Where is your life-taxi taking you?

Canal Street 2017
Have you ever gone back to a place that was pivotal in your life and compared where you ended up against where you expected to end up?  Fifteen years ago, I was in New Orleans for my last week of Six Sigma Blackbelt training and a graduation celebration.  The cab ride scared me.  I was alone and we were going down what seemed like alleys where everything was boarded up.  I wondered where I was being taken and realized there was little I could do but hope and pray I ended up in the right spot, alive. On arrival at the hotel, one of the cleaning staff passed me in the hall and asked what room I was looking for.  After sharing the room number she told me, "that one is haunted."

My waking hours in that room were spent praying, reading my Bible, or calling Greg.  Somehow, one little phrase messed with me.  I did not sleep well.  Several forays onto Bourbon Street convinced me that I was a fish out of water in New Orleans.  The week of learning was good and the graduation celebrations were fun but I came home from that trip stating, "I will never go there again."

Well, life has a way of taking you into boarded up alleys and dragging you back to things that scare you.  Last week I was back in New Orleans for an amazing conference hosted by the Society for Human Resource Management.  This time Greg came with me to be my body guard, luggage wrangler, and constant friend.  Our cab driver was excellent and our hotel room was not haunted.  Bourbon Street was still Bourbon Street, and after a couple of strolls down it I didn't need to go there anymore. But my thoughts kept zig zagging back and forth through the last fifteen years.

Alligator 2017
Never would I have imagined returning to New Orleans, the owner of my own company.  Yet that's where my life taxi took me.  Of all the places in the world I didn't want to go back to, I ended up in New Orleans.  And we had a blast.  We went on a Cajun Pride Swamp Tour, heard Harry Connick Jr. sing live, and I listened to Patrick Lencioni talk.  I met Donna from Utah and Cathy from Dallas.  I visited with Rick who grew up in New Jersey while I waited in the longest Starbucks line ever.  Every day I walked more than 10,000 steps because the convention centre in New Orleans was very, very big.

While I walked there was lots of time to think. During my first visit to Louisiana, I hadn't considered starting a business, we were city slickers, and it seemed like our teenagers would be teenagers forever.  Here I was, fifteen years later on my sixth year in business, living in the country, and my teenagers had grown up.  While I was reflecting, I knew the ride wasn't over yet.

There have been many times over the last fifteen years when life has felt like a hopeless maze of boarded up alleys I was being taken through in a taxi someone else was driving.  Sometimes it was maddening, other times the life taxi brought me to wonderful destinations I hadn't imagined.  My taxi was being driven by someone else. That part was not my imagination.  One of the constants through the time was my faith.  You and I are part of something larger we don't yet understand.  Although the alleyway seems to be blocked off or boarded up, it isn't.  We simply need to keep moving one foot ahead of the other, life-blisters and all.  Because there is a greater Power than us, that is holding open doors just waiting for us to walk on through.