I’m going to take a little detour now and talk about the roads I’d hoped would never end. From here on out, these 50 roads might not be in chronological order, but I promise you, they are all headed exactly where they’re meant to end up.

But let’s talk about life’s most pleasant roads and how we wish they would never end. Something I learned from my unraveling is that when something is hurting inside and needing to be healed, we humans will often search our lives over for the one safe and magical road where everything will be okay. And every time we don’t find it, we think we’ve done something wrong or that maybe we aren’t worthy of the perfect magical road that’s out there somewhere.

Never-ending magical roads sound good in theory. But let’s really think through what that would actually be like.

What if we were on the same long road our whole life and we just had to wonder what was down the side roads? What if we were on a road that we could never get off of even if we wanted to someday? What if a road felt right for a while, but then it didn’t…but we had to stay on it anyway just because it was perfect and magical once?

I think what would happen is that we’d have to put blinders on to survive it. We’d have to numb ourselves so that we didn’t want anything different.

We are actually so lucky that we get to be on so many different roads throughout our lives. It doesn’t always feel lucky though, does it?

I always loved the thought of the yellow brick road. I was a magical thinker as a kid. I have an enormous imagination and my brain feels much more comfortable playing in the non-physical than in reality. I have to pull myself down from the clouds A LOT. I dreamed up the biggest, brightest, funnest life. There’s a word that floats around a lot these days — “manifest.” I think I’ve been doing that my whole life, designing something in my head and then putting all of my energy into making it a reality, and believing with all that’s in me that it’s possible.

I often wish life just worked in such a way that you could design exactly how you want it to be, and nothing could stand in your way. But things do stand in our way – sometimes it’s other people, sometimes it’s unexpected life circumstances, often it’s our own selves.

We DO sometimes end up exactly where we dreamed and hoped we would end up, and it always feels magical at first. Sometimes it feels magical for a really long time. But then things change. We change. Other people change. Life changes.

We get signs that it’s time to move on and we often ignore them, then all sorts of things start to happen because we didn’t move on when our gut told us it was time. Our bodies will always tell us when something needs to change. Trusted people around us can help us know for sure that it’s time to move on when we can’t see it ourselves. There are times when we have lots of choices and we still don’t choose. There are also times when it feels like we have hardly any choices at all.

And then there are the times where things happen that FORCE us to move, whether it feels like the right time or not. Sometimes things happen in a natural flow and sometimes things happen that are just downright crummy and unfair.

I my work, I often talk about “The 3 Hurts,” which are:

  1. Choices we make that leave us with painful consequences
  2. Choices other people make that leave us with painful consequences
  3. Things that happen that are completely out of everyone’s control – leaving us with painful consequences.

Pretty much everything that hurts in life falls into one of those 3 categories.

So, sometimes you are on a road that you don’t want to be on as a consequence of choices you made for yourself. Sometimes you are on a road you don’t want to be on because of the consequences of someone else’s choices. And sometimes, you are on a road you DO want to be on, but you don’t get to stay on it because of things that happen that are out of your control.

Today I am diligently reminding myself about ALL of the roads that I thought I wanted to stay on forever. There’s not just one. I’ve been on a few of those magical roads in just the last few years. I’ve been on perfect roads that I tried so hard to stay on forever multiple times throughout my life.

And just about every time I had to get off of that particular perfect road, I felt like my best days were over. I felt gutted. It felt unfair every time.

And then I grew. Sometimes we grow out of something while we are still in it, and sometimes we grow past something once we are out of it.

Right before we had our 5th baby, when I was 29 years old and Marq was 31 years old, we moved to a beautiful, 100 year old historic rock farm house on 7 acres. We completely remodeled it and added 2 acres of gorgeous green lawn. We planted lots of big trees to add to the ones that were already there and we started making plans immediately for how we would spend the rest of our life there. I envisioned our grandchildren coming over someday and how I’d put wreaths in every window at Christmas and luminaries lining the driveway for Halloween.

It was a magical time in our life, in our family’s life. Our 4th baby had just turned 1 year old when we had our 5th. So Marq and I would sleep in separate rooms, each taking a baby and we would sometimes meet up in the kitchen in the middle of the night while were both making a warm bottle for the baby we had in tow. Our 3 older children were 5, 8 and 11. They were old enough to be madly in love with those babies and our family was having a fairy tale life of love and laughter and growth.

Our 2 daughters shared a bedroom, and we put the two baby boys in one room and our oldest son had a room of his own. But no matter how I put those children to bed, every morning I would find them piled up in the same room, sleeping right next to each other. They’re all adults now and they are still so close to each other. And now their children, as cousins are all madly in love with each other the way their parents were when they were little.

We had so many parties at that house. We had cousins over all the time. We played in the yard, in the fields and on the wrap-around porch. There were giant trees that provided shade and it was the softest grass you could ever wish for.

Our life was perfect and magical. I never wanted it to end. And I believed with my whole heart that this magical life we’d built would never end. Why would it?

And then when the babies were 3 and 4 years old, after we’d lived that perfect life for 3 magical years, Marq had his accident. A traumatic brain injury.

That’s a story for another day but we had to leave that perfect magical house and drive down THAT magical dirt road for the last time too. I was able to hold up our life for 3 years after his accident, but then I just couldn’t hold it up anymore and we had to leave the road that I wanted to stay on forever.

I also had a business called Chatterbox that I wanted to have forever, and we lost that after his accident too. It was a road that we paved with blood, sweat and tears — and so much joy! It was a road that we also thought we’d be on for the rest of our lives, we hoped we’d passed it on to our kids! But things happened and that road crumbled into the sea.

We have lived in 8 different houses throughout our 31 year marriage. Until we were in the last house at Brave River Ranch, I fully intended that at least 4 of those houses would be our lifetime home. I worked so hard to create a home and a perfect magical life that would last forever like it was in a safe little snow globe.

It never did last forever though.

Here’s what I’ve learned as the result of being on COUNTLESS roads that I wanted to stay on forever — I can’t know what I want forever TODAY. I can’t know what the future will hold and what is even out there to choose from. I can’t know what will be my best road next year or even tomorrow.

But I always end up on it somehow.

So do you.

Today we drove up a several roads in central Utah. The views were breathtaking. On one of our high mountain roads, it was raining and it made everything so beautiful. Down lower, it was the desert and it was dry. In the meadows, there were wildflowers pretty much everywhere that didn’t have a grove of aspen or pine trees. A creek flowed through the meadow that spanned for what seemed like miles.

It was the most magical drive on the most magical roadS. ROADS. Plural.

If you would have told me 5 years ago that I would live in Utah EVER in my life, I would not have been able to stop laughing at the ridiculous thought of it.
I was a bonafide Idaho girl, through and through! Forever!

We have now lived in Utah for most of the last 2 years. We have been on hundreds of roads that blew my mind with their beauty and tranquility.

And guess what, I never want to leave here. I am currently on a road that I would love to be on forever.

BUT — I’m not doing that to myself anymore. And if you’re listening, I would not recommend doing that to yourself either. It just makes you suffer when you think that if you do everything right, you’ll get to stay in the magical places forever.

Here’s a secret…magical places start to lose their magic after you stay past your time. Because YOUR GROWTH is what makes them magical. YOU are what brings the magic to magical places. And when you stop growing and changing, the magic fades.

But guess what? That same magic is waiting for you on the next road.

I have lived in my “dream house” a couple of times in my life. I have had my “dream furniture” and my “dream yard.” I loved it.

And now I live in a medium sized RV that is 16 years old with outdated cabinets and wallpaper — and I can say with all honesty that at this exact time in my life, I am living in my “dream house.” It is a magical, perfect life that we are living right now because we are learning and growing and transforming in ways that would never be possible had we stayed where we were ANY of those times that I was sure I wanted to stay forever.

It’s 2021 and we are in the middle of a global shake-up on so many levels. Chances are, if it hasn’t already happened, you or someone you are very close to is going to have to leave their perfect, magical life on their perfect, magical road. The one you or they were absolutely sure would last FOREVER.

And I promise you that you are going to be okay. There are SO MANY ROADS that you don’t even know about yet, waiting for you to discover. There are roads that you will carve and pave yourself. There are roads that you’ll drive down faster than you should because you’ll know instantly that they are not right for you.

And no matter what road you end up on, it’s going to be the perfect, magical road for you at the exact right time in your life. There will be roads that you will miss forever because they were so good to you. But isn’t that one of the joys of life, to have roads we can look back on fondly?

YOU ARE THE MAGIC on the most magical roads. YOU ARE THE PERFECTION when your life feels perfect. And what’s totally great about that is that no matter what you have to leave behind, YOU are the one thing that will always be on whatever Soul Road you end up on.

So, fellow traveler . . .
What past roads did YOU think you wanted to stay on forever?
What magic on your current road are you neglecting because you wish you were somewhere else?

I will leave you with one of my all time favorite quotes….

“There will come a time when you believe everything is finished; that will be the beginning. ”
Louis L’Amour

Tomorrow I will take you to “The Road Where I Changed My Name” – see you then!


melody ross