“Stay in your lane,” my father yelled at me. He was on the sideline during my swimming practice while I prepared for a junior level competition.
Dad could be exasperating, and never let down for minute. It was hard to take for someone like me who already was a high-achiever-or does that come from being his daughter? He was so focused on owning a business and our family. I think it was his immigrant experience that compelled him to do everything with a direct goal in mind.
Sometimes my sister and I would feel overwhelmed by all the seriousness about him, and my mother would remind us of the tough time that he had growing up in rural Lebanon. As a young boy he faced starvation that made his growth stunted to a mere five feet five inches. He chose to get an education from American missionaries, and it required him to walk for miles. I never could fathom wanting to learn so much that I would do that.
Therefore, it puzzled me one time as a young adult searching for the direct route to a career, when dad emphatically told me to look to the left and right of me, and even behind. He said that I might even be surprised if I allowed myself the freedom to step off the path a bit more. “There will be someone out there that you couldn’t even imagine ready to befriend you and guide you along the way.”
How true my dad was, and I am forever grateful for that advice. Numerous times I have found close friends, mentors, and why, even new directions to take when I took a small detour. No harm was done, and my life was enriched.