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Tuesday
Jul212009

Getting There

road signs_0   Recently I was in a group of women sharing stories of how they met their husbands and fell in love. What intrigues me about the collective history is how bumpy the ride usually was. Some couples got off course for what may have seemed like a long time, following detours disguised as vacations and well laid plans. Sometimes moments that seem paltry, such as a casual comment or a last minute decision, later shine as turning points in the journey. Several women mentioned seeking out trusted mentors for help in reading the signs of providence. Most of them had been married a decade or three and had the blessing of seeing the Lord's leading over a larger expanse of terrain than can be seen from the top of a step ladder.

This week I drove somewhere new, and thought I had done my homework. I printed out the mapquest directions and even looked at the roads on aerial image. I was not going to get lost. But sometimes the discrepancies between what we expect an intersection to look like and the reality in bricks and pavement can leave us stranded. The street had changed names, as our paths tend to do, and I parked at the corner trying to bridge the gap between my directions and the obstinate road signs. The little girls in their carseats asked why we kept turning around and I barked something back.

Then I called my son. He was willing to go online and help me find my way, and from the perspective of his Mac, led me to trust the road with the annoyingly imperfect name. I arrived at my friend's house a half hour late which felt like a ridiculously long time when I was lost but a day or two later seems inconsequential.

Marriage is a rambling road. Detours appear with such frequency I lose track of the actual destination. We may feel like we have the map on the seat next to us, but the tidy description doesn't match the messy crossroads we are facing. Occasionally we reluctantly sacrifice self sufficiency for a request for help. There are people who have traveled this way before, folks for whom the route and all its potholes are familiar. They may have access to an aerial view that is usually reserved for eagles and satellites.

One of the unexpected perks of calling my son was that he seemed to enjoy helping me. He said to feel free to call again, if I needed to (which I did). One of the things I cherish about my little girls is that they have absolutely no embarrasment about asking for help. It brings into focus for me the meaning of "Except you become as little children you shall not enter the kingdom of heaven." Perhaps all my meanderings are really a test... how lost do I have to be before I am willing to ask for help?