Antique maps, with curlicues of ink
As borders, framing what we know, like pages
From a book of travelers’ tales: look,
Here in the margin, tiny ships at sail.
No-nonsense maps from family trips: each state
Traced out in color-coded numbered highways,
A web of roads with labeled city-dots
Punctuating the route and its slow stories.
Now GPS puts me right at the centre,
A Ptolemaic shift in my perspective.
Pinned where I am, right now, somewhere, I turn
And turn to orient myself. I have
Directions calculated, maps at hand:
Hopelessly lost till I look up at last.
~Holly Ordway “Maps” from Apologetics and the Christian Imagination
I heard an old man speak once,
someone who had been sober for fifty years,
a very prominent doctor.
He said that he’d finally figured out a few years ago
that his profound sense of control,
in the world and over his life,
is another addiction and a total illusion.
He said that when he sees little kids sitting in the back seat of cars,
in those car seats that have steering wheels,
with grim expressions of concentration on their faces,
clearly convinced that their efforts are causing the car
to do whatever it is doing,
he thinks of himself
and his relationship with God:
God who drives along silently,
in the real driver’s seat.
~Anne Lamott from Operating Instructions
We want to steer life in the way we want it to go:
our plans, our timing, our chosen destination,
our hopes and dreams matter first and foremost.
And then life happens and suddenly the road ceases to look familiar and we don’t seem to be going the direction we intended.
Who is doing the driving anyway while we are concentrating intently on the map?
We are under the illusion that we are in control:
Sadness and hopelessness, frustration and anger stem from discouragement over not knowing where we are headed. We feel there is no turning back, unable to see the road signs to another path to a different future.
There is an epidemic of hopelessness and helplessness especially among children and young adults – their path is murky, their debts too great, their reserves too limited, their foundations too shaky, their hope nonexistent, their future too dim.
Relinquishing control by giving up the driver’s seat is not in our nature. We want to be seen as competent and feel as though we are prepared to be the captain of our fate. Instead we need to turn over our carefully mapped-out life to the God who created us.
It’s time to look up from the map and turn over the steering wheel.
Your direction, Your destination, Your purpose, Your promise.
If you steer, I will focus on the horizon and see the way ahead.
This year’s Lenten theme:
So we fix our eyes not on what is seen, but on what is unseen, since what is seen is temporary, but what is unseen is eternal.
2 Corinthians 4: 18