I peered into the dark intersection, trying to figure out which way to go. Before leaving the house, I’d printed out the Google maps directions to the pastor’s house, and Keith had programmed our car’s seven-year-old GPS. The GPS voice directed us a different way, the Google maps longer alternative, so I followed the text instructions. At each “wrong” turn, our GPS reprogrammed.
Now at the intersection, the print instructions pointed us into darkness–no lights, no visible street signs. I would discover later that, had I kept going straight, the house we were looking for was only a mile up the road. But at that moment of indecision, fear took over and I lost faith.
“Turn right,” the GPS said. Like Santa playing hide and seek, I closed my mind’s eyes and followed that voice. Thus began 20 minutes of wandering in the wilderness. “You have reached your destination,” the mechanical voice kept saying when it was obvious from house numbers we were nowhere near. Our GPS didn’t know where we were, and neither did I.
Before embarking on this wilderness journey, Keith had asked why I didn’t print the map along with the one-page text directions. The printout will suffice, I politely explained. This isn’t the first time we’ve had this discussion, he reminded me. I know, I said, maybe a little smugly because by not printing the map I’d saved a whole sheet of paper plus printer ink. Anyway, I assured Keith, our car’s GPS is adequate backup.
Now due to lack of trust in what had been straight in front of me–and my frugality–we were late for the party. And lost.
Today, there were no presents for Keith and me from each other under the Christmas tree. The fact that we didn’t buy anything special for one another for Christmas was not due to frugality or lack of love. At this point in our lives, we are blessed with everything we need and almost all we want.
There is one tangible gift we each want, however. When things settle down after the new year, we’re going to have two treasured Bibles rebound. One is Keith’s mother’s family Bible, and the other is my father’s tattered copy that I wrote about here. His GPS, which I demonstratively needed that night of the party when mine failed.
Lost and humbled, I stopped the car and prayed. Then I called the pastor’s number printed on the invitation and passed my cell phone to Keith. Pastor said turn around then stay on the road for four to five miles. The road winds, he told Keith, and there’s a long stretch of gravel, but keep going.
This time, I opened my mind’s eyes and drove straight into the darkness. The GPS’s voice became silent, and the roads on its screen disappeared. “What does His GPS say?” I asked myself, “Do not be afraid.” Soon we saw house lights and turned into the pastor’s driveway. Abundant laughter, warm fellowship, and delicious food welcomed us.
What did you want for Christmas?
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