As you know, my inspiration has been lacking lately… maybe in part due to my writing more frequently. One of my favorite blogs that I read daily is Counting Ducks, and todays blog was on maps and the map of life… After reading it, well I felt that pulsing beat of inspiration forcing its way through my veins.
In this wonderful technologically advance age… we have a GPS in the car now… she tells us when to turn left, when to make a U-turn, or she goes into mayhem recalculating route, recalculating route, recalculating route… when you didn’t follow her directions exactly. This recalculating bit can be quite embarrassing, and frustrating, as you can hear the annoyance in her voice as she tries to find you a way around your big error.
Honestly, she bugs me.
Not long after I turned 18 years old I went into the Air Force. After training at my first base in Biloxi, Mississippi I was given orders to Travis A.F.B. in Fairfield, California. My parents gave me a hug goodbye and an atlas as I set out on my own across the roadways of the United States. I marked the roads in highlighter as I traveled across Louisiana, Texas, New Mexico, Colorado, Utah, then finally California. I circled little towns that I stopped in along the way. Places I may never return to. This map never left my car, it would be my companion on dozens of little road trips for years. My car being the core symbol of my own personal freedom was a safe haven for me. Releasing myself into the driver’s seat with a stereo full of good music and my favorite map, I felt more empowered than Christopher Columbus must have felt with the Queen financing his travels.
My map was a direct reflection of the places I had gone, the places I was going, and the ones I longed to visit. It never yelled at me when I took a wrong turn, it just sat there quietly reflecting the direction I had set out in. When I did take a wrong turn, it was there for me, to guide me back on course or to celebrate with me the wrong route that happened to turn into a great new direction.
My map never interrupted me, and when I pointed to a destination, it never tried to take me an alternate way. The reflection I’m taking away from this is that the map was a day and time when we were accountable for our wrong turns. We had to stop and recalculate on our own. We were in control of our destiny. We were in control of the road ahead of us and all of its uncertainty was something we’d have to deal with upon arrival.
The GPS has its perks, I admit… but sometimes I’d just like to wrap her cord around her neck… choking the power out of her… while I tell her…. “Darling GPS, just shut up and let me drive.”