Gran's Apple Butter Blog

November 1, 2011

Going Home, Excerpt: Longcuts (7/VII)

Filed under: Along the Road,Book Series,Books,Front Porch Rambles,Going Home,Gran,Letting go,Longcuts,Self-sabotage,Surrender — Mary Batson - FrontPorchRambles @ 1:10 pm

Chapter 7 – Longcuts

Sometimes we delay going home by heading off in the opposite direction. We may not realize this, attempting to convince ourselves and everyone listening that we’re on our way. Sooner or later, the truth will come out.

There are lots of longcuts we can take along this road, Gran said, from clinging to the past to obsessing about the future, neither of which helps us here and now. Fear is another big one that Gran was all too familiar with. Fear of going straight down the road in front of us, because we’ve all heard the stories: You can never go back. Maybe we kind of like back. Or maybe we’re not sure what lies ahead. Even as we step forward, we do it with a limp, one foot dragging behind, then we wonder what’s taking so long.

Never going back sounded scary, but Gran had learned it’s really not the way we think it is – at least it wasn’t the way she had thought. Each time we reach the end of a road, we’ve grown some and seen a few new things. We’re not the same people we were before. Everyone else has experienced new things, too, so they’re not the same either. We’ve all changed, and what we think of as our set-in-stone-home has changed as well, like a watermelon vine, never the same from the moment it sprouts. This can be more hopeful than scary.

There are other longcuts we can choose. Sometimes we take Path F because Path E looks boring. Depending on what lies ahead – and we won’t know that ‘til we get there – this can be good, or we may find ourselves sitting in some all-night truck stop down the road, panting for breath, thinking next time we’d be happy with a little boredom.

Maybe something inside us doesn’t want to stick to the tried-and-true. Gran said that was fine – sooner or later we’ll get there, as long as we remember that roads and routes can change. You can take the old familiar street across town, but it may take an hour to get through the holiday traffic around that new mall. Perhaps there are new roads – it never hurts to be on the lookout for these. We think they go the right way, but we’re a little nervous, ‘cause it’s been a while, and we don’t want to get lost or lose any more time when we’re this close to home.

One thing I learned from my dad: One should be cautious about taking shortcuts-that-become-longcuts. If we’re not sure, give that GPS a test: Ping those directions with your heart, and if the road feels right, take it. A balanced heart will never lead you wrong. Just make sure your heart is healthy and keep those batteries fresh at all times.   

It doesn’t pay to get stuck in our old selves, Gran said, but it will serve us to stay open, to try new ways. Just don’t forget the old roads. Maybe they aren’t as straight or as well-paved as that new interstate, but they used to get the job done just fine, and if you get lost, they can still give you a solid footing from which to map your new route.

One more thing: Once you’re sure you know the way home, if someone doubts you or encourages you to doubt yourself, don’t give up. No matter what. And don’t let any eye-rolling or book-thumping get to you, either.

This used to bother me, but Gran said to let it go. Each person has to find her own way, and all I have to know is what works for me. Besides, these paths and roads eventually all lead to the same place – you know, like Rome. In fact, Gran thought that’s probably what they meant to say, but they got the “R” and the “H” mixed up, which led to some very confused people for a very long time, and Gran’s insistence that I learn to print my letters very clearly.

© Mary Batson, Going Home, Front Porch Rambles, and Gran’s Apple Butter Blog, 2010-2011. All rights reserved.
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