Epiphany upon
the road less traveled

A rambling by Julie Bowerman,
July 2000

My choices were 495 South and 495 North. I had planned to go east. Vehicles zipped beside and around me, as I blinked at the signs and picked, hoping the southern route I'd exited continued in the same direction. I was wrong. I said a bad word.

My son, Kyle, buckled in the back seat, watched attentively over my shoulder. Calmly, he said, "It's OK, Mommy, every time you think you've gone the wrong way, it turns out to be right."

It was a transforming moment. I'd planned to take the beltway around the east side of Washington, D.C., because it was a road I'd driven before. Not exactly a pleasant experience, but a somewhat familiar one. And I had a strategy: stay in the middle! Immediately after realizing I'd chosen incorrectly, the exit for 295, the road I'd considered and discarded as an unknown, appeared. It wasn't the plan, but it seemed to be heading in the right direction. I aimed for the ramp, intrigued by the sign stating NO TRUCKS.

We emerged between low walls of golden stones. Smooth and truck-free, the highway wound within view of the Capitol and scattered monuments, sparkling on this misty morning. Now and then the stone walls ascended to lovely arched overpasses. Kyle decided he wanted to live beside that road. And it was a shortcut!

It might be a bit too obvious of a metaphor, but I'm seeing my life in those road decisions. Whenever I think I've mapped out a plan, the signs change. Or I do something stupid. And amazingly, it all works out, better than I expected.

I think having the faith of a 7-year-old helps, too.

[ by Julie Bowerman ]