They say it’s not the destination that counts, but the journey getting there. I agree – to a point. For without a clear destination, a person can get lost. Even with the best planning, however, there are still the unexpected treasures or displeasure to encounter. So, trophy or tragedy, more living goes into the trip than the ‘there’ (except, in my opinion, if it happens to be the Grand Canyon!) Are we there yet?
Yes, it’s the unexpected detours, the rough spots in the road, or a picturesque roadside for a picnic; the outrageous drivers, or fellow companions’ moods; and even the body of the transport that make it interesting; and proves your skill at travel – or living the journey.
Take our little road trip today for example. If you don’t mind the details, you’ll arrive at my intended destination.What was going to be an overnight stay in Hernando, MS to get an early start at the Como, MS auction, changed to “we’ll get an early morning start and save the hotel cost”. The more he looked at some other trucks on-line, the more he leaned toward stopping in Memphis to look at a truck, then on to Como. By the time we went to bed, he had decided we’d just forget the auction and look at two trucks in the Memphis area, Exit 60 and then Collierville. So, this way, we could get Auggie’s day started as usual (pee, poop, eat his breakfast) and settled in for our neighbor Karen to come in after noon to tend to him. Yes, clearly the little pudgy puffy ewok has taken the reins in our life . And what a nice detour he has been!!
My GPS is a tad bit old but trustworthy for the most part. Gary wants me to enter the destination’s address; he also has ‘farmer directions’ he obtained on the phone. The two rarely match! First stop, an unplanned strawberry farm in McKenzie, TN. So, we’re carrying fresh strawberries, in May, in a car, for all day. OK.
Next stop, a gas station for a large bottle of water to wash the berries. Travel makes one hungry!
Going against the GPS now, I turned her off so her desperate attempts to make us go her way were thwarted. Exit 60: “We’re here”, he tells the young man, who answered, “I thought you were calling before you got here. I’ll be ten minutes.” Third stop: road side, waiting 15 minutes for a three-minute drive to ‘the truck’. Or should I say, the piece of junk. Gary says it’s worth about $4,000 to stretch it out and put a something or other on it. Oh. Off again, to the address he gave me, and GPS on again. Hey, this route is familiar – our son lived in Collierville a short while and the road off of I 40 is very scenic; calming and memorable.
Fourth stop: a truck parked on a lot, (a hot deserted lot) possibly wrecked before. The frame he thinks aloud, is out of line. “No”, I answered uncertainly, “I do not see it”. “What’s your impression?” he asks. Hmmm, an old used truck – what else could I see? Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder.
So, it is my job now to decide where we can eat dinner (noon meal). My third call sounded like they understood the gluten question. Home cooking, 0.8 miles away. My phone GPS got us there and surprised us that it is in the Collierville town square. Very pretty, historic and well-preserved! The Silver Caboose proved a fine choice. Homecooking at it’s best with many choices; veggie plates prepared like home, but better! And, Perfect iced tea.
When the waiter came to take our order, I said, “I’m torn between a salad, or a vegetable plate, because I can’t have wheat gluten”, and as I was adding “I don’t suppose you have a gluten-free bread?” he became very agitated and abrupt. I named my peas, beans and greens selections; Gary ordered, and I started to ask if I may order a piece of grilled chicken, but he was off and running – from me, no doubt. Gary said, “What did you want?” I told him and he motioned to the mannerless waiter, saying “she wants a piece of grilled chicken added to that”. Period. As I added “…if that’s possible…” he said, “be quiet” to me, and “that’s all” to the waiter. I looked a bit stunned because we women do not go for the cut and dry; we want explanation and courtesy, given and taken. Gary said to me, “You’ve got to be insertive to people like that” LOL. I said “you mean assertive?” But at the time, yes, I could have taken my foot and become ‘insertive’. Pardon me, please, you genteel of nature.:) But my man took care of me! The chicken was good.
He’d have liked for me to drive home. Actually he said, “you gonna drive back?” I said no of course, I had things to do, naps to take, uh, I mean notes to take.
Outskirts of Jackson, TN, our GPS says ‘this way’. Gary says ‘my way’. So, GPS is off again; we know the way home. But road construction is never-ending, so a left turn has two lanes unknown to Gary who took up both lanes as we made the turn.. Another car was trying to turn left too. The driver was not grace-full in his reaction. I couldn’t look! The explanation and courtesy thing again; not at all appreciated by my driver, nor the other man. Both should have been thankful there was no accident and driven on. So now we laugh at it and continue on our way.
Scripture repeatedly tells us we have a planner, a spiritual GPS so to speak, to keep us from getting lost. In our spiritual journey we need the same things as we need on a road trip. We need directions, food for growing and sustaining faith; grace and gifts. We make mistakes, and we need re-directing. And then with gratitude we find our way home.
“For I know the plans I have for you, declares the LORD, plans for welfare and not for evil, to give you a future and a hope.” Jeremiah 29:11
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, declares the LORD. For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are my ways higher than your ways and my thoughts than your thoughts. Isaiah 55: 8-9
“Search me, O God, and know my heart! Try me and know my thoughts! And see if there be any grievous way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting!” Psalm 139:23-24 (ESV)