I recently spent three days in a car on the road. I left NC on a Thursday morning, passed through VA, WV, and OH, stopping to see old friends in IN. The trip continued on Saturday morning, passing through IN and MO and stopping for the night in KS. Most of the day Sunday was spent driving through KS (who knew KS was such a big state?) and finally arriving in CO in the late afternoon. Whew! I’m tired just thinking about it again.

Road trippin’. Over 1600 miles. In a car. By myself.

It gives you a lot of time to think.

And for a writer, it gives you a lot of time to consider the deeper meaning of a road trip…especially as it comes in the middle of one of the longest metaphorical roads in my life. A job search is filled with long stretches of quiet, sudden sharp twists and turns, and plenty of delays.

Not too different than a long road trip.

Make sure your vehicle is in good working order. Driving in the mountains through the rain is not my favorite. Movement in the median of the road caught my eye. In a flash a young deer ran out into the road. That could have been an ugly ending to the trip. Good thing I had a new brake job! Miraculously, the deer was not hit and there was no pile-up of cars trying to stop.

How often is life like that? We are tooling down a certain road and something unexpected jumps out at us. Just like preparing our vehicles for a road trip, taking the time each day to prepare ourselves for what life might throw at us can help avoid a big messy wreck down the road.

Sometimes you gotta work with the people around you. Before I could get out of the mountains of WV, traffic backed up for several miles because of an accident. There’s nothing like snaking through the mountains at 5 miles an hour. At one point, I heard a siren coming from way behind me and wonder how in the world is this ambulance going to get through all this traffic? Evidently everyone else was wondering the same thing because they all started trying to get out of the way! Some went left, some went right, some tried to straddle the middle. If it weren’t for the seriousness of the situation and the screaming siren, it would have been comical. But suddenly all the drivers realized we had to move in the same direction to give the ambulance room to pass, so by some silent signal we all pulled over to the right to let the driver through.

Sometimes wrecks do happen around us and life traffic grinds to a halt. The wreck may just be blocking our path or it may be actually happening in our own lives. Either way, while we wait, there’s often plenty of work to be done. Wrecks don’t get cleaned up by themselves. Circumstances don’t change just for wishing they would. Working with those circumstances through God’s guidance makes the clean-up go faster.

We may have to walk where we can’t see the path. That rainy day showed me all the variations of moisture in the air, from the heavy fog, accompanied by that annoying light mist that makes your windshield wipers scrape across the glass all the way to the heavy downpours that make it difficult to see.

The rain in our lives is the same. It can be a slight, but pervasive, little mist that is just enough to annoy you on a daily basis. Or it can be a gulley-washer like you’ve never experienced before. And yet, our journey continues. And the only choice we have is to slow down, peer through the fog and rain, and allow God to wipe our windshields clean so we can take that next step.

Progress is made by moving forward. I love the signs at the state lines that say, “Thank you for visiting Ohio” or “Welcome to Colorado”. It shows I’m making progress and that the days of driving will eventually end! Backtracking doesn’t help us reach our destinations. Some days there is just no way to get where you are going next, except to square your shoulders, get in the car, and keep on driving.

Life moves in the same way. Square your shoulders and keep moving forward. We can’t move into the future with our eyes glued to the past. God will be with us all the way, we just gotta keep moving forward.

What about you? Are you on one of life’s journeys right now? What are you learning on the way that will equip you for whatever comes next?

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