“I live in Charlotte, North Carolina, 200 miles from the coast. And yet our local Wal-Mart has a random smattering of seagulls that soar overhead and eat French fries and other debris from neighboring fast food restaurants. The truth is the seagulls are lost. They’ve taken a wrong turn. And instead of discovering where they went wrong, they’ve settled for an asphalt parking lot rather than the salty sea. They’ve reconciled themselves to feeding on the refuse and trash of harried shoppers rather than the fresh seafood cuisine of their feathered forefathers.
- Sharon Jaynes
“Life is a highway…” the song sings. Life is like a highway in many ways. It is a constant progression towards our destiny - who we are meant to be.
Like every other journey, sometimes the scenery changes as we go along, or the weather changes, or the terrain changes.
There are beautiful parts and not so beautiful parts. There are stops along the way, places where we can pull over and linger or even park if we wish. There are signs pointing us to where we need to go, and there are signs pointing us to many places we don’t need to go, advertising destinations that distract us from truly becoming all that we can be in the end.
Sometimes the distractions along our paths cause us to veer off course and we lose our focus for a little while. Some become so distracted they never find their way back on to their true path. Sidetracked by the enthrallment of temporary delights, they become lost along the way. For those who do find their way back, we have lost momentum on our journey, but hopefully there is still time enough to reach our true destiny.
One must not linger too long at the cheap attractions offered on the roadside billboards of life. The distractions peddling some enjoyment, some titillation, some bargain blast of excitement which, like the intense rush of a roller coaster ride, thrills us
for a moment but ultimately keeps us from moving forward to a life of real fulfillment and true bliss.
It can be so easy to get caught up in the bright flashing lights, the sweet taste of the moment as we gaze in wonder at what appears to be an enchanted wonderland laid out before us. The brightness of the electrifying illusion gives us temporary escape from our rough and rocky path, but it is not where we ultimately belong. The shoddy prize shouted by the advertisement quickly loses its appeal if we are wise enough to realize it has blinded us with its artificial brightness. It confused us about where we wanted to go and delayed our way to our destiny.
If we spend all the days of our lives on the cheap carnival rides of instant gratification, we escape the difficulty of our path, but we also lose our chance to build something real on our journey through life. We miss the true gifts of adversity.
At last we begin to see behind the flashing lights of excitement. We look ahead and see our true destiny glistening like an unfolding dream far away from us at the end of the road. Suddenly we realize the hour is late and begin to run towards it.
But we will be out of time and all we will have to show are dirty, wrinkled ticket stubs for the fleeting rides we took along the journeys of our lives.
“So many roads. So many detours. So many choices. So many mistakes.” - Sarah Jessica Parker
Excerpted from Sidewalk Flowers, Vol. 1
Copyright © Glynda Lomax
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