Maps, Apps and a Pain in the…Compass. In which I prefer detailed maps to carrying a compass but I’m getting over it.

North? South? East? west? Where is the sun? Where am I going? Where am I? Where am I going? How do I get there?

Usually, I have no clue. To say I’m directionally challenged doesn’t begin to cover it. I get lost going to the bathroom. At my own house. (That’s a lie. But it could happen.) Confession: I lived at my current home for almost 2 decades thinking it faced west. It doesn’t. My dad was right.

Thank you Jesus, for my GPS or, I’d be limited to my local Target and Walmart for necessities and niceties. I’ve gotten to the point where I’m ok with relying on a GPS for driving. I rarely even defy it or argue with it. (Ok I argue with it a lot, but she wins. She’s got the Aussie voice of reason and authority things. I call her Matilda.)

For the crazy journey that is my life? Not so

much. I’d really prefer a nice shiny laminated map with all the details laid out clearly. Topographical if possible, satellite shots for my drive by sight – self preferred. Potential alternate routes highlighted. Traffic warnings. I want it all. Combine a gps with a great map where you can see the whole trip start to finish? Heaven.

Except that’s not what we get when it comes to life journeys. When it comes to life we get a brass compass, a box of saltines and a general idea of where to go. Maybe it’s good that I don’t have every bump and turn mapped out. If i knew 10 years ago the trip we’d have through cancer’s hellish landscape, I might have hidden in the basement with 10,000 jars of cookie butter, bottled water, my dogs and a soft blankie. (And books and knitting. ) I may still.

Instead, I have this compass quietly directing. “North. Go north. Keep following that needle.” I feel like the kids in Willie Wonka’s trippy boat- (old school version, Gene Wilder whoops Johnny Depp. Just sayin.) “no one knows where we are going but the rowers just keep rowing and the panic it is growing…..” (something like that. ) I don’t know where I am going but I just keep rowing…

Or do I? Maybe I do know where I’m going, I just don’t t know how I’ll get there. Because compass: not map. God seems to want us to be more dependent on him than we are dependent on a map. He wants us to literally follow him. Not a map. Possibly? Even More than we follow a gps.

*gasp.* I know, right?

On the surface? This control freak likes that idea about as much as I do giving up all my black shoes. (Don’t ask. We don’t speak numbers about shoes…) I mean, what if the road gets rough? I’ll need work boots! If it’s wet? Hip waders. What if there’s a formal occasion? Heels! A woman needs more than one pair of black shoes….. I NEED them all like millennials need Pok√©mon. I need to know the trip details so I can be prepared.

Don’t I?

I don’t think so anymore. I think following the compass makes me much more prone to adventures and peace, while charting out a journey makes me want to recalculate the whole freakin thing and never actually go anywhere.

Which is kind of what I’ve been doing since my husband died. I’ve been stuck. Not moving. I keep recalculating based on current road conditions and never get anywhere. “What do I do now? How will I live? Provide? Survive? Thrive? What’s gods plan for me now? Who am I if I’m not MRS Solomon ?” I checked the App Store- there’s no app for that.

Instead, I need to go back to what I know. Follow Jesus. My compass. My example, my lord, the liver of my soul. The one who knows what’s ahead and doesn’t need to recalculate to get me through…

His path is clear in direction. Love God and love others. That’s the goal. The details? I honestly don’t need. They could make me run ahead or hide in fear… instead, I’ll just follow. One step at a time. Even here, in a widow’s shoes.

And maybe I’ll get a new tattoo to remind me of that. Oh, wait. I already did. Special Thanks to Cee Jay Jones at Sassmouth ink for the visible compass. I needed that.

Are you stuck? Looking for a map? Arguing with the gps? Recalculating your life? Maybe you just need to take the next step. The next breath, and follow, even if you don’t know the way.

Maybe, really, Jesus is it. Probably.

Dear lord, you know I’m a control freak. You know I kind of want to know every turn and hill and valley that I’ll encounter. I prefer going where I’ve already been so that I know the way… but that’s just not an option anymore. And honestly I think I don’t want to know more than to love you and love others… you lead. I’ll follow. Even here. Amen