Saturday, January 29, 2005

misdirection and adventure

Have you ever been traveling somewhere and get lost? If you're a guy, the adage is you can never stop and ask for directions (sorry guys, I just don't fit that mold for some reason). Most of the time, we miss a sign, misread a map or there is a sign that should have been read but is otherwise hung on someone's bedroom wall outside of our field of vision. So, traveling down the road towards Virginia, we end up in Arizona because of one or more of those reasons.

Thursday night was like that for some friends and me. Jess, Sarah and I were going to eat at the hospital where Lindsey was (she's now been paroled and is at home). We'd all had McDonald's (located in an ajoining hospital) and the cafeteria that week and were in the mood for something different. I discovered the location of Long John Silvers on the other side of the medical complex and we trekked that direction.

After many turns, humorous events and a bathroom break, we arrived at the outer doors that led to our destination. We opened the door and a blast of cold air went through us like a hot knife through cheese. It was then we saw the Chinese restaurant, Chopsticks. Chinese, for those who do not know, is one of my personal favorite cuisines. I talked Jess and Sarah into it, and we changed our destination. We walked across the street, shivering, and entered the establishment. Then the realization that the mamasan and papasan establishment did not accept check cards sank in. We were dismayed because the cash we had was for parking.

So, dismayed and discouraged, we headed for our original destination--fish. Wouldn't you believe it: no check cards...only cash. The twenty minute journey was for naught. We would have to back track and head towards McDonalds for our evening sustenance. Returning the way we came, shivering as we waited at the crosswalk, we laughed at our "misfortune". Sarah spotted a shortcut and it would have been had the door not been locked. Ten minutes later, we returned back on course for burgers and arrived about ten minutes after that.

So, to summarize, the journey that could have taken less than five minutes (McDonald's) took around forty minutes. As a goal oriented individual, this was extremely disconcerting to me. I hate wasting time and energy and want to do things in the best way, the most direct way. Yet, as I think back, I don't remember complaining once. When I really think about it, I don't remember any complaining on anyone's part. There was joking, laughing, some frustration...but no complaining. We actually enjoyed the misdirection and considered it an adventure!

Life's sometimes like that. I'll be honest: I am goal-oriented (am I repeating myself). I want to know where I am going, when I am going, etc. The other night, someone was giving me directions while I was driving around. It's frustrating because I don't have all the information or the big picture. I am relying on someone else. When I do not have complete information, I really get upset because I like security. I am independent and want to do things myself and cannot do that if I don't know everything.

There are times in life where I wish I had all the information; times where I wish I knew how all the things in the journey were going to work out. With my handy-dandy step by step guide, I would go through life in complete control and confidence. There would be no surprises except those that are decreed and planned by the guide. I would be in control. Life is not packaged so well, though. The only One who has the complete plan is God. He guides us, step by step, sometimes gracefully, sometimes forcefully. He takes our hand and shows us where to go. He does this so we would be completely dependent upon Him instead of ourselves.

The joy is not always in the destination. Although, as believers, there is great joy in our destination. In fact, the object of our hope is the destination. That being said, we cannot forget that we are living in the present. There is much joy, my friends, in the journey. Just like the journey in the hospital, lack of direction and knowledge can be frustrating (believe me), but I have decided that contentment is in the present. Joy is in the journey. Christ came to give eternal life, but more than that, He came to give abundant life while we remain on earth. We need to learn to enjoy how we're going as much as where we are going. Enjoy the times alone. Enjoy the times in community. Enjoy the times in communion.

This journey we called life is the greatest adventure of all time. It has the most dangers, yet has the most rewards. It's like romantic love in that way. Actually placing your heart in someone else's hands is dangerous. Telling someone how you feel about them is a risk. There is much to lose in putting yourself on the line and trusting in someone else, but, oh, the rewards are sweet! Trusting God in all the areas of our life can be the scariest thing ever. It's us giving up control of everything and allowing Him to have it. There's none of this co-pilot stuff. God is the pilot...we're the passengers.

Is the journey scary? Yep. Is the journey fun? Yep, at times. is the journey worth it? Absolutely. Friends, I raise my mug of hot tea and say, "La Chaim!" (To Life!) "To Adventure!" "To Misdirection!" May we have all three in abundance as we journey together in this thing called life in Christ.

until Christ is formed in us...


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