When my wife and I got married and we moved into our first apartment it was in a state we had never considered moving to, in a town that we only knew one thing about and for a woman who hates bridges, it wasn't a good thing. We had a 3 week wait before our household goods came from down South to Tacoma, Washington so there was nothing to do but drive around town. It started a tradition, each time we moved somewhere new, we would drive around until we get lost. Then we'd find our way back home learning something about the town we now lived in, how to get around, and where to go. Though to be honest, we usually only learned about where not to go. At least we recognized the neighborhoods when it turned up on Cops. After a few moves, we found ourselves in a place I referred to affectionately as the left cheek of the posterior of America. It's biggest claim to fame is as the butt of Patton's joke for his soldiers to tell their grandkids that it wasn't where they were. For the first 10 months we lived there we didn't stay for the weekends. Every week we either made the 9 hour drive to central Alabama or the 5 hour drive to the original capital of the Louisiana Purchase.
On one of those long drives to Biloxi, we were passing through Baton Rogue and had a need to get off the interstate. No problem, we had already traveled across the country by then (a feat we duplicated several more times), we were road-hardened excellent navigators. Well, usually we were. We got off at Dalrymple Drive. There were no signs warning of an inability to re-enter the interstate, but that was exactly what we wanted to do. We wandered the streets of Red Stick until finally we found another entrance and headed off hurriedly to the east.
To this day we still refer to Dalrymple Drive when we find exits with no return. It is a funnier joke then when I wake her at 3am because there is a Cheap Trick song on the radio (story for another post).
Last week I was talking with someone at work who described Christianity as the interstate. People get on it and start trucking down the road. Sometimes fast, sometimes slow, sometimes we have to swerve around the slow-moving truck in front of us, sometimes we have to dodge the old people going 20 mph below the limit in the left lane. We watch the hills and turns in front of us. We watch the cows and trees to the side of us, whizzing past at the speed of life, and we see the billboards and businesses with road frontage beckoning us to exit ahead and visit. Come on in, give us your money, and we'll give you the best ___ you've ever gotten this side of the Styx.
Like the sirens of old, we watch the lures until we bite and take the off-ramp. Sometimes it is a good thing. We meet another lost soul and help them back on the road. Sometimes we visit the all-night sin palaces and wander around before remembering we were headed somewhere before we detoured. And sometimes we get off on Dalrymple Drive. But the thing is, it's only Dalrymple Drive if we want it to be. We choose to lose our way and not return. Sometimes it's our desire to continue sinning, sometimes we just think we aren't good enough to get back on the road.
The road to Heaven is narrow, it isn't a 15 lane unlimited access highway with frontage roads and roundabouts. It's a 2 lane, median divided, limited access roadway with lots of exits, but they all have the same grace-filled return path that got us on the road to begin with.
I consider myself to be a literary writer. That last sentence is packed full of symbols. Re-read it and dwell on it a while, just don't do it on Dalrymple Drive.