Discernment, The Inner Landscape

Sense of Direction

When I was a teenager, my family moved to Historic Billsburg,
and in those days just before cable TV became an expected household feature, we
discovered we were living in a vast wasteland. The major TV stations came from
cities 60 miles away in different directions, and our only hope of connection,
a fuzzy one at that, was the antenna on the roof.

That antenna had a guidance system, a box with a dial that sat on top of
the TV in our family room. No one in the family could master it, save me. I was
the one called when we really needed the CBS affiliate from State Capitol
instead of the one nearer Jane Austen’s Village.
I became known as the family member who knew how to make the technical things
work, and the person with a sense of direction.

How my parents might have laughed to hear me calling home from my cell
phone last week after I drove to turned up Left Hill instead
of going straight through Small Town to my destination of Right Hill Road! I gave my
location to the helpful Global Positioning System Agent (my patient husband), and
he helped me navigate cross-country to Right
Hill Road without going all the way back into Small Town.

It was not the first time recently I needed just that kind of help. After
church a couple of weeks ago, attracted by a sign declaring “Fresh Corn” I
detoured out to the country on the way home. After leaving Spectacular Corn Farm, I didn’t want to go all the way
back to my original route, so I started driving vaguely eastward. I knew I would hit
something familiar eventually. That time it was Snowman who helped from home.

These were relatively simple problems to solve, and if my Vacationland Map and
Gazetteer had been in the car and not on my desk, there would have been no
problem in the first place. But there are times when finding our direction is
more complicated, especially when we are searching in the dark.

Pure Luck had to find his way back to his campsite in the dark this week, after his
very long hike, and he was frustrated when first one flashlight and then
another gave out. He ended up using his cell phone as a flashlight, instead. It
gave him some ambient light, but none of those sources could really show him
the grade of the earth beneath his feet. None of those lights shone bright
enough to keep him from falling into a ditch too close to the trail. 

In life we all have times where we find ourselves walking a path that is
unknown or hard to see clearly. That’s the time when we need to call on the
Universal Positioning System, the One who helps us no matter how confused our
direction. God will be ready to shine the light; we only need to call.

8 thoughts on “Sense of Direction”

  1. I’m feeling a bit like Pure Luck, trying to make my way in the dark with only a dim light to guide the way. Spiritually, I feel like I’ve been struggling for awhile now.
    When my daughter was much younger, we were driving through an unfamiliar part of a nearby city. We reached a stop sign and I had no idea which way to go. I remember saying, “My gut tells me we should turn left.” She laughed and said, “Then you probably better turn right!” Scary thing is, she was right! Sometimes the only thing I can tune in to is my gut, but sometimes it fails me. I’m in need of directions from the Universal Position System.

  2. As soon as I posted that last comment, I remembered a quote from Anne Lamott’s Bird by Bird.
    E. L. Doctorow once said that “writing a novel (or I might add, living life, doing ministry, parenting children . . .) is like driving a car at night. You can see only as far as your headlights, but you can make the whole trip that way.

  3. Ouch…yes. I’m praying that maybe Greenbelt will enable me to see a few things more clearly in the course of the coming weekend.
    I don’t want to drive straight into a wall, with a car load of passengers whom I love.

  4. I drive like this too and as a result I know many different “shortcuts”. I’m not sure if thats going to work for me in the midwest…better start carrying a map!

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