The Long and Winding Road

So this evening I finally got around to replacing the kitchen faucet here at home.  It’s been leaking for a long time, but I didn’t have the money saved up to spend on a new one until recently.  I picked out a decent one, not too expensive but made in the US with a lifetime warranty.  Came home, got out my tools, dug the stuff out from under the kitchen sink, to find that the previous homeowners had “modified” the plumbing in the kitchen too, and hadn’t put any shutoff valves in.  Which meant that I couldn’t hook up the faucet because there wasn’t a way to hook the faucet up to the pipes (the newer faucets have the connecting pipes built in rather than needing separate ones.  So I went back to the store, picked up valves and a pipe cutter, then came home.  What should have taken 30 minutes took 2 hours, an extra trip to Lowes, and an extra 20 bucks.

But that made me realize something as I was driving back from the store for a second time.  Much of the afternoon I was thinking about the frustration I’ve felt in my walk with God, about how like it seems like He’ll give me one direction, and I follow that, but then that one ends.  Then I get another one and follow that, and then that ends too.  Almost like it seems like He’s leading me on like a wild goose chase.

I got to thinking about the path that I was driving to get to Lowe’s, and if I didn’t know where I was, didn’t know how to get from my house to there, it might get rather frustrating.  Especially if there wasn’t a Lowe’s in town.  What if I had to go all the way to another city to get there.  First I’d go down my road.  Then I’d turn right and go like 40 feet and turn right again.  Then I’d go a mile and turn right again.  Then I’d take a winding path for about 50 miles, then turn left.  I’d hit a ton of stoplights, see a bunch of turns I could be making but shouldn’t, then turn right again.  Then I’d be there.  By the time I get to Lowe’s, I’d feel kinda frustrated.

That got me to thinking about life.  I have a start and a destination.  I don’t have a map how to get there, so I have to rely on someone who knows the way.  Sometimes it gets really frustrating because it seems like I’m taking a really random path (kinda like how I take the interstate around one city to get to Chicago rather than cutting through town.)  It seems like a longer path, and it is, distance-wise.  But time-wise, it’s much shorter.  It seems like one conflicting thing after another – “are we there yet?”  Turn left?  I just turned right 5 minutes ago!  Now where are you taking me?  Bwah!  Wait – that road back there was North Avenue, crap now I have to find someplace to turn around!

Life is like that.  I get in a hurry to get to where I’m going, and get frustrated when traffic gets tied up and things don’t move as fast as I think they should.  I miss turns because I’m distracted, or because I was in too much of a hurry, or because the sign was hiding behind a bush.  And I get frustrated at the map (Bwah, Google Maps led me astray again!)  I get frustrated at the person telling me where to turn (You said it was going to be a right exit!  Now I have to cut across four lanes of rush hour traffic!)  I honk at the guy stopped in front of me for taking too long to go after the light turns green (Are you waiting for any particular shade of green?!)  In reality though, all of those issues, are with me.  Not with the map, or the navigator, or the fellow traveler.  Sometimes they can be involved in things adversely (maps can be wrong, navigators can be erroneous, and drivers can do stupid stuff.)  But my choice is how to react to those situations.

So when it’s seeming like God’s path is taking too long, or has too many twists and turns, or isn’t going fast enough, I have a choice.  I can get really flustered or angry or hurt or whatever.  Or I can sit back, enjoy the ride, and trust that He knows where He’s taking me, how to get there, and how long that will take.  And when I do have a flat tire along the way, He knows just when it’s time for AAA to show up.

And some day, just at the right moment, I’ll arrive at my destination.  I won’t be too early or too late, and even though I might arrive with a few scratches and dents, I’ll arrive just the same.