driving to atlanta

EmPulse for Week of May 31, 2010

driving to atlanta

Tim Norton lives just outside of Knoxville in Maryville, TN (locally pronounced Mur-ē-vul). On May 21st, he had the occasion to drive to Atlanta, the very day a sink-hole appeared right in the middle of Interstate HWY 24, eastbound. Ergo—a simple four hour trip turned into a leisurely six hour drive to Atlanta, along the rural byways of Tennessee.

Tim recounts, “I was forced to go to the Internet and my printed, neatly folded 2006 edition of the Official Tennessee Travel and Tour Map (I don’t have GPS) for instructions on an appropriate re-route. Along the path of my pre-departure discovery, several re-route suggestions came my way via the internet, however radio reports made it clear that those published routes were clogged and delayed, so I set out to chart my own course.”  [Something many of us have done when life’s road has taken us over some unexpected bumps, or, in this case, around a deep, dark sink-hole.]

Tim continues, “From Nashville I departed southward on I-65, exiting on State Road 99 on a heading that eventually took me onto other routes through Lewisburg, Hudson State Park, Shelbyville, Lynchburg (population 361, and the famous home of the Jack Daniels Distillery), Winchester, Cowan, Sewanee, Saint Andrews, and Monteagle at which point I was well below the sinkhole’s location on eastbound I-24. In all, this detour consumed about 1 hour longer than what the normal interstate routing would have required. But, the journey was scenic, relaxing, and, quite frankly, felt like an adventure.” Well, well…, not a total loss then; and not even the anticipated two hour torture of stop & go traffic.

Unlike Tim, though, many of us are not willing to set out on our own, to chart our own course. We come up against a major sink-hole in life and stop dead. We cannot go forward, and the traffic of our past blocks us from making a U-turn to start over again to find another route. We are stuck! Some of us stay stuck for months, even years; some of us make it a life-time pattern and perspective—an attitude, never rising to Carpe Diem! We’re content to believe it’s all about carpeting.

There are no real explanations for people getting stuck. It’s just one of those things that happen to us; yet, until we get frustrated enough with the way we are, we will, for sure, remain in the sad state of stuck-ness. You may find yourself in many states-of-stuckness throughout life—commitments you never should have made in the first place, insistent loyalties to those who have long since disregarded you, starting projects (sheds, siding, books, ships-in-a-bottle, paintings, afghans) but never finishing them, complex problems that still need resolution (eg- the Poincaré conjecture)…, convoluted relationships. These are sink-holes all, that drain you of your focus, energy, time, and ability to think clearly about priorities and people that should take precedent, that should draw your attention to what is truly important in life and in the service of our fellow human beings on this planet.

Sometimes the shortest distance between two points is the Interstate. But though it may be the most direct route to success, or money, or power, or position, it may also hold such gigantic sink-holes that swallow you whole, dreams and all. You may not find yourself or the God who made you unless you set out on your own and chart your own course.  Thanks Tim!

Have a nice week.


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