that I felt during that time in my life in those relationships. But even with those very important relationships ending, there have been people right around the corner ready to jump in the cab with me, who I needed for these next chapters of my life.

Sometimes I wonder, even wish, I could go back and tell my 30-year-old self, even my 20-year-old self, that I would be ok, I could make it if I got out at that time.  Preventing myself from having to go through some of the things I endured over those 20 years.  But then I’m reminded of how important all the lessons have been, how every rough patch in the road, every smooth road and beautiful sunset, all of it has shaped me into exactly who I need to be for this time in my life.

As I look at the people in my life, the things that we have all had to experience and the struggles we have had in our lives, wishing they’d never had to experience those things, or we could have meet earlier in life.  But in fact had we not gone through those things, we wouldn’t be able to appreciate the new tires on the old truck, the freshly paved road, or the people sitting in the cab of that old beat up truck riding through those rough patches, quietly sitting with you as the road becomes smoother enjoying the intoxicating smell of the fresh country air, or  even sometimes that one person that decides to reach out to hold your hand as you look at the beautiful sunset in the rear view mirror together.

Life is never perfect, the road doesn’t always come with a “Warning! Rough Road Ahead” sign, but as long as you keep filling your tank, making necessary repairs to that old truck as you go, and be open to allowing people to ride down the road with you; you will be able to make it through even the roughest of roads.