June 30, 2014

Do You Have A Map?

I have a drawer that has 50, 60, maybe 80 maps in it. New York City (city streets and subways, Tokyo, Puerto Rico, Yellowstone, Utah, New Mexico, South Carolina, Maine. One map has both Vermont and New Hampshire.  I have, at least, 5 Redding maps! I've been here a long time and things change!

I have Santa Clara County, Ventura County, Tehama County, Jefferson County. I have Yugoslavia, Macedonia, Greece, Bosnia and Mexico.

Funny thing though, I never take a folding map with me. Weird huh?

Before I venture to any place I haven't been, I Google directions. Then I Map Quest the destination. I check out which route seems the straightest shot or path of least resistance. I memorize it.

I visualize the trip in "Home Health" directions! Just a bunch of R's and L's or E, W, S and N Once the route is in my head, it is pretty much there to stay. If you ask me on my death-bed how to get to the tree farm in Yuba City (which I haven't been to in 15 years as of this year) I will answer:

S on I-5 
E @ 20 @ Colusa exit
L @ 99 (Golden State Highway)
L @ Messick
R @ Sierra Gold Driveway ~ Main office is (or, at least, was) a little house in parking lot.

I will not use a GPS because I have found them to be bossy, boring and inaccurate. They don't prepare you for highway construction, new roads or downed trees!

Life is much like that drive to the tree farm. We need to set out our directions. We need to know which directions are going to get us where we ultimately want to go. Life's journey is usually not a physical address but a "place" in your soul and your spirit. 

Growing up, I wanted to be a mother, a doctor; live in the country or mountains, grow my own food and be happy.  My dream was not to live at 10786 Ponderosa Drive, have four sons, one with green eyes, two with brown eyes and one with blue eyes and I would name them Tom, Ray, Bill and Craig and three daughters, two tall brunettes, Zita and Fiona,  and a petite redhead who I would name Molly. I had a "general" vision; home, husband, kids, contentment.

On our journey we do need to set out a path. Our families, our communities, our faith and, ultimately, our nature, help define the path but the path is ours. We need to review our path now and then to make sure we are staying on course. Does that mean we can't turn left or right, or reverse our steps from South to North? 

It is always your choice but examine those choices and the consequences. Going W on 20 @ the Colusa exit isn't going to help you harvest peaches, pears or almonds next year but you might see wonderful wild flowers along the highway, catch sight of rolling vineyards surrounding Clear Lake and you just might end up at the ocean, observing the most beautiful sunset of your life. 

So, what are the directions you have set out for you on your path?  What is your personal map for your journey?

Is accountability part of your personal directions on the path? When you say you will be somewhere at 7:00, do you call at 8:30 with a really good excuse, over and over and over? 

If you want to go straight and people are in your way are you going to bowl them over? Will you be a bully? Will you be a negotiator? Will you introduce yourself and ask if there is anything you can do to clear the congestion?

If there is a wide gap in the trail, will you slump over and turn around or will you study it, check out the other side, back-track a little for a running start and leap over the abyss?

If you want things that aren't yours will you steal them or destroy them or just plant yourself in the middle of them until the true owners throw their hands up and say, "Here, you can have it?"

On this most important journey, our life, we need basic directions. We need gas for our vehicle, I for one, certainly don't want to have to push my car the whole trip! Nor do I want anyone else forced to drag me and my wagon over the hill.

What are your values? What are your moral guides? What are you willing to be flexible in and what is firm and unshakable?

When we get to the end of the journey, will you be able to look into a mirror and like who is looking back at you?

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