Do you ever look at an unfamiliar road and wonder where it leads? Have you ever taken off down that road just to find out?
Today I did. And not for the first time. My dad had an adventurous heart. He’d say, “I wonder where that road goes?” and he’d turn the steering wheel in that direction. He was a curious man, and I take that trait after him. I want to know things. I want to know who lives there, what they do in their spare time, and what they talk about. Is that being nosey? I don’t think I’m nosey, I’m just curious. When I meet a new person, I want to know about them. Not just something about the person, but I want to truly know him or her. When I meet you for the first time, I want to know how you think, what you believe and why, and what makes you, you. I think—I know—every person has a story, and how wonderful it would be to hear that story. Every story is worth the telling.
So, today I went down a road I’ve passed numerous times, always wondering where it would lead. My husband isn’t like that. He doesn’t care where the road leads, he just wants to get to his destination. Since he always drives, I can only go down that road when I’m driving alone.
I learned the road eventually led to another road with which I am familiar, but I enjoyed getting to see how the roads wind around through the hills to meet right at a little country church. I liked seeing the homes along the way, some big, some small, all someone’s residence, the place where people live together, talk about important things, make decisions, and hopefully love each other.
I tend to believe we all could benefit from knowing—I mean really knowing one another. I’m convinced most if not all conflict between individuals happens because of misunderstandings, and how much better could we understand each other if we could truly understand each other. As a 21-year teacher, I realized early on that students generally have a reason for doing what they do. When a student misbehaved, it was usually because things in his or her life weren’t going well. Maybe he had been dumped by his girlfriend, or she was failing math. Could be that he saw his mom beaten by her husband or boyfriend, or she witnessed her younger sibling cry from hunger before school. Perhaps she went home every day to be used as a sex-toy for some man, and he went home every day to be beaten by the one whose job it is to love and protect. Whatever reason for the behavior, there is a story, a road.
I may not have gone down that road—experienced that difficulty—so that, to me, is an unknown road. I don’t want to experience that kind of behavior, but I can travel that road indirectly by listening and having sympathy and understanding for the one who has traveled it. I can encourage, and perhaps even help, the person on the road. But if I can’t, just becoming familiar with the road traveled by a person I don’t really know opens another world for me and gives me a little peek into a story which is begging to be told.