All Roads Lead to Rome. I remember hearing that statement when I was a child. I didn’t have a clue what it meant then, but then learned more about the Roman Empire in High School and found out that the Roman Roads were built accordingly and that truly, all of the roads led to Rome. The French poet, Alain de Lille, had coined the phrase in the Middle Ages in 1175 and it has been used ever since.
My mother once said, “Well, you will always have a home. All roads lead home.”
I understood that she was telling me that I was always welcome home, no matter if I had felt the need to travel down every other road before heading home. I didn’t have the heart to tell her that the expression was actually- All Roads Lead to Rome. I knew what she meant, and she was just communicating her love for me. I led my life for quite a few years doing anything I could to avoid being home. My mother was on guard and aware of this. Hence her desire to enable me to know that once I felt the need to settle down in my search for the unknown, I would always have a place to return.
I once developed what you would call tunnel vision. My focus, my thoughts, my desires were all completely centered on one thing. My waking thoughts soon were completely overtaken, and the what ifs seemed to swim at night when my head hit the pillow. My attention span was severely diminished and I was on overdrive and completely overwhelmed with something I thought I wanted. Something I was convinced I needed.
It didn’t matter that what I thought I wanted, really wasn’t for me. Once, my brain was trained on it, I wanted what I wanted. I would do anything I needed to to claim it as mine. I kept justifying my words and actions, stating that I had a goal and that I was always told to persevere to obtain my goals. Somewhere along the way, I had placed myself at the center of the universe and forgot that my words mattered and my actions were affecting others.
Multiple relationships began to suffer, I was exhausted because I wasn’t sleeping and my home looked as if a tornado had entered and swept through frequently. I am thankful for a dear friend that helped me stop in my tracks.
“Your tunnel vision has disabled you from seeing the carnage. Everything that has been left by the wayside, is because of you and your choices. I love you, but stop being so self- centered and start focusing on anything but you.”
Knowing how much my friend loved me and had stood by me over the years, I knew those words were shared in love, in hope of invoking real change. And they did. My tunnel vision had destroyed almost everything in my life. They were right, my self-centered focus had left carnage and I needed to start immediately repairing what could be fixed.
How do you fix everything that has been destroyed? One small step at a time. One intentional, challenging, sometimes even heartbreaking conversation and then another. Fixing the carnage requires saying I’m sorry. It always requires asking for forgiveness. Carnage repairs made me understand that because of my behavior, I also needed to be okay with not being forgiven, and that some relationships would never be restored.
The mistakes I made because of tunnel vision were what showed me that all roads really do lead home. My mom was right. Home isn’t necessarily comfortable. Home isn’t always where I wished I was able to dwell. But Home is Home for a reason. Not the house, not the structure. But the people. The family and loved ones. The memories and the excitement of what is yet to come. Every single road that leads Home, is the road I hope to find.
When I lose my way, when something distracts me, or even when the bumps and ruts seem to be too much. I am thankful for the fact that all roads lead home. Fully aware of my tendency for tunnel vision to take over in all aspects of my life, I am now on guard like the Roman soldiers. Aware, cautious and ready to stand my ground until the road home seems possible.