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When All Is Not Lost
I sort of got lost the other day.
When I'm in unknown territory I need a map and a navigator. I had those. So, why did I get lost?
I assumed there was only one parking ramp on University Avenue. So, I ended up smack dab in the middle of the university campus. I realized my mistake. I was on the wrong side of the river.
I skipped the parking-ramp search. I knew I simply needed to get where I was supposed to be. I would (gulp) parallel park.
Sometimes we get lost when we try to avoid something we know we aren't good at doing or something we hate to do. Parallel parking fits both criterion.
Fortunately, I was able to find a spot with plenty of room to drive into the corner inlet and avoid placing myself between two cars. Somehow I was still on time for my appointment.
Somehow I had stayed calm. I've panicked before in these situations. But, I had a young man with me who would have escalated into more than panic if I had. I needed to keep my focus even when I wasn't sure of my right from my left.
I went to my appointment, which went well, and walked to my vehicle to head home. Now, however, I had a different problem.
When I'm traveling to a new place, I tend to rely on backtracking to get back to where I started. But, it's hard to backtrack if you started out going the wrong way. It's also hard to backtrack if you can't. Maybe the rules of the road prevent this because of One Ways or detours. Or maybe, like me, you make more than wrong turn trying to figure it out yourself.
That's when I saw the sign--the blue and yellow highway sign with the number and direction I needed to go. I search for and followed the numbered signs for that specific highway and only looked at the map to confirm I was headed in the correct direction. Once I got on that highway and could find my way back, I turned off the navigation and enjoyed the ride to my hometown.
Going astray happens. We usually don't plan to get lost. We have maps and navigators and passengers who try to help us. But, we also have to trust. Sometimes we can't trust any of these people or things. We can't trust ourselves. We could panic. We could be avoiding what we aren't good at or hate to do. Breakdowns in communication or assumptions lead us in the opposite direction. We might realize we are on the wrong side of the river.
Getting there isn't our only objective either. We also have to get back to where we started. That's when we learn to do something else. We learn to follow the signs. When I find myself off-track in life, I search for the numbered signs that have guided me many times. Some of these numbered signs are ingrained in my memory like landmarks.
Trust in the Lord with all your heart
And do not lean on your own understanding.
In all your ways acknowledge Him,
And He will make your paths straight.
When I turn to these words, I realize all is not lost. Especially me. I stop trusting other tools for navigation. I stop trusting that I know the way all by myself. My heart rests in the calm of these words. I trust Him to get me to where I need to be and back home. He does. Right on time. Every time.