The weather in Dallas has been a tiny bit crazy of late.
Our summer had so much fun, it decided to stay way beyond it’s welcome, refusing to leave until recently. The third week of October was the first week of Fall without 90+ degree weather. Not only have we experienced record-breaking heat, we’ve had the least amount of recorded rainfall in a loooooong time.
The rains came.
Here’s what it’s looked like:
Suffice it say, we’re wet.
But life doesn’t stop. Carpools continue. Driving was done. Lots of driving. In the rain, at times torrential. Making my way to drop off one kid, I saw this sign . It said it all – and then some.
And being the opportunistic mother that I am, I couldn’t stop myself from reading between the lines and dolling out a little life lesson to the captive passenger riding shotgun next to me.
“You know that sign’s message goes deeper than the surface.”
The kid glanced my way and sighed. So much for a nice ride with music filling the empty space.
“Seriously,” I nod and gear up for a good one. “First, it’s message for drivers is important. If you’re driving and there is a ginormous puddle – turn around. Don’t ever risk it. Have I told you that before? Did they teach that to you in Drivers Ed? I bet they did. But you can never hear those things enough. Right?!”
He didn’t answer. I wouldn’t have either.
“But that sign says so much more. Sure it’s warning us about driving into high waters, but the warning applies to pretty much all of life’s roads. I can think of a lot of life-floods I could have avoided if I had just turned around before driving into high waters. It’s so easy to barrel ahead, ignore the warnings, fool ourselves into thinking we’re invincible (especially when we’re young). There’s all sorts of roads in your life that carry flood warnings – social media, social events, pressures you guys face on perfection or performance or appearance… all sorts of things.
And like the flooded roads today – it’s hard to see the depth of the waters and underlying turbulence when driving up to them. It’s always better to turn around or take a detour if a rising waters are in your path. Even if doing so might take some extra time.”
I take the kid’s silence as a yellow light to cut it short.
“Listen, when floods threaten you guys these days – just be smart and do what the sign says – Don”t Drown, Turn Around.”
Then I stopped my little life lecture. But my thoughts didn’t. They rifled through the floods in my own life – some that I did and did not avoid. And, I thought about detours that I begrudgingly took – how grateful I was on the other side to have avoided a stranding or two. And I thought about the stalls, so many of which could have been avoided. Some of which should have caused significantly more damage than they did. And I was grateful for the Lord’s protection in the midst of my stubborn, my ignorance, my flakiness.
And I prayed that my kids would pay attention to the signs and be brave enough to turn around or take the detour. I prayed for friends with whom to travel the road – so they can encourage each other and avoid flood waters. And I prayed for myself and friends with whom I travel the road to be able to do the same.
As the weather would have it, we actually did have to detour only a few short miles down the road. Flood waters had completely stopped the traffic on Campbell Road. So, we u-turned, then headed north and searched for an alternate route.
“There’s always another way to go,” I told my passenger. “Never be discouraged from a detour.”
Then, on our detour, we saw the most beautiful scene. Unbeknownst to us, the alternate route took us through an area we had never seen. Hills and trees and a creek lined our detour. The route was so much prettier than the main road we normally travel.
We slowed down. Cars had stopped and pulled over to take pictures and to film the area’s creek that had risen due to the pouring rain. The waters were rushing like white water, forming a small waterfall safely held in the banks of the greenbelt. It was amazing.
“And look,” I told him. “We wouldn’t have even known this part of the city was here if we hadn’t detoured. Not only that, but we would have missed getting to see such an amazing display of nature. — So I guess the turn-arounds not only keep us safe from drowning, they just might also be wonderful and beautiful … even fun.”
I’ve noticed that in my soliloquies, whether my kids pay attention or not – I hear. And I think I needed that sign as much as (if not more than) any of the passengers in my car.
Thanks for walking the road with me.