Earlier this week I had the opportunity to visit my parents at their soon-to-be-full-time retirement house. (My mom is living there half-time; my dad hopes to join her in the next 6-8 months or so, at which point they will both make the transition to “fully retired”.) The drive from where I live to my parent’s place is rather long – 11 hours door-to-door if I only stop for gasoline and restroom breaks. And while I’m pretty spent by the end of the trek, I honestly don’t mind the journey. I enjoy driving: I love the sense of freedom I have every time I sit behind the wheel of my vehicle. I like traveling: I enjoy seeing new scenes, interacting with new people, and witnessing new perspectives and points-of-view (many of which help to further inform/define my own). And I like the time to myself: I get to listen to audio books or podcasts and learn new things, hear music that I may not have heard for years (sometimes even decades) and experience memories from those times in my life, or just sit in silence and experience a bit of ‘moving meditation’.
Yet with any trip, the opportunity for obstacles, delays, and inconveniences always exists. This summer has been a notable one for road construction in my neck of the woods – and apparently nearby states have also chosen to invest significant funding during these warm months to improve their highway infrastructures. While I always appreciate the final results, living through the process can be a bit of a hassle. I left our house early enough to avoid the back-ups that occur just south of the city; but around 1 pm, I was confronted with a spot of road work that had reduced the highway to a single lane – which resulted in a long line of cars traveling at a mere 10 miles-per-hour. Sigh.
As I inched my way through the congestion, I practiced cultivating calm. I breathed. I felt the sun on my face. I listened to the sounds of the machinery working nearby. I smiled to my fellow travelers, and waved to a handful of construction workers. I tried to stay ‘cool’ in what can be a tense, even potentially volatile situation.
And then, as I approached the tightest spot of the work site, I saw this:
Oh. My. Lord. My first thought was, “Wow, someone has too much free time on their hands.” And I started to frown. But my next immediate thought was, “What a great sense of humor someone has.” And I actually laughed out loud. My final thought was, “How cool that someone spent the energy to try and bring some levity to many strangers in what can be a frustrating situation. What a kind soul.” And I smiled.