From Difficult Roads to Beautiful Destinations

On a recent visit to Cracker Barrel, I found a plaque I had to have for my office.

“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.”

So true! Every crisis or trauma in my life has birthed something good—a new opportunity, a terrific new friend, or a new direction that’s led to more blessings. Some of these experiences involved tough choices and sacrifices. And some took me to dark places before returning to the light, but in the long run, I gained something positive from each one.

And those life experiences prepared me for what was to come. I gained experience, knowledge, and maybe even a little wisdom in order to do the next thing—write. Not that my writing is changing the world, mind you. But it changed my world! And I believe it will serve a purpose in someone else’s too.

The other day, I looked at my plaque from Cracker Barrel in a new light.

“Difficult roads often lead to beautiful destinations.”

I realized that this is the theme of almost every novel written. Each begins with a difficult road, and ends with a beautiful destination.

That’s what makes reading so satisfying for us. We meet the hero or heroine, or both, and get to know them, and like them. When they get in trouble, we get upset. If it’s a suspense story, and someone is after them, we’re on pins and needles as they try to escape. If it’s an especially well written story, we might find ourselves yelling at the book in our hands. “Don’t go in there!” “Turn around!” “Don’t trust him—or her!”

Using my book, Deadly Guardian, as an example, the reader learns about Madison Long from the back of the book and from the first paragraph.

“Madison Long, a high school chemistry teacher, looks forward to a relaxing summer break. Instead, she suffers through a nightmare of threats, terror, and death. When she finds a man murdered she once dated, Detective Nate Zuberi is assigned to the case, and in the midst of chaos, attraction blossoms into love. (back copy, Deadly Guardian)

“The watcher was back, his eyes recording Madison Long’s every move. Her skin crawled, but she willed her body to remain still. She scanned the scene outside her kitchen window. Where was he hiding?” (First paragraph, Deadly Guardian)

As readers, we begin to like Madison, and we see the threat to her immediately—the difficult road she will have to travel.

In any book, we get caught up in the protagonist’s problems, and our own fade into the background for a while. As he or she overcomes attackers, solve dilemmas, and finds true love, we feel a sense of well-being.  Good triumphs over evil, and our souls find peace.

In Deadly Guardian, we get a hint of a beautiful destination in the end through Madison’s relationship with Nate Zuberi. Will they find her deadly guardian? Will she and Nate remain together in the end? If not, what will be the beautiful destination for our school teacher?

I guess you’ll have to read Deadly Guardian to find out.

Each novel we read gives us the gift of hope for our own lives. Hope that our difficult roads will lead to beautiful destinations in time.

What beautiful destinations have come from your difficult roads? How has a particular book encouraged you or given you hope?