Today I took the crew out for a walk right before lunch. In all honesty, it was because I had a smoothie for breakfast, and it made me very, very cold. But it didn’t hurt that we could all use a break from the math and grammar and reading and all. It was a beautiful fall day here, and it would have seemed almost sinful to stay inside all day and not appreciate it at all.
Cooter hopped on his bike, our Princess on her scooter, and Miss Sophie on her leash. We walked up to the end of our street and turned left, something we don’t usually do when we take our quick morning or evening constitutionals. I told the littles they could go ahead of me down the next cul-de-sac. They were thrilled. With no traffic around here in the middle of the day, they felt free as they soared down the street and almost out of sight.
As I watched them happily speeding away from me, I gave thanks for the dead-end street.
And then I paused.
Isn’t that interesting? How many times in my life have I heard the warnings against wasting time and energy on “dead ends?” And yet, if it weren’t for dead ends, my children wouldn’t be learning how to be safe and preparing to have adventures all on their own.
These dead ends are great practice for when they head out on the main highway on their own paths and stories.
I thought back over my own story. If it weren’t for our dead-end road growing up, I would never have learned to drive. It served its purpose. Of course I soon grew comfortable enough to leave the dead-end and head out on all kinds of roads and highways. But without that dead-end to begin with, I wouldn’t be on this road I’m on now.
On this journey I’m rather enjoying. That would be very sad.
Tonight I’m thankful for the dead ends in our lives. For the ways they teach us and prepare us for life out on the open roads. Our time on the dead ends in life are NOT wasted, as long as we don’t set up camp right there in the midst of it. As long as we take what we learn on them and get back out on the main road, those dead-end experiences are worth far more than gold.
I’m also thankful for the joy of laughter and the exclamation of “whee” in the sunshine of a fall day. For racing children and bouncing puppies and all the blue sky and gentle breezes of this journey, I am grateful. And for the grace of dead ends and those who took me down them, I am most thankful.
Love to all.