Focus On: Twists and Turns

this path, this road that is one perfect straight line even if it goes around the world through the heat and fog and rain and snow and it’s my life I keep thinking.  It’s my life.  – Deborah Keenan from “Small History”

Lately I’ve been thinking about the strange twists and turns life takes. One minute we’re on one path planning to forge straight ahead and the next thing we know, we’re on an entirely different path and wondering how we got there. Years ago, when we bought our first computer, it came with a game called Adventure.  As this was the 1970s, the format of the game was  all words, no graphics in those days!  I remember one part where the adventurer had to navigate through a maze, the paths described as twisty passages all the same, or twisty passages all different.   That’s how I envision the paths we take as we navigate our way through life.

For instance, recently my granddaughter celebrated her sixth birthday, meaning I have been a grandmother for six years .  When did she change  from a small helpless baby into an articulate little girl who can read chapter books with wonderful inflection?  She loves to make up her own stories, she describes things with the most colorful adjectives she can think of, and her smile can pierce through the deepest cloud cover hanging over me. I’ve enjoyed each stage of her life so far, but I want her to slow down her pace on that path.  The years are just flying by.

And when did I reach the stage of life when I am considered a “senior citizen’? It’s tricky, these paths through life.  The twists and turns are often hard to see until we realize we’ve been on a new path for a while. One day, when I wasn’t looking, I started down this path of senior status, and there’s no going back  now. But, as there are few gifts in life as precious as my granddaughter, I will gladly walk the grandmother path with her and her precious little brother, Gavin, whose cherub face and electric smile light up my life and melt my heart..  My husband and I have been lucky to be living close to them during their early years.  Grandchildren and grandparents grow up together, each helping the other down those twisty paths.

Where does that unconditional love grandchildren have for their grandparents come from?They see me and their little faces light up and they come running in to hug me.  It’s a love that is pure and freely given, and one of the greatest gifts we can receive in this life. The sweet love of a child can be just the tonic I need on a difficult day and during difficult times. And times have been difficult lately with a separation pending between the grandchildren’s parents and my younger son being laid off from work..  Two paths my sons must walk, neither having chosen them, but there they are.

And what advice can one give them as they struggle along?  The best I can do is to say that one never knows where  a change in the path of life may lead us.  What may seem like an uphill climb right now may eventually lead to a new path filled with different opportunities, new relationships and better days ahead.  The important thing about the paths we travel  through life is that they are one way and that way is forward.  We can look back and learn from our mistakes, but the direction we take is into the future.

We consciously choose to take some paths in life, such as attending college, getting married, raising a family. And some paths sneak up on us when we are not looking. Winning the lottery would be a good path to find myself on,  getting Parkinson’s disease, not so good.  I travel with Parkinson’s everyday, and some days we cruise along and others we stumble a bit, but we keep on keeping on. Right now, I’m moving pretty well, and I am grateful for every day that this is so.  And I have hope that this path leads to a place where a cure is waiting.  The thing is, none of us know what’s waiting down the road.  But  as long as we are moving along it, there is the possibility of wonderful experiences and happiness ahead.  And that’s what matters most.  That as we move along we expect the best of times, not the worst.  That if we find ourselves on the wrong path, we seek a better one and if we find ourselves on a path we cannot change, we make the best of it. We can allow these twists and turns to confuse us completely, or we can accept the challenge and enjoy the journey.  As the saying goes,  a bend in the road is not the end of the road, unless you fail to make the turn.(Author Unknown)

The Rocky Road

I was cruising right along
when this rocky path appeared
and now I have been walking it
for many trying years
and thus it leads me onward
to a future tinged with fear
but despite the looming shadows
I have no time for tears
each day, despite the path we take
is a precious gift to be treasured
and I for one have vowed to make
it filled with joy and pleasure
so moment by moment, mindfully
I take a step most carefully
along this steep and rocky road
trying not to stumble
I strive to reach the end
I’ll shed my weary burden
it may just be round the bend
my heart is certain
I’ll find somewhere
to banish all the fear and care
and find my freedom waiting there
– pc 2012

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