Of all the songs to have stuck in my head, “Life is a Highway,” sung first by Tom Cochrane, was the last song I’d have asked to be echoing in my brain.
I mean, yes, “life’s like a road you travel on.” I’ll accept that tired metaphor, but I’ll curse the lyrics, “Life is a highway and I’m gonna drive it all night long.”
But last Friday as I was on my way to a wedding I didn’t want to drive the road all night long. I’d set out a good hour before the start of the ceremony, which should’ve given me plenty of time, as mapquest told me the drive would only take a little over half-an-hour.
With my directions printed out and in the seat next to me (I haven’t buckled yet and bought a smart phone), I headed south on Santa Fe Blvd, taking the old trail the Indians and Cowboys used to travel from Denver to Santa Fe, New Mexico, towards the little train stop community of Larkspur, CO. Fortunately the road was free of horses and wagons, but unfortunately it was raining hard, slowing the traffic down just enough to make me worry. Time was slipping by. The wedding was at 5pm and I was pushing 4:45. All I wanted to do was make to the wedding on time.
Sadly, as I reached Castle Rock, a town noted for the rock on the east side of town that looks like a, you guessed it, castle, I missed my turn. Maybe it was because of the rain, but I am man enough to admit it, I was just absolutely turned around on my way to Crooked Willow Farms.
I was frustrated and lost. Why hadn’t I asked some of my friends who I knew were going to the wedding to carpool? Too late now, I though as I zipped around Castle Rock.
Sometimes when you are lost, okay, sometimes when I am lost I lose all self-respect and ask for directions.
I flicked on my blinker and pulled off the failed road I’d been driving, and stopped at the closest gas station to ask for directions. “Okay, take your first left, then take a right on Founders, and then a left on 85. Oh and get off on exit 184,” said the gas station clerk in a fast Asian dialect. Time was ticking and so I didn’t ask her to clarify.
I should have. If life is truly a highway and you don’t want to drive it all night long, always ask for clarification.
Back in the Honda Civic, I took my first left into a Wal-Mart parking lot. Wait, I was lost, again! What she didn’t say, was I needed to get on Interstate I-25 and then take my first left. So, I turned around and merged onto 1-25 going south. Instantly I realized I was going the wrong way. If she wanted me to exit the highway at 184, then mile marker 179 sure was the wrong way.
Stuck on the highway, all night long! I don’t want to drive it, all night long! Worried I wouldn’t be able to exit until Colorado Springs, which would’ve taken me an extra twenty miles away from my final destination, I started beating on the wheel. “Get me off this stinking highway,” screamed. I wanted to exit immediately, but I was stuck on my course, the guard rails blocking any attempt to ditch the road.
In a moment of clarity I realized, Larkspur is south of Castle Rock. I wasn’t going the wrong way, I was just on a different road. But then I realized I didn’t have directions to the wedding from I-25 and I wasn’t sure when the exit for Larkspur would show itself.
It was already 5:20 and I felt demoralized. I was going to ride this rainy road all night long.
By now I was cursing the fact I don’t have an iPhone. I was screaming at the highway for not letting me exit so I could check my bearings. And then, at mile marker 174 I saw an exit and took it.
The man at the Yogi Bear Jellystone mountain biking tour shop looked at me sympathetically and said, “Get back on to I-25 and go south one more mile. Exit at 173 and you’re in Larkspur. Now for Crooked Willow Farms take a right at Fox Road under the railroad and then curve around to Perry Road. You’ll find your destination on your right.”
Larkspur was so close! As I turned off into the little town, very late and rain still pouring down, I felt at ease. I turned right onto Perry. Wait, wasn’t Fox Road supposed to come first? I crossed over the rail road and kept driving.
And then I saw the sign. Hannah And Dave’s Wedding This Way!
I was on the wrong road, but it led me to the wedding anyway. As I parked my car and snuck up to the outdoor venue I realized it didn’t matter that I was late. This night wasn’t about me. It was about my friends, and heck they were busy saying their vows, they wouldn’t notice my tardiness.
Even though it rained through the rest of the ceremony, the wedding and reception were fantastic. And It dried up in time for me to dance like a mad man. As I drove home, safely and without any detours, I started thinking about how life is really like a highway.
Back in Castle Rock I’d missed my turn. I could’ve tried to figure things out on my own, but I decided to stop and ask someone. That’s being open to letting other’s into my life. Even more than being open to people, I find I need to be open to God. Often times in life I get a little lost and all I need to do is stop and ask God for directions.
Even after I messed up the directions again, got on the highway the wrong way and took the wrong road, I still made it to the wedding. If we trust God he’ll help us reach the correct destination. No matter if we mess up along the way, he’ll get us back on track if we let him, and then maybe we’ll figure out that life’s not always about us, but the people we’re traveling to see.
So if you ever get lost in life or on the road, you just have to trust the signs, ask for directions, and keep driving all night long.