“When I left Queen’s my future seemed to stretch out before me like a straight road. I thought I could see along it for many a milestone. Now there is a bend in it. I don’t know what lies around the bend, but I’m going to believe that the best does. It has a fascination of its own, that bend, Marilla.”
– Lucy Maud Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
When we are young we dream of life — and everything seems to be mapped out in front of us — this straight line of solid adventure and achievements. Do this, finish that, solve this. Move from a to b. And do it with a smile on your face. Don’t mess up, don’t have problems. Don’t speak your mind.
Then life hits.
Life with it’s road full of bends and hills and dead ends and valleys and mountains and glorious views and uphill climbs. Life with sickness and struggles and ups and downs and crazy days. Life that doesn’t look anything that life was supposed to have looked like.
We move along wondering where that straight path of perfect life went.
The world tells us that we should have that easy life. Read this book to solve your answers, or the cure for the diet, or save your marriage in 4 easy steps, financial success made easy in a day, and on and on. We’re sent catalogs with perfect rooms with perfect colors with a perfect looking family sitting around a perfect table set with perfect food.
They don’t show the mom scrambling to put the dinner together or the toddler who dumped out the flour or the dad worried about the bills or the scratched and beat up table. They don’t show kids rebelling or moms wondering what to do next or pantries bare or laundry overflowing. They don’t show sick kids or crazy. They don’t show life. To them, life doesn’t photograph well. They want the straight road. Not the bends.
It’s funny, because as life progresses I’ve discovered the bends in the road of life are really part of what makes life beautiful.
The bends are where we learn about our strength, courage and bravery. The bends in life are where we find opportunity, faith,and growth. If all was straight we would be boring.
Without our story.
Sometimes I want to tell that little me, that girl that dreamed of this perfect life, that life will be hard, but also so full of the most beautiful joy. I would tell her to not fight the bends in the road, but rather to learn that those are the times of great faith and trust and tenacity. To trust means to be in a place where there’s a bend knowing that even though you might not see beyond it that you know you’ll get through.
I think Anne Shirley was right about the fascination with the bends in life — my fairy tale straight path story of youth missed all of the beauty. It was about the achievements and milestones. Not the everyday joy.
In the laundry, diaper changes, cooking, cleaning, teaching, driving, doctor’s visits, phone calls, sleeping, waking, reading, and just being a mom moments.
In the midst of a curvy bendy life.
That’s where real life, real strength, real trust, and real joy lives.