Saturday, July 19, 2008

Not all who wander are lost, but generally I am... lost that is

To say I am directionally challenged would probably be a grand understatement. I honestly think that the term "so and so could get lost in a paper sack" describes me to a t (just replace so and so with Robbie). This has caused me some pretty severe problems in the past.
For example, last summer I got lost in the city I was living in. I was talking to a friend on my phone (another reason why cell phones and driving are a bad idea), and missed a turn or something. This wouldn't be all bad, except for it was dark, I had no idea where I was going, and my emergency gas light came on. It was a bit scary. I had to put the 2 dollars worth of change I scrounged up into my gas tank to finally make my way back.
Today... well... let's just say, today has not been my day. To start off, I rode my bike around the community. Knowing that I am directionally challenged, I made sure to make note of where I was going. I didn't get lost, however something almost as horrifying occurred. I stopped into a store for a few minutes to pick something up, and just as I clicked the lock down on my bike lock the thought occurred to me.... I forgot the key to my bike lock. Luckily I was only a couple blocks away, and also luckily I have a sense of humor about myself enough to laugh at how ridiculous the whole thing was. I just laughed and thought "there has got to be a sermon illustration somewhere in this".
Little did I know as I was laughing about the key incident that a far greater storm was brewing. I took some students out for coffee. It was awesome! A great place, the sort of place I would love to hang out in. I brought them home, said goodbye.
In my arrogance I thought, I don't need to check the map quest directions, I made it here fine, surely I can find my way out. This was my first mistake.
The second problem arose when it got dark. You see, everyone tells me it is hard to get lost because the mountains are to the west and the city to the east.... which is totally awesome, IF you can see the mountains and the city. When you go the wrong way and are in some small suburb with too many buildings to see any direction, in the dark, well... let's just say it is a lot easier to get turned around.
The third problem is, I have a tendency to continue to get more lost, because I always think "the next street will be a street I recognize". The problem with that statement is, I moved here 1 week ago and don't recognize any of the streets. I just end up wandering. Thinking I am going west, when I'm really going east, etc.
Since I get lost quite frequently, you might even call it a hobby of mine, I just sort of rode it out. Drove around, thinking this was a great opportunity to learn the neighborhood and such. I was thinking that it could be far worse, like the time I got lost on the east side of Detroit. (For those of you who don't know, getting lost on the east side of the most dangerous city in the US, is not a great place to be lost). That's when I started to see the bars on the windows of the gas stations and convenience stores.
I still wasn't nervous. I have this disorder, it's extremely low blood pressure. Few things stress me out, and probably if I got any more relaxed about things, I'd be dead. However, I decided I would like to get home tonight instead of arriving to youth group tomorrow night at 6pm, if I could ever find the church even.
So I called my sister, who had the map and directed me home.
Now there are several obvious illustrations that come to mind. Cliche really. My sister was like Jesus and I couldn't get unlost until I asked her for help, or trying to fix things on my own was doing no good, or my personal favorite pride comes before a fall. And though all of these statements are true, and though they may be applied to my situation, I don't really feel like any of those things are the lesson I learned.
I did learn, 1) it might not be a bad idea to invest in a GPS system, 2) that in the midst of confusion and lack of direction, you can still have peace.
Maybe that is still somewhat cliche, but I really never worried the whole time I was out, because eventually the sun would come up (I might have to drive for a long time, and get gas a time or two) and I would see where the mountains are, and I would be able to orient myself. It may not have been for hours, but it would come, and I would find my way again.
I didn't give up hope, because I knew that the sun was faithful, that the mountains were faithful as well, and without fail, they would be right where I left them.
So, maybe you took from my story that Jesus intervenes with the map when we are lost, or consult the map (God's word) before making decisions, which I think are also valuable lessons, but what I learned is that even when it seems like there is no map, when there are parts of life that seem gray, dark, hopeless. When it seems like there is no way out of whatever situation we are in, whether we have put ourselves there or not, the sun will eventually rise, and the mountains will still be where they were, and we can have peace, because even when we can't see Him, He's there. He's always there.

No comments: