Last summer I missed one when we were on our way south to enjoy a week at the beach. It was my turn to drive but I was boxed in on all sides by tractor-trailer rigs barreling along at 70 mph. so it was no wonder I sailed right past our exit. I never even caught a glimpse of it. Still, if it hadn’t been for the cloud cover that day, I’m sure that sooner or later I would have noticed that I was heading westward into the setting sun rather than away from it, toward the coast. It wasn’t until we crossed the state line into West Virginia that I realized my mistake. I was going the:
This is how it happens. Life seems to be going along just fine when, all of a sudden, you realize you’ve been heading in the wrong direction all along. You think you know exactly where you’re going and despite all signs to the contrary, you sail along until you end up somewhere you never intended—in the wrong place or with the wrong person or in the wrong business. Then what do you do? Quit your job and accept an offer that sounds perfect even though the last employee quit because she was so unhappy there? Leave your husband and hope that someone better comes along? But how will you know? You thought you’d already found your one-and-only and look where that got you.
We sometimes miss other exits, too. The one that leads out of a bad relationship. The one that puts us on the road to recovery. The exit that puts self-reproach, self-doubt, and shame behind us.
You have to be alert as you barrel through life or you might miss an important sign. And what if it’s too late by the time you realize your mistake? I mean, missing an exit is one thing; you can always turn back. Missing your chance is another thing entirely; you may have lost it forever.
Which exit are you going to take?
“If we condemn or flee anything in ourselves,
it will multiply and fester and eventually occupy every exit,
enlarging itself so as to seize our attention,
encoding its outcast will throughout the apparently healthier regions of ourselves.”
--Robert Augustus Master--