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Keep Going

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Katherine Krahn

November 29, 2023

Katrina found herself on a major highway with speeds way past her comfort level. She had to keep up with the traffic so as not to get run over. She had to maintain a status quo or else other drivers would get irritated at her and be honking their horns as they sped past and raise the one finger salute to her all the time. Yet she did not feel like she was driving at a safe speed for herself. She felt completely out of her league when it came to driving down this speedway of life.

She felt out of control even though she was working really hard to give the appearance of being in control. She was constantly on edge worrying that she would stand out too much from the crowd of other vehicles on the road if she slowed down or did what she wanted to do. What she really wanted to do was to enjoy the scenery, but it kept whizzing past her too fast to be able to see it clearly even if she could have taken time to take a glance. All her attention was on the road and driving so as not to cause an accident. That would be the greatest tragedy of all time. It would be the catastrophe of the greatest magnitude to quote Mr. Wilson from Dennis the Menace. She could not help but give the slightest uplift of her lips on that thought before her attention got caught up again with all the other drivers on the road.

There were other drivers on this speedway of life that were courteous like she was and that were staying out of the way of the really big speeders. The speeders that seemed to have everything under control and who had their life together and who had it made so far as career and fulfillment was concerned. That is if their vehicle was a good assessment. They kept driving through life like they had no concerns and as if they were the only ones who mattered and everyone else was there only to help them get further in life than they could get on their own. They never did acknowledge the other driver’s roles though. They would not be able to weave in and around traffic like they do if there weren’t other vehicles on the road. They would not even be able to compare themselves to the 'losers' who drove a more normal speed.

Country road running through farmland

She longed to turn off at some of the rest stop signs she saw, but she never caught the off ramp. She had either passed the off ramps or there were none. She never saw where they were. She saw signs for washroom breaks, for snacks, for cold drinks, for stretching one's legs in a nature walk. To stop, even if she had seen the off ramp, would mean too long before she reached her destination. It would mean that someone was waiting for her. What if she was too late to help them? It surely would be a tragedy if she arrived to late to help someone else. No, she had to keep going. All she could do is to watch longingly as the rest stop signs as they passed by. Maybe some day, she would be able to take her time to make all the stops she wanted to. Would she still want to? Who knows. All she knows is that she needs to keep moving now.

There was always someplace to go and something that needed doing. She had too many engagements and commitments to stop. There were her kids who needed her to do things for them. They were in constant need of some kind of help or other. When they were small they needed diaper changes, feedings, attention, encouragements. After all she had always had a huge desire to be a good person and that meant as a parent she needed to make sure that her children not only had all their physical needs met, but that they also got all the right kind of attention and encouragement as well as discipline when it was necessary. As they got older their needs changed. They then needed to have their lunch brought to them at school because they had forgotten about it, or they needed to have help with their homework and those big projects were the most time consuming. Sometimes she wondered if she had given them enough time. There had always been so many things that needed to be done - meals to prepare, cleaning that needed doing, never ending laundry, school events to organize, prepare for and attend as well as recitals and the practices before the recitals. The list went on and on. As they got even older their needs changed again. They still asked questions like, 'Mom! Where is...?' 'MOM! Have you seen...?' 'Mom. Can you help me with...?' 'Mom. What am I supposed to do about...?' Just like the list of things to do, the questions are never ending either. How could she possibly stop? They needed her. They would be lost without her.

Then there was the church that would collapse without her help. There was so many good deeds that needed to be done. There were so many people who needed her to stay on this highway of life. What would they do if she stopped and took a rest? No, she could not possibly stop. She had to keep going. She was after all in charge of seeing to it that the homeless people project got off the ground. It had been her idea after all. No one else would do as good a job as she could. She had the vision and the passion, so she would keep on driving that vehicle as well. It made her happy to think about all the people who would be helped by her vision for this project. Plus there was the children's programs to organize and make sure they were all taken care of as well as the small groups that the pastor had asked her to spear head which also meant that she wanted to organize some family fun events to get all the generations together in a relaxed and fun activity.

She also had a few friends who were counting on her to be there for them. She needed to set coffee and lunch dates with them so she could keep up with their lives. She knew that they were going through some rough times right now. The least she could do is to be there for them and lend them the moral support they needed as well as the practical support like making them meals and bringing it to them, going in and cleaning their house for them, doing their laundry for them, organizing some men to do the maintenance that they could not do themselves or did not have time to do. Then the hardest kind of support was to sit with them and listen to them talk about how hard life was. It always felt like she wasn’t doing enough at those times even though they said how helpful it was to them. No, she could not stop and rest.

Her work always seemed to come last and yet it was the most important of all because without some way of making money, she could not do all that she did for her family, the church, her friends and the community. She gave herself to her work as much as she could. The boss did not always appreciate when she took personal calls, but she could not regulate when she would be needed. She always tried her best to keep it short and still leave the caller feeling like she had helped them. She had come close to losing her job a couple of times, but what was she to do? She always made up the time she took from work when someone needed her. It wasn't as though she slacked off. She needed that job and so she did everything she could to make her boss proud of her. There was no way that she could stop and rest.

All she could do is to watch longingly as the signs passed her by.

She knew that it would be beneficial if she would stop. She had even seen signs that pointed to her needing to stop, but somehow she always missed the off ramp. Either they weren't there or she simply did not see them. Either way she had to keep going.

Until one day, she heard the engine on her vehicle start sounding like it was about to quit. Like it needed some oil or gas or something. She thought that if she kept going and pretending that she did not have a rough running vehicle then no one would notice and she could still blend in with everyone else. She hated being dependant on anyone and even worse was when other drivers had to accommodate for her slower vehicle. So, until she got to where her vehicle was broken down on the side of the road, she would keep going. The humiliation of being broken in plain view of everyone going past her! If she pretended that she was okay, she could maybe limp along. At least that way it would look like she was still trying and not being totally dependant on other drivers to keep from bowling her over. If she could give them enough warning to sidestep her, she would feel better about driving a broken vehicle. It was embarrassing enough to not be able to go at top speed anymore, but to have the other drivers go out of their way for her, was downright unbearable. Even though she was only going half as fast as what she used to go, she could still save face by keeping going anyway. In fact, it seemed to her that others actually admired her for her martyr attitude that she portrayed when she made sacrifices at her own expense to help other drivers. Or maybe it was just her trying to make herself feel better. All she knew is that she needed to keep going.

Have you ever felt like you were Katrina? I have been on that speedway of life. I have found more off ramps than ever before. I am learning how to recognize when it is time to take a rest and then utilize the rest stops along the highway of life.

My desire is to share with you what I have found to be helpful so you too can find more off ramps and use the rest stops more often. I will be sharing the life lessons through this website in articles, Personal Tools, Courses and fictional stories.