If you were to hear the words, “When the pavement ends and the gravel begins” what would be first thought or vision to pop into your head?
Would those words make you think of a childhood memory or would it make you think of being somewhere out in the country?
I heard these exact words a few months back. Instantly, in less than a minute, without putting any thought to the words. This wasn’t some sort of a test I was taking, it wasn’t a game of word association and not even one of those Writer’s Challenges I have learned to love.
No, they were just simple driving directions.
Simple driving directions sent to us via text message that innocently sparked an instant thought. I have held on to that thought for about 6 months waiting for the perfect time. Now is time.
I have tried to explain this to a few people, some get it, some don’t.
It was about six months ago, my boyfriend and I had decided we needed to cut costs in our lives. The item on the agenda was to cut back on housing cost. At that time and still today, the cost of housing in the Greater Seattle Area continues to go up. It really is beginning to get out of control.
So, the search for a new home began.
It was a Sunday afternoon and we were going to look at a house for rent a little further out from the city of Seattle than where we currently were. As we were getting ready to leave, my boyfriend check his phone for the driving directions texted to him earlier that day, He read the directions to me aloud hoping I could help navigate.
“When you come to the light at the “T” in the road, take a right. Stay on that road toward Fall City. Take the last right before you enter Fall City.”
One minute he was relaying directions to a house, the next minute I was having an epiphany about life.
He continued to read the rest of the directions to me. At one point the directions said, “After you turn right, continue following that road, it gets curvy. You will go up a slight hill. At the top of the hill, when the pavement ends and the gravel begins, it is the first house on the right.”
I sat there for a second before I said anything. Then, “Oh, my God!”
My significant other looked at me like I had lost it. He asked me what the heck was wrong with me. No, actually his words were “Babe! What the hell is wrong with you?”
I explained that the minute he said the words, “when the pavement ends and the gravel begins”, it was the title for a future article I would write.
I think he sort of understood what I was trying to explain. However, again with the “lost my head” expression. Before I began writing, I would not have fully grasped the concept either. I relate it sometimes like when a photographer can see a creative photo in anything from a magnificent building to a leaf on the ground.
Although he said he got my point, my gut said he didn’t get it as much as I would like.
Thinking he probably did get my drift, a part of me wanted him to more than get it. I wanted him to REALLY understand. I wanted him to FEEL it.
Let me put it like this. He is a talker, I am not. He is a FAST talker, I AM NOT! For most of our relationship, his question to me was,
“Babe, I don’t understand. If the words are in your head, and I know they are there, why is it so tough to just say them?”
Every time he asked me that, I knew (in my head) how to explain it. Putting it in to words so he would FEEL it was not so easy for me.
That day, I had a way to explain it verbally I knew he would understand and maybe a little impressed with my verbal communication.
I said, “Look, you always ask me if the words and concept are all in my head, why does it take me so long to say it?”
I continued by correlating my writing with his talking. Until last year, I was under the belief that everyone could write. Honestly, if the thoughts are in your head, what’s so difficult to just write them down?
For the first time ever, I had him speechless for a minute or two.
The verbal and non-verbal communicators had an “Ah-Ha” moment. It has helped us along our path of communication immensely.
If I am feeling it, I need to write it then.
I knew those particular words in our directions were destined to become an article or short story. However, when he asked, I wasn’t quite sure exactly how it would flow or exactly what life lesson would spark my need to write it. As I put it that day, the title and topic had to be filed away until the time was right. I was able to tell him the words, “when the pavement ends and the gravel begins” made me think of our journey along the road of life.
Not unlike a country road, life at times can be going along quite smoothly. Similar to that road we hit gravel. Sometimes with warnings, like the large orange road signs telling the driver to watch for gravel. Then there are the paths that give you no warning at all. The gravel patches with bumps and maybe a road block to get around can be short or last for miles.
If goal is to reach a specific destination, you have a few choices when that road gets a bit rough. You have a choice to turn around and head back. Decide not to arrive at your original destination. If the arrival point is important enough, you might want to think this through. A detour just might lie ahead if you are patient.
Maybe there is an option to reroute your path. This may not be the most direct route. It quite possibly could take a little extra time. Longer traveling time, most likely means rethinking the game plan. But, you will eventually arrive and quite possibly stronger for being persistent. The achievement will likely give a sense of pride.
No mater which path you take in life, expect a few bumps now and then.
Everyone hits a few gravel patches in life once in a while. Some of the rough patches last longer than others. Some a little rougher than the road someone else may be traveling.
Many times it is all a matter of perception. Who the individual is, the final destination they are striving for and how important that goal is to them.
In the end we are in control of our own lives. Personally, there are times I have a hard time believing that to be true. I work hard to be a good person, follow the rules, dot the “i’s” and cross the “t’s”.
Do I slack off at times?
Do ever feel like turning around from the gravel road I am on and forgetting my desired destination?
The answer to both of the questions, along with many more I could throw out there, is an astounding YES!
Life is rough, it is darn rough.
The concept of life being a matter of perception and we can choose how we view things and what we are going to do with those views became real several years ago. I was presented a situation that was going to change my life. I had no choice on the matter. I did have a choice, however, what I would do with the matter at hand.
My decision was to take that detour and try to make it to a positive destination.
When the pavement ends and the gravel begins, pull over and take a good look.
That day we were given directions to a house, I knew this article would be written at some point.
We have been on and off a gravel road for quite some time now. At times it has taken some deep digging within me not to just turn around and cancel the goal I have set. Right now is one of those times. The reason I felt the time was right to write this article.
I’ve pulled over, taken a breath and realize things really could be worse, a lot worse. You see, I have a final destination I know is not only achievable, but worth the bumps. Patience has not always been my best quality, I’m finding myself being like a child asking, “Are we there yet?”.
No, we are not, but look at the positive. We are a lot closer than we were a year ago.
For those of you hitting gravel right now, I hope you are able to take something from this. Just one little piece to help you get to where you truly want to go. Keep driving, you will get there eventually is you don’t turn around.