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What’s Next?

There’s a long, winding road that leads to and from my neighborhood. To go anywhere, you have to take this 10 mile ride. It’s woefully lacking in street lighting and shrouded in tall trees, so without sunlight, it’s incredibly dark.

My daily routine requires me to be on that road in the wee hours before dawn or late in the midnight hour. Initially, it terrified me to drive it, but not having an option, i had to persevere. Driving it in the daytime helped me understand the twists and turns, and allowed me to use the landmarks to gauge where i was, so i began to learn. Then the rains came. I don’t like driving in the rain. Period. Day or night, familiar or foreign, it gives me anxiety. Now combine the two – dark and rainy. Many times i’d return home white knuckled and shaking. But without options, i pressed on.

After a while, i’d grown so familiar with the drive that half of it would go by completely unnoticed. All of a sudden, i was by the store, or instantly, the library would appear. It had become rote. So for fun, let’s throw in some fog. Not the “marine layer” i grew up with, but thick, patchy fog that turned the darkness grey. As it is, folks drive with their brights on because it’s so dark, but they fail to turn them off in the fog. I’m literally driving blind.

Today, i conquered this road. In this morning’s predawn, the fog was heavy; i couldn’t see 20 feet in front of me and the sides of the road didn’t exist. It brought an apocalyptic visual to the current social malaise. The roads were desolate, just a few cars traversing it, bright lights fully engaged. But i was unfazed. I hugged the turns like a pro and met headlights with nonchalance. The darkness was almost comforting in its familiarity. Anxiety was at zero. I’ve leveled up.

Georgia’s motorways are a spiderweb of state roads, backroads and highways. There are no straight lines or neatly designed grids like in So Cal. You could be on GA 212, get to GA 20, turn and be on GA 212 and GA 20 at the same time! There are a number of “locals know” cutbacks to get you from one road to another, but signage to tell you when you’ve reached them is almost non-existent. Most of these roadways are equally unlit and winding, some looking like progress forgot to stop by and update them on technology. I’ve watched too many crime shows to be comfortable on them alone, but this is what i have to work with. These are my stomping grounds.

God has a funny way of preparing us for situations. His version of training isn’t much like ours, as His timing is not our timing. Trial by fire seems harsh, but in the end, you realize its necessity. After 2.5 months, i can fearlessly drive my 10 mile stretch and a few others with my eyes closed. Well, maybe one eye. Now having mastered this, curiosity begs, “What’s next?”

If i were to proffer a guess, i’d said i need to be secure in my ability to navigate these murky waters because i’m destined to be on them even more. I don’t know why or what’s to come for me here, but apparently, i need to be a boss driver to obtain it. Perhaps i’m meant to be a mobile bakery, a purveyor of roadside treats. I have no idea, i just have to roll with it.

In my waxing philosophical this morning, i encourage you to press on. You may not like what’s in front of you, but “like” has little to do with life. Persever. Keep going. Scream, cry, yell and cuss all the way through it if you need to, but don’t let it beat you. Whatever your It is – work, school, health, finances, relationships – don’t let it conquer you. You are more than a conqueror! You are greater than a victor! See everything as a training experience, a proving ground to get you to the next level. There is something to learn in every twist and turn of your travels. There are adversities barreling down the road towards you blinding you to your way. You choose how you handle them. Overstand that fear and faith cannot exist at the same time. Either you cower before your challenge or you step towards it in the full belief of victory. Have faith.

These are unsettling times. I won’t validate the enemy by speaking it’s name, but while our current social climate is unnerving, it’s just another training program. It’s the rain on your dark road. It’s your high beams in the fog. You already know what you need to do and how to do it, slay and keep moving! This too shall pass and we will all make it to our destinations stronger and smarter than we were when we stepped out. Press on, my friends. Press on.

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