So how do highways and grief relate to each other? Mostly as metaphors, I think.
One day when I was driving, all of a sudden I wondered about the consciousness of highways. If inanimate things have a consciousness, do highways too? So I asked the road where it was going. It said “I’m going where they put me.” Well, what an answer. Is this a metaphor for our lives at times? Are we going where “we were put?”
Do we get trapped by the path we are on? Or does something happen that just throws us off one track onto another, like grief? Are we alone and separate on this road?
Just wondering and imagining what a “grief road” might feel like in different places:
I’m a freeway. I’m really busy and frantic. Then I don’t have to think about the past and who is missing.
I’m any road at night and can’t see much except my headlights shining and little dots of light. But it is mostly dark.
I’m a mountain road. I go up and down. Sometimes I think I’m getting over it and then I am thrown back down, with chaotic outbursts of grief.
I’m a country road. I feel comforted, embraced, shaded and sheltered by forest, our life-givers and friends. I pass by a waterfall and go with the flow. I connect with nature, farms, animals and others “at the side of the road.” Maybe I rest in a meadow and let the life-giving sun warm me and give moments of joy to my tortured heart.
I’m a dead-end road, going nowhere, or perhaps there is something at the end that is worth exploring – a hidden lake, a forest grove, or an open field – but I don’t see that yet. Maybe that is okay and I need to be like this for awhile, until some spark inside says it’s time to explore further, find some solace, or turn around and find a new path off the dead end.
Paths can be deceiving. In a 2010 movie, called “Charlie St. Cloud,” based on a book by Ben Sherwood, it seems like Charlie has put his life on hold forever, like a dead-end road. But he is processing and even developing some skills inside, for when the trigger – people or events – comes along to lead him to a new path. But to others, and even to himself, it looks like his life is going nowhere. (There is way more to the movie than this, but it is all about death, loss and grief, with a twist.)
So what highway are you currently on? Are you going “where you were put,” at least for now? What other metaphors might there be? What might be a good path or road to help you in your grief?
I’d love to hear from you.