Had lunch with a friend on Friday. She’s the mother of twins, has 3 siblings and as nutty a family as you can imagine. Fair to say she has an excellent perspective on life, her own priorities and a healthy set of values that she desires to pass on to her children.
We talked about navigating relationships through tolerance and honesty. I admitted that even though that is my intent, I have been known to get stuck in my head. When that happens, what I’m thinking on the inside doesn’t match what I’m doing or saying on the outside. That, of course leads to all sorts of self-imposed conflicts.
Years ago, I came up with an analogy for relationships that I think is still a fair representation. My hypothesis was that relationships are like road trips. You have a vehicle, maybe 2, maybe a caravan if you’re bringing along a lot of stuff. You have some tools, perhaps a map, a compass, a flashlight; hopefully they’re in working order. Then you go.
Hopefully you both go the same direction if you’re in different vehicles. You might take different roads because one of you wants to take the freeway fast lane and the other wants to meander through the small towns along the way. Sometimes there’s a thunderstorm and the driving conditions are perilous. Sometimes there’s a traffic jam and you’re simply stuck for a long time inching along but making no progress. It’s frustrating. Sometimes you’re hopelessly lost or out nearly of gas, praying for a service station as you round the next corner. You’re frightened. Sometimes you’re not even sure why you’re driving in the direction you’re headed.
And then sometimes it’s just glorious. The day is sunny and you’re driving along together in the same car without the caravan of stuff and the breeze smells so sweet and you’re holding hands. And if you’re like me, you have your Barbie sunglasses on. And you both feel peaceful about where you’re headed.
Maybe the exact route isn’t entirely mapped out. But the direction feels right and you have trust, gratitude, faith and love.
The rest will work itself out. You might have to fix a broken radiator or flat tire along the way, but you know what? Everyone has to make those accommodations.
I’m happy now. And I once heard someone giving a presentation say “this too shall pass” when referring to her own happiness. But that’s OK. I think I know how to find this road again if I happen to veer off as a result of my own internal craziness. I have trust, gratitude, faith and love.
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