I stumbled upon this sign on my run the other morning, and I started thinking about how nice it would be if life came with warning signs. "Warning: Bitter Divorce Ahead," "Death of Beloved Pet Soon," "Job Loss Around Corner." Would I live my life any differently if I knew when the rough patches were coming? In 2008 when I quit my job to go back to school and work toward my Bachelor's degree, I knew it wouldn't be easy, but I could never have foreseen the years of looking for a job after college, or the second degree I needed to obtain to be gainfully employed in my chosen field. The journey was harder than I thought: four years of financial hardship and juggling school, commuting and raising my son, followed by four years of looking for a full-time permanent position in my chosen field. Maybe if I knew just how difficult before embarking, I would have never taken the leap into the unknown. That leap positively changed my life, however. I now have a career, a brand new job working with supportive people and two degrees. My college experience provided me with a challenge that my intellect craved, introduced me to areas of study I would have never known existed, and forced me to grow up. The job search forced me to completely turn my life over to God, and the results were beyond my wildest dreams. I went from cleaning up after people and animals to teaching The Canterbury Tales. Would I have braved the rough roads if I knew that they weren't merely bumpy, but filled with tire-bursting craters? Probably not, fear of the unknown, and the comfort of the status quo would have kept me in place. When do I let go of my brilliant plans and allow life to be a surprise?
I passed the sign, continued down the road; the road that was freshly paved. It was not, like the sign had warned, rough. The mist lifted as I rounded the bend, revealing freshly baled hale and red-winged blackbirds. The scent of pine, grass and summer wildflowers hung in the air. And I was running. And it was good.