Monday, August 13, 2012


Last night I finally surrended to whatever had been toying with me and watched television.  Even though I've spent over half my life working in television, my viewing habits have gone from 60 to 0 in the blink of any eye.  Television can be a powerful, beautiful medium, but the reality shows just unleash a great deal of angst and anger into the world that prompt me to hit the "Off" button.

A channel surf led me to the program, "Ice Road Truckers."  For the life of me, I can't explain the attraction.  Some might say I identify with them because my father drove trucks in his early days.  Perhaps the rawness of the Alaskan and Yukon wildernesses demonstrated a certain harmony (or disharmony) between Man & Nature.  Or, because its been so sickly humid here in the Northeast, I just needed a bit of snow, wind, and ice to get my mind off this "tomato" weather.  Maybe I just need a serious change of scenery. 

Lately, I just can't seem to get a foothold on life without my father.  He and I had many discussions about his wishes, his funeral, things I need to do around the house, the property, etc., etc.  Mom knows he's gone and her resolve amazes me, inspires me, yet I can't seem to get a blessed thing completed.  Friends have reassured me it's too soon.  I'm going too fast.  They prescribe rest.  The lists of things to do pile up like an Artic blizzard and grow faster than a Yukon snowdrift.

For some reason as I watched IRT, one driver in particular caught my attention, Alex.  The man can drive through anything, anytime, but he always has an co-pilot - his faith.  To watch this man navigate roadways, which at times can be seen and unseen, brings forth not just the strength of his gift, but how he acknowledges his life and the dangers of being a long haul trucker through prayers of gratitude with each and every mile.

In this particular episode, Alex negotiates a 120-mile mining road replete with shear cliffs, steep inclines, and treacherous turns.  A real knucklebiter.  On the return trip, he misses a gear and the rig begins to roll backward down the incline.  The truck spins its wheels searching for traction.  The trailer approaches the drop-off where bad things can happen to both driver and cargo if the trailer goes over.  He downshifts.  The truck finally stops.  I finally breathe and apparently Alex did as well.  He starts his ascent up the incline again, slowly and skillfully without missing a gear.  He reaches the top.  He's safe and offers prayers of gratitude.

That entire scene became my "Aha" moment.  Had I been driving that rig in my current state of "get 'er done," one might be reading about my going over the cliff.  How I had missed a gear resulting in a fatal scene.  I need to downshift.  The mountain journey stands right in front of me.  This journey looms over me.  As I negotiate this thing called "grief," I need to pay attention to what's in front of me, not be afraid to change gears when necessary, be grateful for what I have, and, most importantly, breathe.  My life from my father's passing forward can best be described as spinning my wheels on the "Grieving Highway."  I had lost my traction.

We're on the road now.  My precious cargo called "Mom" listens to the radio in the other room.  If I need to "chain-up" by asking for help, I will so I don't lose traction again.  My prayers of gratitude shine like the sun on snow after the blizzard.

Perhaps this reality show-thing isn't so bad afterall.



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