Hello, Traveler

traveler1

Hello Traveler,

As you make your way along life’s tumultuous highways, it’s important to note that you should always carry a map, have plenty of fuel in the tank, and take frequent rest stops.

– Octavia Spencer, 2012 Academy Award winner for best supporting actress in “The Help”

The quote was in an issue of O Magazine dedicated to advice one would share with a younger self. I tore it out and taped it to my bathroom mirror, not sure exactly what appealed to me about it. Was it the artfully rendered illustration of the small compass? Was it the kindly greeting, “Hello Traveler”? I didn’t know, but I knew I liked it, so I left it there on the mirror.

Weeks later I suddenly understood the encrypted message: I’ve been making my way without a map, on empty, without rest stops of any kind.

No wonder it is so hard.

9 responses

  1. I have a rose compass, like the one at the bottom of your post, tattooed on my hip so that I don’t lose my way again. I do need some rest stops though. I miss you woman. Hope all is wellish, as opposed to hellish:)

    • I would like to see that tattoo. I have considered getting a tattoo for the past year and a half, but no symbol appears to me so I wait. But I do like the idea of a compass, especially since I have none.

  2. Hooray!

    Some random thoughts on travelling:

    “Unexpected travel suggestions are dancing lessons from God.” -Kurt Vonnegut

    “Not all those who wander are lost.”- J.R.R. Tolkien

    While not eschewing them, maps and compasses are primarily useful if one believes they “ought” to be somewhere (else)—the Destination is just a ruse to get you on the Road.

    All roads lead to Mordor, thought the closer you get the fewer you will find on it.

    Lao Tzu’s End
    The Journey
    of a thousand miles
    ends
    with the last
    step

  3. Grief is a lonely, jagged, grueling, undulating road–even when others are grieving the same person, each person has their own journey to undertake. This, I learned the hard way. As only grief can be learned. And it matters not if you’ve already grieved for someone earlier in your life–it is new over and over and over again.

    I’m sorry that you have to keep making this trip. It’s a shitty trip. You said so many kind things to me during The Worst Year Of My Life a few years back, when I had a stroke and my MIL died. Your kindness will never be forgotten, and your kindness imparted strength to me.

    I am at a loss and cannot offer any enlightenment and as a fellow human being, I cannot lift your burden off your shoulders as much as I’d like–but know that I admire you for your strength and your tenacity in garnering wisdom through hardship, and then your generosity in spreading your wisdom to others.

    Thank you.

    • That’s ok, friend… you can’t offer enlightenment because you know first-hand from your own griefs that it’s just as you say: each person has their own journey. Nobody goes it with you. People can only be loving witnesses, urging us on, or loving us when we stop altogether.

      I’ve thought about you a lot lately as I try to muddle my way back to the blank page. It’s not easy to come back to that after big losses and lifechanging events, is it?

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