Monday, November 11, 2013

Way Out

One thing that struck me on my visit to London was a sign in the Underground that read, "Way Out." I mean, why don't they just write "EXIT"? You know? But then again, the Brits have a way of saying a lot of things differently and meaning things that take a while to figure out. I guess it's just going to take them a little longer to learn to speak American. Nevertheless, their charm is intoxicating, and their peccadillos are even almost forgivable. Got me thinking.

Navigation is one of the keys to life that is often difficult to master. I have always been curious how so many seem to find their way so easily... or maybe so safely. It's a big world out there. The options are limitless, and the directions can lead you anywhere - so many variables. However, I'd bet if you look closer at any of those "safe" or "easy" navigations, you'll find a tremendously unique and perhaps tumultuous journey. 

I sat in the Chemotherapy Room of a hospital for about five hours today. Upon check-in, I spotted an older woman with long flowing blonde hair and a face wrinkled and worn, wearing a black t-shirt that read in big white tatooish letters, "F&%k Cancer." She was accompanied by two younger females, who appeared to be her daughters and a red-haired young man about my age or younger. I assumed she was the one battling the horrid disease and was taking an optimistically confrontational attitude toward it. Much to my surprise, the afflicted soul who climbed up into the recliner chair and hooked up to the IV was the young man - no older than 38 years old, full of life, strong, convincingly smiling and casual. It didn't seem to compute. If I saw this guy on the street, I would have no idea what hell he is facing; I still don't.

Behind the smiles there may be pain. Hidden from the successes are failures and loss. Beneath the perfection lies doubt and error. Of course, inconspicuously celebrated joy may be had by "those less fortunate" as well. One never knows. We are all on a journey, and no journey is the same, and none is perfect. Navigation, as it turns out, is a tricky son-of-a-you-know-what... even if you have GPS. The way out, it seems, is a murky network of tunnels, stairs, missed trains, and confusing maps... and GAPS to "mind"!

I had a point, I promise. Whether you are seeking the way or the way out, there is no exit, really, only journeys. It's nice to have someone to hold your hand through the process, especially through the dark and dreary tunnels, but I'd imagine through the bright scenic passages as well and when the sunlight finally hits your face. We should all be so lucky no matter what fortunes bless or misfortunes befall. While we may be able to navigate one thousand trails or even the heart of just one person, finality will find us all at a moment not of our choosing, and the way out will often be something we had never expected, nor perhaps intended. The most profound detour may just find us, no matter how compelled we are to move confidently in the direction we had imagined.

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