Saturday, July 7, 2012

Wrong Sides and Roundabouts

My wandering, wonderful daughter is now in Australia.  
Seeing new stuff, enjoying making new friends, struggling with employment issues, 
but in general having the time of her life.
She recently shared with me her experience of driving in a foreign country. 

In Australia, all cars must drive on the left side of the road.
Personally, I find that would be mind-boggling, but it seems to not bother much.

Another factor which could add to this complication is that her vehicle is a stick shift.

Here's your mind-exercise....
Pretend you are holding the steering wheel with your right hand 
and having to shift gears with your left hand.
all while driving on the left hand side of the road.

Still another complicating factor is all of this is that the intersections are all "roundabouts"

Getting out of a roundabout is dependent on knowing the name of the road you wish to get on and then knowing where the exit is located within the circle.  
Also, in Australia, the pronunciation of street names are not remotely phonetic.  (They may have given directions to turn onto O-NESS street which happens to be spelled like JONES.)
It's disorienting to the driver.
I had a friend tell me that when she was there, she had a passenger in her car reminding her to
"Stay left!  Stay left!"
Turn here!
Stay left!
Go around again and stay left.  
Now get right."

Sometimes, I think grief and pain is like that.
People in deep soul-pain are in a unfamiliar, foreign place which they've never been.
They have no experience and are utterly unprepared to navigate the overwhelming journey.
Emotional wrecking is common.

I will forever be grateful for the friends who entered into my roundabout of pain to encourage me.  The ones who wrote me letters, notes, called me up on the phone, took me to lunch, asked me into their home or came to visit me in mine,..until I could find my own way onto a road of healing.
"I've no idea how you feel but I love you."
"I'm sorry for your pain."
"I'm here."
"I've been in your shoes."
"you are doing good"
"I'm here"

 and then there were those who heaped more hurt onto me.
(They aren't forgotten either.)
Maybe they didn't mean to be mean,....but their stupid impatience made a significant and unforgettable impact on me.  People in pain need more quiet concern than others.

Luckily I have way more memories of friends who gave encouragement than
I do of the "friends" who were hurtful and mean.
Some people can't say that.