The Road of Life.
Stopping and asking for directions.
I’m a man.
And as a man I have an instinct not to stop and ask for directions.
Well it’s because it would hurt my pride.
As a man I should have some innate sense of direction. An infallible sense of where I need to go.
To ask someone for help would be admitting weakness. And a man should never show weakness, right?
So I don’t stop, I continue driving on.
I’m sure that eventually I’ll find some marker that will allow me to get my bearings and I’ll figure it out from there.
But what if I’m in a place I’ve never been before, down a road I don’t know, in uncharted territory.
Think of how lost I could get. By the time I admit how lost I am, there may be no one around to help me, to point me in the right direction.
I wonder lost for the rest of my days, till my food and water run out and I die (or search and rescue comes to find me, and imagine how embarrassing that would be).
Even if I know the territory a little, and I’m not worried about being lost forever, imagine the time I could save by asking for help. I could be driving in circles for hours, days, years. Wasting my time. I could already be on the way to my destination, instead of sitting here stewing in my foolish pride. Oh so much wasted time.
You know what? Fuck that.
I don’t have to let some silly concept like “pride,” keep me from reaching my destination on time.
I’ll just end up kicking myself later because of it.
Nope, time to take action, time to ask for help.
Help me, I’m lost and can’t find my way.
I am wondering through this life, hoping that somewhere just ahead is a road sign, some beacon of hope that will point me in the right direction. Some sort of divine intervention that will guide me to my destination.
But is a road sign the only form of divine guidance?
Or is that man wandering beside the road my sign? The farmer tending his field? The rest stop attendant making his wage?
I assume that the farmer would only know of farming, the gas station attendant knows only of unleaded fuels, the wanderer knows only of the open road.
But what do I know of their experiences? Nothing.
Perhaps the farmer was once a travelling carnie, the pump jockey was once a world class athlete, the wanderer once a business executive. How would I know?
Perhaps the farmer was always a farmer, as his father before him. But imagine the things he may have learned while tilling his fields. Watching the movements of the heavens above him, the flowing of the stream through his field. How would I know of his life, of his experiences?
Maybe I should stop, maybe I should ask him.
“But I don’t have time for that. I have a destination to reach, and I’m short on time.”
But think of the time that could be saved with his insight. Perhaps he knows the shortcut. A faster route to get there. The path not on the map.
There is a myriad of things that I can learn from any number of people on this journey, travelling this road of life. We can assume all manner of things about these people, but unless we stop and ask them, how will we ever know the real story. The story of a life.
They always say “listen to your elders.” And it makes sense. They don’t know everything, they are human after all. But then again I don’t know everything either, far from it. I know nothing.
That realization is important. It allows me to learn. Learn from everyone. They all have something to teach us.
Their path may not be my path, that’s the way of it, but their insights can still help me on my way.
Perhaps our paths are similar, parallel for a time, and perhaps they are only a quick meeting and they diverge, but either way the experiences can help me get perspective on my own journey.
The lessons of the homeless man, for instance, can teach a great deal. Whether it be a lesson on how to stay warm in freezing temperatures, or how to avoid falling into the same traps. Sometimes we learn what to do, and sometimes we learn what not to do. Both are invaluable.
The most dangerous thing on the road of life is the belief that we have nothing to learn.
How will we grow without help?
Without the soil to nourish us. Without the rains to quench our thirst. Without the sun to energize us. Without others to protect us from the winds.
We need help.
We cannot do it alone.
It is simply the way of things.
The way life goes out on the road.
Do not fear the help of others.
It is not weakness. Far from it.
It takes true strength to admit our need.
To realize that we are human, and we are sometimes lost.
We all struggle out here on the road. No man can say otherwise. Somewhere, someone just like you is having a rough go of it or has had a rough time in the past. Perhaps at this junction they are here to help you, perhaps you are here to help them…
There’s only one way to find out…
Ask for directions.
It’s a long road,
And we all need a little help sometimes.