The Long Way Home

When I was about eight years old, my parents owned a “Chinese American food” restaurant about a mile from our house in a tiny, rural town a bit west of Palm Springs. Each day, I would ride my pink bike (yes, it had a basket and horn as well) from home to the restaurant or vice versa. One day, after my usual after school routine – do homework while eating whatever I asked my Daddy to cook for me, play a bit and then ride home to read a book or hang out with my elderly neighbors, I set out for home with my backpack slung over my shoulders.

About a quarter of the way in, I hit a rock, lost control of my bike and fell hitting my knee into the gravel. Crying, I picked myself up, dusted myself off, and continued the uphill journey home, blood dripping down my leg and staining my already torn pants. It was the longest ride of my life and as I rode up into the driveway, holding back tears, I was pretty sure they would have to amputate my entire leg (I was kinda dramatic back then).

As my grandma lovingly cleaned all the rocks from my wound as carefully as she could, I suddenly realized that the much easier route would’ve been to turn around, go back to the restaurant and have my Daddy drive me home with my bike in his trunk. It had never occurred to me until just that moment to take the easy road.

It seems like that has been the pattern my life has taken. Always on the long difficult road, fighting an uphill battle, and then looking back to see that maybe there could’ve been a far easier route. But I don’t regret it. I have learned much on my journey and in each hard-fought battle, sometimes stumbling, sometimes holding back tears, they have made me into the woman I am today. I would’ve been a very different woman if I had been able to take the easy road.

Sometimes though, when I am bleeding and weary,  I imagine running to my Daddy (and Mama), having them dust me off, wipe my tears away and help me the rest of the journey…and some days, they do.

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