Archive for April 13th, 2010

The Journey

Tuesday, April 13th, 2010

For the first time in a very long time I left work after 8 hours yesterday. It felt a little strange at first, but it didn’t take long to feel at home. Since I’ve been leaving during the peak of rush hour lately the ride home as been slower than normal.

Yesterday I encountered a sight that was hard to put into the back of my mind. As I sat at the red-light on South and Glen streets my thoughts drifted from parts of the day that were behind me to parts I hadn’t reached yet. When the light turned green I slowly accelerated and made my way down the street in front of the Queensbury Hotel. As I glanced out the side window I caught a movement that drew me in and held me there. The movement was an older man walking down the sidewalk. It was clearly visible that something wasn’t quite right. If I had to guess I would say that the man suffered from a stroke. His balance was off and one side of his body seemed limp compared to the other. I felt sorry for him for a moment. The sight of this man made me realize how fortunate I have been up to this point.

I hear people complain every day about everything under the sun. I’m guilty of this as well. However, I also have a great appreciation for people who struggle mightily and still find a way to stay positive. Although I didn’t know the man and don’t have a clue how he acts, I gave him a life of his own through my thoughts after I passed him and turned onto Ridge Street.

I put myself in his place and imagined what I would do in that situation. My life has revolved around going here and going there. I’ve never had any physical limitations other than my battle against diabetes. I wondered if I would have a positive outlook if something came about and suddenly changed the way I had to live my life.

It made me go back to a few different periods of my life to find an answer. It was only seconds before I understood that I would be a fighter. I would battle moments of depression, but I would make it my goal to find a purpose. I would try to use the experiences in my life to help other people who dealt with the same type of thing. I’m not exactly sure how I would do it, but I would probably begin by writing my story. It wouldn’t matter whether it was fiction or non-fiction as long as I could bring the reader along with me through the ups and downs.

Every journey, no matter where it starts, is going to have bumps and potholes that we must navigate around. There are no journeys that are stress free. In some ways every day that we wake up is a new journey. We may think we have a routine that doesn’t change much, but in all reality there isn’t one person out there that can predict everything that will happen in their life from the time they wake up one morning until the time they fall asleep that night.

We must allow ourselves the ability to adapt to changes. Some changes will be life-changing experiencing while others will be nothing more than a simple detour on the way to work.

Sometimes the detour might lead us to something that we need. At the time we might not be able to acknowledge it, but it finds a hiding spot inside of us. The man that I saw on the sidewalk could be something that I needed to see. It brought out some thoughts that I might have misplaced along the way. It made me realize that I should help others more and complain less. I have many battles to fight, but there’s always someone who can use another soldier in their army. It’s never good to do it alone. I used to think that one good friend was more than any one person could handle. I’ve changed my mind about that over the years. I have people that are very close to me and I’m sure they don’t know how much I rely on them to get me through each and every day. They give me hope and enlighten me when I’m not feeling on top of the world.  I often wonder if I do the same for these people. They make me feel alive and worthwhile.

In the last 3 1/2 years I’ve become great friends with a few people that I never would have had the opportunity to be friends with if I hadn’t encountered a major detour on my journey. I hope they know how much they have given to me. Sometimes I’m not the best communicator in the world and I shy away from being serious which is probably a downfall. I like to act distant and hard to read.

It’s tough when your journey leads you over the continental divide and across the western prairies. You just keep walking and walking and walking. There’s nothing in front of you and nothing behind you. The antelope graze on the prairie while the tarantulas scurry across the pavement in front of you. It’s tough traveling when you really don’t know where the road your on is going.

As the sun rises every morning in the east it’s a gentle reminder that all roads lead to the same place. Some of us take longer journeys than others which can cause some confusion along the way. I’m pretty convinced if we have a plan it doesn’t matter how long it takes us to get there as long as we try to make progress. When the skies are dark and gloomy we must visualize the end of the road. If we can keep this within sight the walk becomes easier. If we can’t the darkness can consume us and spit us out the other side.

I’m a traveler and I’m a blurry figure that blends into the setting sun on the road behind me. For now I’ll keep on walking no matter how sore my feet become.  As long as the mind’s at peace my feet will guide me to a new starting point.