Sunday, December 28, 2008

Where the Road Leads

My sister and I awoke at dark-thirty this morning to take her to the airport in Austin. As we backed out of the driveway and headed down the road that today would lead us both away from home, I found myself amazed at the fact that we had shared ten days together as a family. A rare treat any time of the year, but especially during the holidays.

As I pulled away from the airport, I contemplated which route to choose to return to my house. Due to the rain and the hectic pace of I-35, I thought I'd take the longer, slower country route. But then I noticed a new road up ahead. A toll road that I'd heard good things about. One that beckoned me with its large letters advertising that it would take me to Waco. In spite of knowing little about the road's route and having no coins for the toll, I opted for the toll road.

It took a little while for me to figure out that I could drive to my heart's content, allowing the cameras to take pictures of my vehicle so that the authorities could bill me for the tolls later. Once I figured out this process, I enjoyed the drive over this unpopulated area outside the city that appeared to have been previously uncharted. The three other cars on my side of the road alternated places with me as we navigated the misting rain, watching the miles to Dallas decrease sign by sign.

After about forty minutes, my relaxing drive on the new road morphed into clenched jaws and white-knuckled hands on the steering wheel as I saw an unexpected sign: Toll road ends. Exit now onto I-35. With the rain starting to pound heavier, the toll road forced me to enter I-35 just north of Georgetown; its advertisement--that it would take me to Waco--a lie.

Although the toll road saved me from driving on I-35 for that brief period, I felt taken advantage of. I will receive a bill in the days ahead for driving on a road that I would not have taken had I known where it led. Yet, I know now not to use that road in the future.

I see similar parallels with some of the roads I have chosen to take in my life. I probably wouldn't have chosen some of them if I had known ahead of time the exact route that they would take or the place where they would end. Yet, some of them have taught me valuable lessons that I would not have learned any other way than by walking down them.

So as the New Year rapidly approaches, which road will you take? The one that is known, the one that is unknown, or maybe a combination of each? Whichever you choose, may you enjoy the scenery as you move down it.

4 comments:

Momma Bean said...

Happy New Year, dear friend. Glad you had such a wonderful time with family.

Britta Coleman said...

Toll roads intimidate me. I still carry quarters and throw them at the machine, and am strangely elated when the red light turns to green and I can GO!

Happy New Year!

Krista said...

You know what I just figured out? YOU will be the kind of Mom whose kids hear about Jesus while you are making PB&J sandwiches!! You will find something deeply significant in it somehow. Can't wait to see that!

Alyssa said...

MB - I'm glad you did, too!

BC - Glad to know I'm not the only one who is intimidated by toll roads.

K - That's a high compliment coming from you. I hope I get an opportunity to do just that!