Oncoming Surprises

What a successful morning! It was 10:00 am and I was driving home with a happy child and a to-do list full of check marks. As I prepared to exit and turn from a three lane highway onto my main road home, I noticed headlights. Headlights coming at me head-on, in my lane. Thankfully, traffic was light and this poor woman managed to pull into our turn lane and regroup without incident. As I passed I noted the confused look on the elderly woman’s face and a determination to self-correct immediately. I was thankful I hadn’t honked; the confusing construction detours change more frequently than the Queen Mother’s hats.

Oddly enough, this was NOT my first experience with oncoming traffic headed down my lane on a major highway, on the wrong side of a median. The first time was in South Korea, where it is fairly common. It happened once again in Arizona.

The irony of the situation was that at that precise moment I was thinking that today marks the anniversary of the D-Day invasion; one of the most influential and deadly days of American History. Our soldiers were sent against opposing forces in nearly every respect. These men certainly understood the dangers of facing oncoming opposition.

As a military wife and after years of working with veterans, I truly and deeply treasure the few remaining WW2 veterans. I distinctly remember a day of touring WW2 veterans at the National Infantry Museum on a day that Basic Trainees also flooded the museum. Those poor trainees did their best to attract the attention of the young ladies in the area, but to no avail. The ladies were too busy swooning over the 80 + men on their arms.  I overheard one grousing to his buddy and with a smile put my hand on his shoulder consolingly. “My dear, don’t take it personally. You can’t compete with a man who stormed Normandy.” He laughed and went on his way.

Now, just before leaving post I stopped to fill up at the gas station next to the PX. In the process I observed a wiry but strong man in a navy blue WW2 Veteran hat. He lumbered in a sway under the weight of his one purchase- a 36 case of Bud Light. As he put it into the trunk I couldn’t help but chuckle. No doubt he wanted the same thing wherever he was on June 6, 1944.

What are your D-Days? When did you have face the strongholds in your greatest battles and start a days-long attack that would bring about victory? What was the cost?

Our most memorable and usually frightening times are when we are fighting upstream. Sometimes it is a deadly but weighed decision, like the Normandy invasion. Sometimes it is a mistake- like missing the signs saying where to drive. We all face opposition in life; sometimes minor and sometimes substantial. (I am not sure trying to cross the room to put away laundry with a 1 year old in a spider-monkey-death-grip on my legs really counts, but it’s the image that came to mind.) Opposition may be because you are doing the right thing. It may be because you are doing the wrong thing. Let’s not confuse negative consequences with ‘opposing forces’ and call it a noble cause.

Whatever roads you are turning down today, I hope it isn’t into oncoming traffic. If it is, I hope you have the right of way and come out unscathed. If you do see someone trying to turn around and correct their course, try not to honk unnecessarily. If you’re about to be hit, however, blow that horn like Gabriel with my blessing.

I once heard a friend say, “I thought I was having a bad day. Then I watched the first 9 minutes of Saving Private Ryan.” I hope your day is one filled with earned success. If it’s a day filled with turbulence, an uphill climb, oncoming fire, and mass confusion— well, it is the anniversary of D-Day.


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