May 26, 2017

Construction Zone Ahead by Marnie Pohlmann

living the dream
A few years ago, my husband and I celebrated our 30th wedding anniversary by taking a 30-day motorcycle trip. We started by riding from British Columbia through Alberta to Saskatchewan for our son's wedding festivities. Then we meandered down to the United States, through Montana, across Idaho, along the Oregon Coast, up through Washington's Okanogan County and back into Canada's Okanagan Valley. We then headed over to Vancouver Island to celebrate the wedding of friends, and back north to home in the BC Peace Region.

We saw beautiful scenery, encountered both sun and storms, rode in highway traffic and secondary road serenity. We experienced good days and bad days - just like 30 years of marriage has ups and downs.

stop light in the middle of nowhere
Another kind of encounter we had on our trip which is like marriage was traveling through construction zones. On busy highways, traffic was reduced to one lane. In the middle of nowhere temporary stop lights directed the sporadic flow of vehicles over a single-lane bridge. 

Road to the Sun
On top of Montana's "Road to the Sun" in Glacier National Park, workers were repairing the twisty, narrow highway, and with the heavy fog and rain of that day, it appeared they were hanging off a cliff on the edge of the world. Some day we need to do that Road to the Sun in the sun so we can see the grand vistas that were hidden by the weather.

slip sliding along
Closer to home, in the Pine Pass, we road through slippery, deep mud. Thankfully, the flag person waved motorcycles to the front of the line, just behind the pilot car, so we did not have to contend with the flying mud and wheel ruts left by the trucks in the long line of impatient vehicles.

There are not many trips we have taken when we have not come upon a construction zone. Funny how we remember those short times of inconvenience more than we appreciate when the road is clear and smooth.

When I think of construction zones I see a picture of the out-of-my-comfort zones of faith, writing, and life in general.

Construction zones seem to be everywhere throughout our travels. Out-of-my-comfort zones also seem to be everywhere. Parenting, healing, moving, new jobs. My whole life has been filled with uncomfortable times, often when I am in a construction zone of faith. Like construction zones, out-of-my-comfort zones can be found during the quiet and the busy, in the lows and the highs, in the light and the dark of life. I seem to notice them more than when I’m traveling along in a comfort zone.

motorcycles use extra caution
With all those areas of discomfort, I wondered if I have ever actually been in a comfort zone. What is a comfort zone, anyway? Perhaps there are no rules to comfort zones. No boundaries, no limits, no timelines. A comfort zone for some is being alone, for others, it is being with people. For some, it is being Martha and for others, it is being Mary. Each one is different. So, if comfort zones are so varied, can we really be out of a comfort zone? Perhaps comfort zones are just good roads with a few cracks starting. So when we feel out of our comfort zone we are simply in a comfort zone that is undergoing construction.

Construction zones may be a delay, a short detour, or a rough and muddy section. The delays of construction indicate better roads ahead so our future travel will be smoother. Being out of my comfort zone is also a time of construction, building in me a skill and a will for something still to come.

Many years ago, part of my Administrative Secretary Certificate college course included a class on public speaking. Why would a secretary need to learn to give speeches? Yet each week my classmates and I prepared and presented Toastmaster-type monologues. Years later, that time of skill building provided direction for me to navigate some of the expectations of being a pastor's wife - giving a devotional at a baby shower, speaking at ladies’ meetings and a retreat, or leading communion and impromptu prayer times. And these out of my comfort zone times are preparing me, perhaps, for a future adventure of author readings.

The journey from shame-filled young woman to introvert but stepping out in faith woman took much construction, many delays, and more than a few detours. When I think of times where I felt out of my comfort zone, in hindsight I was not truly out of my comfort zone, because God had already paved the way, preparing and training me for the next section of road.

As a meme on Facebook said, "Sorry for the inconvenience - I am under construction." Still. My life is a never-ending out of my comfort construction zone. Praise God! The adventure of my ride in life continues.  How is your adventure? Do you trust God to pave the way?

Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light on my path.
Psalm 119:105 (NIV)

Writer-biker Marnie lives her life under construction in northern BC. Travel the road with her at Phosphorescent, her blog about absorbing and reflecting God's light on the adventures of life.


  1. Thanks, Marnie, for this delightful and insightful blog that shares what you've learned metaphorically on a motorcycle driving through construction zones. I've heard the song, "Life Is a Highway," but I don't think it mentions the construction zones or the fact that God is with us on our trip. Nor do the lyrics mention how God works with us when we're smack-dab in the middle of these construction zones.

    You have much to share and much to teach us, Marnie. Do keep writing.

    1. Sharon, I thought it was odd that I was taking pictures of construction zones while on this trip, but I knew God would teach me something about them. I took other odd photos, too, so will have to ponder what God is showing me through those, too.

  2. Wow! You are finding joy in something that is way out of my comfort zone, biker - Marnie. It is so interesting how our comfort zones vary! The very things that are comfortable for one person are not so comfortable for others. Thanks for sharing your adventures and you see God in all of it.

  3. Let's be clear here - I am the passenger on the bike, not the driver. I trust my hubby to drive while I sit back, lean with the bike, and take pictures. I'm glad we have various comfort zones. God speaks to each of us in such unique ways that make our relationship with Him so intimate.

  4. Thanks for sharing, Marnie. Our family experienced Road to the Sun last year - in our van, driven by my motorcycle-loving husband. The scenery was amazing! I hope you can get back there sometime.

    1. It is an experience! We saw motorhomes making those tight turns and I was glad to be on a motorcycle. Then we'd ride through a waterfall and I wasn't so glad. We were in a long line of traffic so couldn't take bike advantage of the turns (thankfully!) I can imagine Kendal wanting too in the van! LOL Yes, by bike or vehicle I definitely want to go again.

  5. Happy Belated 30th. Ha ha. And you are one brave girl whether you are driving or not. My husband likes the mountain curves too so I found it fun but a little scary in the city when we would hear car brakes squealing behind us. And we have been on Going to the Sun Road 5 times. It never gets any more 'comfortable'for me. That would be a big discomfort zone for me - :)
    Good. To know like you said that God goes ahead and makes the paths straight for us, even though they feel crooked at times!
    Pam M.

    1. Pam, I have learned the secret to motorcycles is to lean with the bike when it is leaning into a curve. And the secret to making the corners while walking with God is to lean into Him while He leads into the curve. Scary, sometimes, but if I don't lean into God I crash!


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