So, as I mentioned a few days ago, I went to pick up my mom from the train station last week. She and my aunt had gone on an adventure for a few days. My dad had been planning on picking her up, but she and my aunt decided to take an earlier train and my dad had a lunch appointment with a friend. So shortly after lunch, I found myself tooling down the freeway in the direction of the station.
Now would be a good time to tell you, in case you don’t know already, that I have a terrible sense of direction. And also a not-too-reliable memory about where I’ve been, how to get home from there, and how to get there again, should I need to.
So I drove to the train station with a mixture of slightly confusing facts in my head. One group was my own memory of having been near there (though not exactly there) in the past. I know the area somewhat, is my point. Another group of facts was from my mom, who, when she called to ask me to pick her up, included some helpful information about a freeway off-ramp closure, so that I wouldn’t be caught up in that mess. The third set of facts were from the Apple of my Eye who gave me a few pointers ~ mostly landmark reminders ~ to help guide me.
But one of things he told me didn’t sound right. He said, “You’ll turn right on Avenue A, then left on Avenue B. You’ll pass Landmark A, and then Landmark B, and then turn right on Avenue C. That’s where the depot is.”
He’s smart, my guy is. He has learned me a lot of stuff over the years, so I trust him. But everything in me was telling me that Landmark A came after Landmark B. You know how when someone tells you something and you really want to believe them, and all you can say is, “Really?? Are you sure?? Are you really sure??”
I knew he had to be right. I know my mind is not reliable when it comes to these things. And sure enough, as I drove down Avenue B, there were the Landmarks, just as he said they would be. And right then, you know what song came on the radio? Bob Dylan’s “Blowin in the Wind“. Which, as I’m sure you know, starts off with the words, “How many roads must a man walk down…” and in my mind, the sentence finished with “… before you remember which landmark is where??”
I’ve been down that Avenue before. More than once. But I didn’t remember what was where. And these are not just buildings, they are historic Landmarks that I am privileged to live near; to drive past. And yet I can’t remember which one’s where.
I know that my sense of direction is to blame. Navigation is not my gift. But there’s a lesson there, spiritually speaking, about the importance of learning from the paths we go down. Learning as we go might just keep us from making a mistake the next time we’re in the same place. Or, even better, it might keep us from having to retrace our steps to learn the lesson we should have learned the first time.
Getting lost happens. Believe me, I know. But it can also be prevented, through preparation, wisdom, and learning what God has for you.