Photo: Bartek Wojtas
“..This much I know is true. That God blessed the broken road that led me straight to you…” – (2004) Bless The Broken Road Recorded by: Rascal Flatts Composers: Jeff Hanna, Marcus Hummon, Robert E. Boyd.
Does this sound familiar to you? A few days ago, as I was on my way to an appointment, I was driving north on one of the main streets in the suburb where I live. There are three lanes northbound, and three lanes southbound. It is a very well-known, heavily traveled boulevard. The speed limit norm allows cruising around 40-45mph. Suddenly, I am hampered by bumper-to-bumper traffic. With a rather large exhale, I said out loud in frustration, “Arg! A standstill. Figures!” Inch by inch, foot by foot, I finally arrived at the intersection I was driving toward. The traffic congestion delayed me for some twenty minutes. As I was able to get a clearer view of the problem, which caused the bottleneck, it angered me even more. Yes, I admit, flew off the handle inside my car. It was unexpected road construction at the busiest time of day for commuters.
Photo: Rodolfo Quiros
Hours later, as I returned home and caught up on social media, I read a notice from the city concerning the specific intersection slowing all of us drivers down to a halt. It stated that workers were widening the lanes, turn lanes, and reconstructing the curbs, etc. That’s actually good news, if not for the last part of the traffic notice. The city was good enough to let us in on just how long the project would take….December of 2019! That’s a lot of wet concrete, jack-hammering, sawing, frame-working, and all that goes with it. A tad less than six months for that one intersection. Ouch!
Well, at least the old pavement itself doesn’t have emotion, pain, and a way to calculate its own history. It’s very much unlike the way we are constructed.
I don’t know about your life, but I have been hammered, sawed, and broken up a few times. Even my “No Passing” stripes have been redrawn. Can you identify?
Shortly after I checked my social media, I locked onto a TV documentary on the National Geographic Channel. It was a two hour thrill about the Grand Canyon in Arizona. Stunningly brilliant cinematography, it was a an eye-popper. It was shot by a hiking crew which began their adventure from the floor of the Grand Canyon. Not only did they have shoulder cameras, but they also shot their POV scenes from helmet and body cams. I couldn’t take my eyes off the screen. It was more than fascinating, it was awe-inspiring. And then the unanticipated spooky moments came. As they slowly ascended up the canyon walls, mile by mile, their trek involved tiny narrow ledges, some barely seven inches in width. One misstep, and it’s at least a 500-foot drop. Yes, I looked away at times. My mouth couldn’t hold back the words, “Nope, not for me. Never!” I decided, right then and there, I would take road construction tie-ups any time of day.
Not unlike the well-planned professional hikers, engineers for the road construction have a blueprint to adhere to. The mapped-out details will take the more narrow sections of lanes and broaden them for future traffic. Their scope involves a turn ramp for easy right turns with only a yield sign for safe merging. Of course, new curbs will be built to accommodate the widened street. For night driving, good solid curbs have kept my tires from meandering off the road to where I’ve needed to be.
The times my life have been broken-up, jack-hammered, and cut away, were always for a refashioned purpose. Mainly in retrospect did I ever see it clearly. Like those adventurous Grand Canyon hikers, I often found myself trying to balance my stride on very thin ledges, step by step. It seems to me, during those jaunts, I never noticed the drop-off danger just to my left or right. But the reality was, my boots were on a potential life-ending, risky trail before the constructive remodeling came about. Like surgery, life construction often is full of hardships. There’s breaking, bending, stripping, and scraping, all in the process. Old paint must come off. Guardrails which aren’t high enough are torn down. Stubby curbs often aren’t visual enough. With a journey on that street, one can easily be distracted causing a kissing of the ditch.
Right now, you might be thinking of some tough steamrolling in your own life. It may be from your past, or your present. If you believe it’s never happened…it will. Possibly you thought you might not get through it all before the new cement dries. Just gazing at the new scaffolding was a mystery at the time. In fact, it could be you hunted for a detour, but in the end, you had to go through the unsettled intersection to see more clearly. Am I right? Usually reconstruction delivers you more easily to where you are meant to be. Sometimes, the process WILL temporarily hurt, and maybe lengthy on the calendar, but the destination is the goal.
Meanwhile, it’s wise to observe the warning signs on the beaten path ahead. Sure, it may cause a bottleneck, slowing you down from where you set the cruise control, but in the end, it serves.
There’s one thing to keep in mind. Nobody ever remodels to design a smaller product. God doesn’t work that way either. Count on it. I know do.
When getting the rough places straightened in life, fill-up with fuel for the race.
“You enlarge my steps under me, and my feet have not slipped.” – Psalm 18:36 (NAS)