My husband and I were driving on the busiest highway in Canada, the 401 in the Greater Toronto Area. Our GPS kept saying things like, “Seven minutes of delay have been added to your route” or “Twelve minutes of delay have been added to your route.”
We already knew it was busy, with six to nine lanes of traffic headed in the same direction! After an hour of this, stop and go was becoming commonplace. We joked that at this rate we might still be sitting there the next day.
Flo (as in ‘go with the flow’), our GPS was being very generous with the delays she kept giving us. We chose not to let these messages bother us. As long as we were moving forward, no matter how slowly, we knew we would eventually reach our destination. The timing may not be what we had hoped for, but we would get there.
Isn’t that the way of life? I encounter unexpected delays and am frustrated at my lack of progress. What I fail to appreciate is that I am still moving forward. Unlike the GPS, I have no idea how much time is being added to my journey. A delay doesn’t mean the end of the road. My goal may be just around the next corner, so one step at a time, I will keep moving.
Do you ever doubt where your GPS is taking you? My husband and I were in that situation recently. An incident on our route caused us to change direction. We wondered where it was taking us as we encountered twists and turns and seemed to be going in the wrong direction. It was so easy to get turned around and lose our way.
This was only one of several times we doubted where we were being taken. Sometimes the route took us off of the major highways and along bumpy side roads. We complained bitterly that this couldn’t be right. Where were the smooth roads we thought we’d be taking?
Farther on, we may discover why this was the case, while other times we were left wondering. What I do know is that we discovered some beautiful scenery on these roads less travelled. Things we would not have seen or experienced otherwise. Maybe that was reason enough.
Life is like that. Everything seems to be going along smoothly and then I have an unexpected detour. I find myself on a bumpy road and lose my sense of direction. Confused, I cry out to God, “Why is this happening? Where are you taking me?”
These are not the right questions. I know from experience the Lord is faithful. Everything I go through has a purpose. So, when I find myself thrown off course, the better question to ask is, “How can this be used to bring God glory?”
In this age of social media it is not uncommon to have many ‘friends’ we’ve never met. We know of each other but don’t really know each other. Some of these could be called acquaintances.
An acquaintance is someone I know on a casual level. We may go to church together, have volunteered together or have mutual friends. With some I say a casual hello as I pass by. With others, conversation is enjoyed when we are together but no further contact is initiated.
With friends, however, I have a deeper relationship. Time spent together is precious and we make sure to carve time for it from our busy lives. I can talk to a good friend about anything and know there will be no judgments.
Advice may be given or just a listening ear, but I know without a doubt how valuable our time together is. I can call on a true friend at any time and always come away feeling better.
My friend feels the same way about me. The importance of this relationship is beyond measure.
God wants that kind of relationship with me; one where we spend time together and know each other well.
The question is, am I satisfied to be an acquaintance and give Him minimal time and attention or will I put in the effort required to know Him as a true friend?
On our travels this summer, my husband and I passed a street sign for Yellow Brick Road. When I pointed it out, he asked if we should see where it led. I quickly assessed the distance we still needed to travel that day before saying, “No.”
My phone was charging so I wasn’t even able to take a picture of the sign.
For days afterward I was upset with myself. If I learned anything from the movie, The Wizard of Oz, it was to follow the yellow brick road!
I had the chance but didn’t take it. We were far from home and not going to be passing that way again so the opportunity was forever lost.
i wonder how many opportunities I’ve missed because I was focused on somewhere else I thought I needed to be. The only way I can create value in this is to be aware of and willing to follow the roads that are of interest to me. Who knows what adventures I may find?
Now I ask you to please do me a favour. If you are in the vicinity of Thunder Bay, Ontario and see the sign for Yellow Brick Road, please follow it and let me know where it took you.
I have a granddaughter who plays the snare drum in a Pipe and Drum band. It was a thrill to watch her playing as she marched in a local parade. Parents, siblings, grandparents, aunt, uncle and cousins all gathered along the parade route and cheered as she marched by in full Scottish attire.
My father would have loved this. He had a fondness for these bands. When I was a young girl, I was in a parade with my Brownie pack. My dad was given the task of taking photos. There may have been one or two of me but the majority were of the pipe and drum band! He would have been so proud to see a family member taking part in this activity. The only way it could have pleased him more would have been if she’d been playing the bagpipes!
Another granddaughter does Highland dancing. We have watched her in various competitions over the past year. The intricate foot movements and the swirl of her kilt show her dedication to Scottish traditional dances.
My husband was born and raised in Scotland. If I trace my family history back several generations, I also come across Scottish ancestors. We appreciate the desire of these girls to honour their heritage.
It also reminds me that as a child of God, I should be involved in activities that reflect this heritage. Do I honour God by spending time with him? Do I follow his example of loving my neighbour? Am I generous with my time and resources?
God loved me enough to call me His child and make me a member of His family. As such, my actions should reflect this heritage.
See how very much our Father loves us, for he calls us his children, and that is what we are! (1 John 3:1 NLT)
You are members of God’s family. (Ephesians 2:19 NLT)
He sits perched on the floating branch fallen from one of the maple trees that line the river bank. I watch from my own perch, where I’ve come to be in a place where I often come, to slow a mind that has got caught up in its own whirl of thoughts like a river eddy.
But decisions and worries continue to swirl through my mind. Then I gaze at the Jay’s presence, see it’s still wings while it sits upon its perch. And my mind finally stills.
I watch and wait, light sounds of the river’s water and the rustling of tree branches above me, from winds unseen grace my senses.
My eyes follow the Jay as it takes it flight, flies from its perch that has become unsteady in the moving waters. The Jay flies up and up, finally resting in a Manitoba Maple tree’s branch that, I see, points west attached to a trunk that is sturdy and steady.
I rise from my own perch, steadying myself on the uneven turf with the help of reaching a hand against the sturdy tree that resides beside me.
I steady with the knowing that no matter when life seems as unstable as a branch on rushing river waters, I can find even ground again. I just need to take responsibility for my life and fly.
Lynn J Simpson is a writer who is rarely without camera in hand, capturing Breathing Spaces moments to share. She’s published two journals to help people create healthy mind-sets and is a Certified Professional Life Coach. A mom, a grandma, and explorer, Lynn loves to capture life’s journeys through writing and photography. You can find her at InspiringHopeInYou.com
Getting up in the morning seemed hard for me during high school years. The days often felt long—an hour bus ride beginning and end of the day, then farm chores or sibling care, and two hours of homework. My energy often flagged by the end of the week, and I could barely get out of bed.
Mom was up each morning to get our breakfast ready. My sisters and I only had to sit down and eat before catching the bus. Mom even set the kitchen clock five minutes fast. Enter a recurrent dream about missing the school bus, always near the end of summer.
In the dream, I’d be part way out our country lane, and the school bus would come. Usually the driver saw us coming, and he’d wait, but in the dream, the driver never saw us, and he’d go right by. I could never run fast enough.
One school morning, I hit the snooze button once too often and really did miss the bus. Dad would take me, but I’d have to wait until he was ready. He got me there in time, enough to grab books from my locker and get to my first class.
It took only once to realize how that extra ten minutes of sleep messed with my day. I had to make the effort to be up on time—that was my responsibility.
We can ask God for help, yet we need tomake an effort too. Solomon asked for direction to rule his kingdom (1 Kings 8); he still had to do the hard work to make it happen. In the same way, we can ask for guidance, then we must set our mind and body to the tasks before us.
Carolyn R. Wilker is an author, editor and storyteller from Ontario. Reading came easily in primary school, and she was hooked on books and words.https://www.carolynwilker.ca/