The roads in Kentucky are narrow and curvy. The terrain is hilly, with roads similar to those in Tennessee where I grew up many years ago. After living in Kansas for many years, I am spoiled by our straighter, wider roads, and driving on narrow, ups-and-downs roads make me a little nervous.
I was traveling back to Kansas from Lexington, Kentucky, where I had visited with my oldest sister Joy for a few days. I was heading toward Springfield, Missouri, with plans to have supper with my oldest grandson Sam who is in college there.
As I negotiated each hill and curve, I knew what was ahead near Wickliffe, Kentucky. I felt a bit of apprehension as I got closer to two long, narrow river bridges, one that crosses over the Ohio River and one over the Mississippi.
The bridges, I found out later, were built many years ago. The one over the Ohio was built in 1937 and was rehabilitated last in 1979. The bridge over the Mississippi was built in 1929, prior to semis and wider vehicles. Both bridges are a total of 20 feet wide, each 700-800 feet long, with only a few inches between the pavement and the frames of the bridges—no place to go if you bobble with your driving.
As I neared the first bridge, I met a semi barreling off the bridge—going too fast—but I continued on my way. The speed was marked 25 miles per hour on my side. It was a treacherous bridge with warning signs and an almost ninety degree angle where vehicles entered the bridge. I hoped that I would not meet a semi on the bridge again since there was scarcely room for two vehicles.
As I approached the first bridge, my mind wandered back to when I was a teen-ager, driving with my daddy and meeting cars for the first time. I remember his words: “Keep your eyes on the road in front of you. Look straight ahead.”
My daddy also went on to say, “Don’t look at the cars you are meeting, and don’t look at the ditch. Keep your eyes straight ahead, on the middle of your lane.”
My daddy was right. Throughout my driving years, I have remembered what he said. If I had concentrated on the wide vehicles I met on the road, I might have smashed into them.
So that’s what I did as I approached each bridge on my trip back from Kentucky. I told myself, “Eyes straight ahead.” “Easy does it.” “Stay in your lane,” “Don’t look at the other cars,” and I was soon across both bridges safely and headed for flatter ground around Sikeston, Missouri.
Since my two-bridges event, I have thought about my daddy’s words. Not only do his words apply to narrow roads and bridges—they apply to life! There are so many distractions that can take our eyes off of our destinations, our goals in life.
Many things can muddle our minds—the busyness of life, sicknesses, pain, conflict, other people’s dramas, disasters, things falling apart, politics, and the deaths of those we love. Such things can wreak havoc on our minds, even on our physical and emotional health.
So if you are feeling distracted on your Road of Life, you are not alone. Say a prayer and look straight ahead. Tell yourself, “Easy does it.” “Keep your eyes on the road, your eyes straight ahead”—good advice from my earthly father as well as our Heavenly Father, and just keep traveling.
By Dawn (Thorn) Phelps RN/LMSW
Call about the next "Living Life after Loss" Group at:
709 Liberty, Clay Center, Kansas
Dawn Phelps, RN/LMSW, Group Facilitator