Saturday, October 22, 2016

Map Mystery

It won't be long until it's traveling time for me with Thanksgiving and Christmas coming up! This is from December 28, 2012. Greetings from the McDonald’s in Nashville, Arkansas. I arrived last evening after leaving Wichita following four days with my brothers Dave and Scott and their families. It’s become a tradition of  mine, if you can call two years in a row a tradition, to spend several days during the Christmas holidays on the farm where my mom was born and raised. It’s now owned by my Aunt Jerry and Uncle Jack who live in El Dorado but come here once a month or whenever any of my generation visit. It brings back wonderful childhood memories for me and this year an extra treat, SNOW!

Leaving Texas, I carried printed Mapquest directions from Houston to Kansas to Arkansas back to Houston. I could probably get by without them on the first leg of my journey but not on the other sections. Yesterday morning, as I was getting ready to leave, Scott asked if I wanted their extra  Magellan navigation system since they weren't using it any more. I explained that I was grateful but that I didn't know how to use one. Scott told me that it was easy and that he would program it with the address in Arkansas. It looked easy and I figured I could teach myself, even though I’m technologically deficient, so I accepted Scott’s very gracious offer. It was so cold, Scott could not get the Magellan to attach to the windshield so he just laid it on he passenger seat. And it was great! I loved the woman’s voice directing me at each turn, warning me of impending changes in highways. But as I reached for my wallet at a toll booth, I made contact with the screen and it went to main menu. I panicked and pulled off the road to call Scott, who talked me through resetting it. Several hours later, it happened again, shortly before I was to exit the turnpike. I simply switched back to my written directions and exited. When I reset the Magellan, I found it at odds with the Mapquest which led me one way while the Magellan told me to get back on the Indian Nation Turnpike. Immediately, I began going around in circles, not knowing what to trust. I lost faith in both began drifting in my Honda Fit. I could not find the road Mapquest suggested and the Magellan kept telling me to turn around. I tried to combine the advice from both and ended up driving an extra thirty miles or so. At least the Magellan could make corrections from my current locations and eventually I arrived in Nashville an hour or so behind schedule. Aunt Jerry and Uncle Jack were understanding.

Are you ever caught between conflicting ways to travel in life? Do you have two friends who both care for you and want the best for you but give diametrically opposed advice? Do you try to please both and compromise and end up just going around in circles? How do we handle it when our instincts tell us to turn right and everyone else says to turn left? When I was a boy, one of my favorite hymns was Lead Kindly Light, written by  John Newman:

Lead, kindly Light, amid the encircling gloom, lead Thou me on!
The night is dark, and I am far from home; lead Thou me on!
Keep Thou my feet; I do not ask to see
The distant scene; one step enough for me.

I was not ever thus, nor prayed that Thou shouldst lead me on;
I loved to choose and see my path; but now lead Thou me on!
I loved the garish day, and, spite of fears,
Pride ruled my will. Remember not past years!

So long Thy power hath blest me, sure it still will lead me on.
O’er moor and fen, o’er crag and torrent, till the night is gone,
And with the morn those angel faces smile, which I

Have loved long since, and lost awhile!     

I need that kindly light to guide me. I need it when I'm pulled in different directions and I don't know which path to take. But when I really need it the most is when I think I don't need it, when the self-reliant part of me is arrogant
and my own drummer I'm marching to is out of step but I'm too self absorbed to notice. Jesus proclaimed Himself the light of the world as well as the way/truth/life. That's a pretty good road map for life. His directional steps aren't contradictory and if I can stay out of my own way, I won't keep going around in circles. But, I'm still determined to figure out that Magellan so I can handle the short journeys that together make my life. I'll call you if I get lost.

Applicable quote of the day:
“Maps are essential. Planning a journey without a map is like building a house without drawings.”
Mark Jenkins (The Hard Way: Stories of Danger, Survival, and the Soul of Adventure)

God bless,
Luke 18:1
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