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UnknownWork days fill my calendar for most of the year. Long 10-12 hour days define my work week. When the work week has surpassed reasonable tally, more time is poured into writing, studying, preparing for weekend ventures that support my work.

I am one of those few who loves what I do for a living. That old adage, “Find something that you love to do and you will never work a day in your life,” applies to me. I love going to work.

But, there is something that gnaws on my soul.  I, along with my wonderful wife, sigh often when we are getting ready to leave church and head back home. There are many around us who weekly gather their brood and head out for a family lunch.

We watch them laugh together, hug one another, tease each other, and agree to rendezvous for a shared meal. Sometimes, not often, they wave to us as they leave. We toss them a polite wave and nod our heads. Our smile is envious.

Can you feel the longing that we feel so deeply? We miss our family. But, the Good Lord has given me an assignment far away from our children and grandchildren.

Every chance we get, we sock away a few dollars here and there. We look long into our calendar and plan our next vacation to travel to meet them thousands of miles away. The bank savings account grows slowly but steadily so we can enjoy meals, gifts, and treats together.

Christmas is a great time to gather. The tiring air flight is worth the weariness and very-early-fisherman style wake-up time to catch the plane.  Early departure tickets are less expensive.

What else will get us up at 3AM to load luggage and make the hour-long drive to the airport? Waves of sleepiness waft over my consciousness. One helpful reward: the notorious Houston traffic is very light that early in the morning.

Air travel does not rank any where in sight of my favorite things to do. Sore from sitting too long, cramped aggravating conditions, and the nerve-wracking sneezing, coughing, and wheezing in recycling air sends chills up and down my spine can be held at bay as long as I concentrate on the embraces that are soon to come.

All is forgotten when squealing grandchildren call out our names. Enthusiastic hugs are welcomed to linger long. Words of love, affection, and delight soothe my mind. Family!

IMG_5080There were too many close calls on my freeway commute this afternoon.  Each time a wild and crazy moment verged on turning into an emergency, my knuckles were white while my hands strangled the steering wheel.  I ripped one hand off the wheel to hit the horn.

While I was driving just under posted speeds, I noticed that the traffic up ahead was lighting up their brake lights.   I came up to the car in front of me just as it dramatically weaved to its right on to the shoulder of the interstate.  Appearing right in front of me and taking the entire lane was a riding zero-turn-radius mower.  My brakes groaned vigorously.  Thankfully, I dodged the blockage with a jump to the freeway shoulder.

Someone is going to be very surprised when they get to their destination and look into the back of their trailer.  While most of us who deftly sidestepped the obstacle found that thought humorous, I am sure that someone is going to be very sad.  At least that light thought made me regain my composure, return my blood pressure to normal and clear my head for the rest of my long drive back to my office.

The freeway split ahead with a gentle and wide opening for destinations north and south.  Good signage gave traffic plenty of time for merging into the correct lanes.  But, well-designed traffic patterns do not make up for distracted drivers who make decisions at the last-minute.

A pickup truck heavily laden with a bed full of construction equipment was lumbering along slowly, well below the posted speeds.  No doubt its slow speed was complicated by its payload. Just as I was approaching its driver abruptly pulled into my lane while his truck bobbed and weaved under it strained suspension.

I had to braked vigorously to keep from rear-ending him.  Traffic to my left was heavy preventing any quick lane change.  My horn was sounding the alarm of both an emergency situation and a very irritated driver.  When it was safe to pass him, he was hiding his face in embarrassment.  I was just trying to catch my breath and push my heart back into my chest.

Can you imagine how many close calls fill up all of our lives?  What do you think your guardian angel would say to you when recounting how many times we were protected on any given day?

photo credit: brucefong cellphone photography

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