Given as the Story for All Ages at Emerson UU Church, Houston, Aug. 3, 2014
I was on a road trip last week, and the planning process goes so easily these days--instead of flipping through maps and watching the weather report and listening to the radio for interstate construction reports... I can use my phone to pull up all the information and within a few minutes, I set my route.
What a wonderful tool! I made it through Wisconsin and Illinois and Missouri with ease, and told my sons that we'd stop for lunch as soon as we got to the divided highway in Arkansas.
Only we weren't getting to the divided highway. Instead there were these tiny little towns, one after another. I asked my navigator how this could be possible and he was adamant that we were following precisely the route on the phone.
And then I started seeing signs directing me to the road I knew we were supposed to be on.
But no, that's not what the phone indicated. So I kept driving.
As it turned out, we'd been going parallel to the highway, just out of sight. It added about an hour to our journey.
WHY didn't I just pull over and look at the screen, maybe reference the paper map also in my car? Because I trusted the program and because I was stubbornly holding to the path I was on, assuming that somehow or another, it would all work out.
I had no way of knowing that at some point in a hundred twists and turns and construction areas, the GPS decided we had left the planned route--and so it recalculated a new one.
We saw new sights on this journey, with markers for our history of rock and roll, the Civil War, and the Trail of Tears. We got plenty of experience identifying not just fields of corn and soybeans, and corn and soybeans, and soybeans and corn, but also sorghum and rice.
But really, we just wanted some LUNCH, and to get closer to our stopping point for the day.
This adventure was over in a matter of hours, but sometimes our journeys and detours can last years... and then there's the overall journey of our lives. The route we choose, or that others choose for us? Sometimes it needs to change. And sometimes we just need to pull over and take a good hard look at the map, to figure out where we will go next.
And we must always keep our eyes and our minds wide open-or as my mother would warn us, if the nice lady on your phone told you to drive straight into a lake, would you?