I coach a Crossfit class three mornings a week: MWF @ 6:00am. Typically this means getting my gym bag packed the night before in case I’m extra sleepy in the morning, and this allows me to start moving between 5:20 and 5:30am. If I am out the door by 5:45, I am right on time; any earlier than that is extra cushion. So imagine how pleased I was this morning to be on the road by 5:40am, given the latest rounds of snowfall these past few days. Unfortunately, as I was cruising along the highway, I ended up behind a snow plow, which was spraying plenty of snow and hindering my vision if I was within fifty feet. So in spite of knowing the road to the box (box = gym), I completely missed my exit between the spraying snow and the snow blanket covering over the normally visible exit ramp path. Being a logical person, I figured I could get off at the next exit and turn around accordingly… only the next exit didn’t come up for what seemed like a while. And when I got there, I couldn’t determine where the opposite on-ramp would be for me to backtrack where I had come from.
It was upon turning left and not seeing any other exit signs for at least another mile that I started to panic. It was snowing hard, the street lights aren’t that great, and I could feel my pulse increasing. Yes, I was starting to panic. I had to think about my “calm down” steps that I teach the elementary students! I turned off the radio, started taking deep breaths, and planned for a stop so I could get my phone out of the back. I called the head coach (who lives above the box) to tell him that I needed him to cover because I was lost and wasn’t sure when I would figure out how to get back. I finally saw a sign pointing me back the opposite direction to Fairbanks, and to my surprise, I quickly found myself passing the spot where I had turned left… and within 100 yards I saw the box. I had actually been one correct right turn away from my destination 10 minutes earlier.
What’s amusing to me now — though it wasn’t at the time — is that I’m good at visual spacing: I read maps well and usually have an easy time reversing directions, even when going to a new place. This morning my mind was in so many places — worried about the snow plow and the car behind me, not wanting to be late, feeling annoyed with myself for missing the exit — that I didn’t see the obvious solution. My first thought was that I was lost, and I was stuck in that idea until there was a lovely, large sign with the arrow to help me back.
Perhaps this is the didactic way of the Universe telling me how things work. When I have a destination or goal in mind, it’s very possible that I will drive past it and think that it has passed me by in such a way that I can’t get back to it. But even when going the “wrong” way, at the right time I’ll get a huge directional arrow — from some other life experience or encounter — that will get me back on track if I allow it. I’m not particularly good at feeling lost because I’m typically so certain about where I’m going next; yet in this case, I was nearer to where I wanted to be than I thought. I was never lost at all, in fact. To me this morning’s experience was simply one huge reminder to remain humble and to continue to trust in a Plan that is greater than any of the plans I may make. It was also a reminder to keep my goals at the forefront of my mind so I will recognize them more easily when they are within reach.
Lesson learned: I was never lost; I only took a more creative path to reach my destination.