If you are reading this on the day I posted it (September 12, 2017), we are on vacation, travelling in the province of Quebec. We are visiting a place we have never been but which looked interesting in the information our daughter sent us as we were planning the trip. This vacation brought a couple of different twists to the process, which of course turned on my need for plans and structure and organization.
The first twist is that on this vacation, we were going somewhere we have never been before and don’t have any contacts in the area, except for the owner of the Airbnb. Normally, our trips to new areas have been to visit family. The second twist is that we are driving rather than flying, meaning that we are responsible for getting there and getting around when we get there. Travelling to a new area with no contacts and being responsible for our own transportation means that I was busy before the trip figuring out how to get there.
That isn’t a totally new process–we have done it before. But technology has changed. In the past, I collected up all the relevant road maps, planned and marked the routes, folded the maps open to the relevant sections and put them all in a clear plastic bag in the proper order. I also had an overall map that gave a view of the whole trip at a glance which I could then supplement with the particular section map. Have I mentioned before that I like to be organized and have preparations made ahead of time?
These days, road maps are available but are not as easy to get as they used to be. Technology has replaced paper–we just type in the destination and the phone tells us where to go. We can use Google maps to see the route, complete with all sorts of interesting suggestions about where to eat and what to see and even what pictures to take. But I still need a real map, preferable one that I can mark on–being able to keep it in a clear plastic bag is a bonus.
So, a day or so before the trip, I was using Google maps to plan the trip and printing out maps for the trip, especially for the parts that I don’t know. It is excessive–I have the phone and can access the travel directions at anytime and will probably drive by a travel bureau where I can get a real map. But there is something about a real map in a clear plastic bag that makes me feel comfortable and since it is my trip in my car, I get to do what I want.
I like to know where I am going and how I am going to get there. I am sure some of that comes from the reality that outside of vacation trips, I don’t always have a lot of sense of where I am going and how I am going to get there in my life. There have been major portions of my life when I have had no clue about where my life was going and therefore how I was going to get there.
That has been exciting, scary, exhilarating, aggravating, fun and depressing–often all at the same time. With no destination that I can figure out and no clear plastic bag of maps that I can dip into anytime I need to, I have been left with one resource at times. That one resource wasn’t my phone.
It was my faith. I may not have the world’s strongest faith but I have faith that God knows what he is doing in general and also that he knows what he is doing in my life in specific. I am not trying to say that I approach life totally reliant on God because I keep trying to find the life equivalent of a clear plastic bag of maps. But my faith tells me that in the end, I need to trust that God knows what he is doing in my life. He might not tell me what is going on as soon as I want; he might not give me as clear a map as I want; he might not take me where I think I should go–but in the end, I believe he knows what is going on and that I can trust him.
May the peace of God be with you.