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Determination gives you the resolve to keep going in spite of the roadblocks that lay before you.  Denis Waitley

“Things are always working out for me.”  I say this often, whisper it to myself as I wipe the sleepy-seeds from my eyes in the morning, sometimes say it out loud as I move through my full and lively days, and I speak it again as I nestle into my pillow at night.  I believe it, that things are always working out for me, that, on some level, things are always working out for all of us.  And the working out – it’s usually easy.  And it started out that way in the wee hours of last Wednesday morning, with smooth dry roads leading me to Marquette County’s airport and an on-time lift-off and a smooth sailing ride to Detroit and an early departure from Detroit to Denver.  In fact, I was feeling downright cocky, in my upgraded to First-Class seat, sipping my bottled water and writing e-mails to friends.  “I’m off,” I said, “on my grand adventure, off to visit grandbaby Viren and his parents in Laramie for the weekend!”  “This is easy for me,” I added, as we flew high above the plains of Nebraska.  “I love traveling!”

And it might have been right about then, as we soared above those cloud-covered plains and into Colorado, somewhere east of Denver International Airport, that the ease in my morning brushed up against the glitch, the weather glitch, the glitch that slowed us down and kept us circling and circling and circling, until, an hour after we were supposed to land, we finally touched down on the runway in Denver.  I had talked to my son, Pete, the day before, and it had seemed as if the storm would be heading east before I began the two-hour car-ride part of my journey heading north to Laramie.  But clearly, as the snow swirled outside our now-on-the-ground plane’s window, I could see that the weather might be an issue.  By cell phone, Pete and I came up with a new plan.  I would start the trek north, drive to Boulder for lunch, and then be on my way toward Fort Collins and Cheyenne before turning onto I-80 for the final thirty-minute stretch of the drive.  It was reassuring – the sun was shining in Laramie, and the towns I’d be driving through were overflowing with motels and restaurants, just in case this spell of snowy weather kept up. Things are always working out for me and I was on a mission.  In my mind’s eye, I could see him, that little bundle of buoyant always-moving joy, my nine-month-old grandson, and I was determined to get on the road and give it a go.

Even though it didn’t seem that necessary – the snow wasn’t sticking to the pavement in Denver – something told me to dig a little deeper, pay the extra eighty dollars for an upgrade to an all-wheel drive.  And so it was a Subaru that I was driving an hour later through the streets of Boulder on an afternoon in mid-April, and it was Christmas carols that were popping into my head as I slushed along, as I stared out at trees weighted down with eight inches of heavy wet new snow and sidewalks completely covered.  It was a Subaru, and I’m comfortable behind the wheel of a Subaru, and I’m confident driving through snow, and it really wasn’t that bad, nothing a gal like me who lives in the Upper Peninsula of Michigan, isn’t used to.  That’s what I told Pete during our next phone call, the one as I headed into Fort Collins.  And later still, as afternoon tipped into evening, that’s what I told my daughter-in-law, Shel, as I, in my Subaru, approached Cheyenne.  “But wait a minute, Shel,” I added into my cell phone, “I think I just saw something odd; I think I just saw a sign that said that I-80 is closed.” “Do you see semis parked along the exit?” she responded.  And it was then, as I approached the turn-off that would take me on the homestretch to that cooing, babbling, pointing, giggling, crawling, walking-on-furniture, brilliant, adorable grandson of mine, my heart sunk.  “Yup!” I said into the phone.  “There they are.  Hundreds of them parked along the side of the road.”

Now, there are times when you come up against a roadblock, one that won’t budge, and you know that it’s in your best interest to let go, that it’s just not working out, that it’s just too hard to continue; there are times when it’s wise to say that this just wasn’t meant to be, not now at least.  And it’s your gut that tells you that the timing is off.  And your gut, it doesn’t lie.  Well, my gut wasn’t saying any of this; my gut was saying that it was time to move forward, that when one road closes, find another.  And that’s what I did, thanks to the man and the woman at the Holiday Inn Express in Cheyenne.  They suggested I head north on I-25, away from my destination, to Wheatland, then south again and a little west on the two-lane road into Laramie.  “You can do it!” they handed me a map.  “You can do it!” they cheered me on.  Things are always working out for me!  And off I went, chugging along in my all-wheel-drive, off I went sixty miles north at forty miles an hour, in the final hours of daylight, away from the hundreds and thousands and what seemed like millions of parked trucks, away from the city packed with people who had run into a roadblock that the man and the woman at the Holiday Inn Express said might be standing for days, off I went following the lone semi-truck all the way to Wheatland.

And I’m not going to lie to you, it wasn’t easy, this trip that was supposed to take two hours, Denver to Laramie, this trip that ended up taking the majority of two days.  I’m not going to lie to you, it wasn’t easy swallowing my pride along with the final mouthfuls of nuts and kale chips, and walking through the door at the Armory in Wheatland at nine o’clock when all the motels in town were booked solid with stranded travelers.  It wasn’t easy heading back south on that same road the next day and turning onto the now-open I-80 along with the millions of truckers that were once again on the go, albeit slowly, only to be turned around twelve miles from that baby’s house in Laramie when the road, for some reason, closed.  It wasn’t easy ending up again in Cheyenne, the stuck-city, and having to find a another new way to get to my destination.

But I will tell you this, if you’ve never stayed in an Armory, it is a heart-opening experience and an army cot can be comfortable and the people gracious.  I can tell you that truckers look out for each other and are kind to gals driving Subarus, and their road advice can’t be beat.  I can tell you that determination, along with a gut that says to move forward, carries you far.  I can tell you that there is always an alternative route to your pot of gold, when the one that you thought would take you there is blocked.  I can tell you that things are always working out for me, that, in the late afternoon of Day Two, Highway 287 out of Fort Collins, newly opened after being closed for a few days, was my yellow brick road to Oz.  And the pot of gold?  It was waiting for me in Laramie when I arrived just in time for dinner.

Viren at the park April 21, 2013

Viren at the park
April 21, 2013

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