Ever since I started driving, my terrible sense of direction has become a running joke among my friends. Knowing this, they usually give me a lot of leeway about being late whenever I am required to drive from unfamiliar point A to unfamiliar point B. This is because it's rare that I arrive without greeting them with my usual rueful, "I got lost."
I find it strange that once I get behind the wheel, I automatically set myself up for getting lost. I'm a pretty intrepid commuter on foot, honest. Set me loose on in a new (albeit English-speaking) city armed with a map, and I have no trouble getting around. It's usually just when I am driving that I get into trouble. I have so many direction-blind driving fiascoes that it will take all day for me to share all. Suffice to say, if you've ever been caught driving up a main thoroughfare against ONE WAY traffic completely unawares, then we are kindred spirits. My meandering journeys around Manila are so common that it becomes more of an event when I find my destination WITHOUT losing my way.
Because it happens so frequently, I've developed a certain elan about getting lost while driving which some people find disconcerting. I adopt the philosophy, "It doesn't matter if we're lost, there's always going to be a U-turn somewhere down the road." (This is usually said with a broad shrug and a smile that would put Pollyanna's to shame.)
Given the cost of fuel nowadays, this attitude makes my gas budget sky-rocket considerably. But I've learned that it takes me less time to find my way when I don't stress about it too much - and when I don't try to rectify my mistake by getting into another unknown side street and getting caught in traffic and more lost than ever.
If only taking U-turns in life were just as easy! It wouldn't be so hard to make decisions with the thought that you can always go back to where you came from if you don't like where you find yourself. That the only cost of getting lost is the cost of a few more gallons of fuel than usual. (Environmentalists will lynch me for this metaphor, but you know what I mean, right?)
But with Life being as complicated as it is, every decision has irrevocable consequences. You can never really go back to where you used to be - because everything at your point of origin changes the moment you leave. And your presence in any destination, no matter how transient, changes something there as well.
Sometimes I wish I had a magic compass and a map that would point me in the right direction every time I had to make a major decision in my life. But in the end, the only time anyone ever knows if they chose right is in retrospect - that is, if they are given the answers even then.
As I spend this time in my middle-of-nowhere, I realize one lesson I have yet to learn: to face life with the same equanimity as I face getting lost on the road. With the faith that no matter how uncertain the future seems to be that I will always end up where I am meant to be. That while Life may not allow me perfect U-turns, I will always find my way to where I belong.
In the meantime, I meander on without map or compass and hope that I find my way soon.
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Just a Post Script I wanted to share:
My friend Honey, another of my single sisters, wrote a post for me at her blog, Amazing Space. Honey is a lawyer, an awesome writer, chief wanderlust, and Beloved of God - and I've always said I wanted to be her when I grew up.
Yes, sis, here is to not settling. Even in my worst moments, hope - though small as a mustard seed - will always spring eternal. Amen. (We really, really have to get together for that coffee soon!)
Okay... I'm off to prepare for one of those weddings I told you about! I hope I don't get lost on the way...