Traveling On 287

Posted by Janis Daddona on Mar 13, 2013
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    Last week I attended the Super Soul Saturday retreat in Princeton, NJ.  The east coast contingent of Service Space met for a day of mindfulness, meditation, and rich conversations.  It was so perfect!  We were all swimming in an ocean of love and support, so it was effortless and comforting to share stories with each other about life's challenges and rewards.  The theme was service in everyday life.  How do we show up for it?  Surrender to it?  What happens when our fears conflict with the desire to trust that what we are doing is right and necessary though conventional wisdom would tell us otherwise?  The day was full of such stories, and with it the laughter, hugs, and knowing glances that assure us that we are in this together; and the road we travel is taking us home to our highest consciousness.

     I stayed later than I intended to so I could spend time with Bela who'd be moving across the country days later.  In hindsight, I'm so glad I did and would not have chosen differently.  It was a gorgeous time of sharing.  But this meant leaving at 8:15pm for a two and a half hour trip back home.  It would be a long, dark drive.  

     Things started to go quirky when I made two turns out of the neighborhood and immediately lost my bearings.  Darn!  I should have printed out the reverse directions rather than try to think backwards, a talent that is not in my repertoire.  But I made it to my first service station and got my bearings again from the attendant.  The streets were obviously unfamiliar, but the darkness made it difficult to read the signs, compounding my dilemma.  I made it another few miles, but no signs were evident.  I backtracked once again to a second service station to get confirmation of the route I needed to travel, and was gratified that my intuition was correct.  I then needed to travel up route 1 to the Garden State Parkway.  The trip was longer than it was coming down.  Did I miss a sign?  I began to panic about how the sign might read.  Would it tell me north or south?  Or would it just say To Trenton or Newark?  I have no idea where those places are in relationship to me!  I pulled into a third service station for yet more confirmation.  I was assured the sign would indicate north.  Whew!  On the road again, counting all the miles I thought I needed to be aware of when the sign might appear.  In a moment of doubt I saw a GSP sign tacked onto an exit, thinking that was the exit I needed to take.  Instead it was just a cheap way of posting that the turnoff was yet to come.  I stuffed my heart back down into my chest.  There!  Ahead of me was the easy turn off to the road I wanted.  Now, on to 287 and Westchester Avenue.  As a blessing along the way, I had the good fortune to pay a toll to an attendant with a warm, enveloping smile.  "Good evening, sister!  How are you?"  He got back as good as he gave.  I thanked God for sending me a highway angel.  I was heartened.

     These two roads converge for a small span before hooking up to the Tappan Zee Bridge and the Hutchinson River Parkway.  That would seamlessly meld into the Merritt Parkway which I knew like the back of my hand.  The Hutch meant I was safe and on my way home.  So I carefully counted the miles to where I'd see the signs for 287.  There it was right on time, and with it Westchester Ave.  I took the exit.  But wait.  Something was wrong.  The signs kept saying 287 with a forward arrow, but the road was not the one I remembered this morning.  Where was I?!?!  The road went on and on.  It was now 10pm, and it would be difficult to find places to drive into and ask for directions.  Light after light I traveled, doubting the signs that promised what I needed but conflicted with what I had known before.  I saw a bus pulled over to the side.  I wondered if I should ask the driver for directions.  But the light changed, and I chose to move forward...up over a rise...and FINALLY!  There before me was the exit for 287, and with it one that broadcast the coming of the Tappan Zee Bridge.  I knew just over the bridge I'd connect with the Hutch, and it would be a straight shot home.  

     The relief was overwhelming because the panic had been so persistent.  I relaxed my shoulders and loosened my white-knuckled fingers on the steering wheel.  Why did this have to happen right after such a magical day at the retreat?  I was annoyed that all those good vibes went right out the window.  A high had been replaced by fear.  But then I realized this trip home was a perfect metaphor for everything we had talked about that day:  traveling an unknown road, in the dark, hoping to get "home."  So frequently during my week, I strain to see signs that the way I am choosing to live is "right," that it will lead me to my destination, the fulfillment of my purpose.  Home.  I talk with others to compare notes and get confirmation.  "Did you have to pass through this challenge?  Good, so did I!"  My life is just like traveling on 287.  And the only way I got through it was on faith.  Sure, I have help along the way, but some stretches it's just me, doubt and faith battling it out, and the road.  Some routes are harder than others.  But I do believe we all make it home eventually. 

Posted by Janis Daddona | Tags: #supersoul | permalink

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Comments (4)

  • Kanchan wrote ...

    love it! :)
    " this trip home was a perfect metaphor for everything we had talked about that day: traveling an unknown road, in the dark, hoping to get "home."

    thanks so much for sharing this Jan!!

  • Birju wrote ...

    Jan! i felt like i was on the road with you :) glad we got home safe!

  • Bela wrote ...

    Dear Janis,
    I too am so happy that we had time together after the retreat...but while reading your post, I started to feel guilty. I thought, "oh no, I should have encouraged her to leave while there was still light out." And then I kept reading on to be awakened by your true what you shared....your time spent with us despite the brightening of the moon lit night led to the unfolding of your (our) fears....wisdom in everyday service indeed:)

  • Anne-Marie wrote ...

    Janis! what a story! I too am so happy that we had the pleasure of being in your Light for as long as we did, but also felt your fear as I was reading along, for i too have felt uncomfortable traveling on an "unknown road" in both senses of the word! First of all, so happy you made it home safely, and also so grateful for the wisdom that arose from your experience. Thank you for sharing! :)