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Friday
Jul242009

I Love My GPS (but my GPS doesn't love me)

Traveling to Florida for the Smart Marriage conference was a long ride. But in contrast to some of the more meandering trips we have made in the past, having our GPS to guide us was terrific. I call him Gypsy, as he keeps me from ending up as one. I am truly astonished that Gypsy even knows when I have deviated ever so slightly from his instructions enough to get gas. I feel guilty, and the reprimand in his voice is only thinly veneered as he sighs and says, " Recalculating," as if it takes great effort to be patient with someone who cannot do what she has been given verbal, written and illustrated instructions for.

I notice that many other cars now have personal GPS's as well, and it boggles me that they can keep it all straight. Surely Gypsy and his coworkers are all in the same Control Room, each tracking their own carload of humans, trying not to mix up where every one is pointed. Even the hotel we were staying in managed to confuse us with the people we came with, who have the same last name, and they have a mere few hundred reservations to keep straight. I cannot fathom how many travelers there are out there on any given day, all headed in diverse directions. How do Gypsy and his cohorts stay up to date with one way streets, on ramps and even traffic snags? Do they collaborate? Do they get to pick their humans? Are they ever tempted to take us on a scenic route, just for fun?

Gypsy does require some specific information from me before we begin. After the disclaimer about "Don't use this device while driving." (huh?) and the "Don't blame us if you crash" paragraph, I have to tell him where I want to go. That means I need to know too.

I remember a friend in high school saying " I believe God is watching over me, but He does not know what I am doing every minute." I pondered her logic, but it did not resonate with my idea of a loving God. Watching the incredibly responsive relationship I have with Gypsy, I cannot concede that my relationship with God is less so. Gypsy knows when I veer even a few feet from the Route he has charted for me, and seems inexhaustibly willing to make accommodations when I transgress. (as I have discovered on occasion)

But there are qualities missing from the support Gypsy gives me. After we rolled in to our driveway after 17 straight hours of driving, I feel it would have been appropriate to say something more congratulatory than "Arriving home. On left." When we were stuck in morning traffic outside DC, crawling at two miles per hour, ( which I know for a fact Gypsy was aware of, since the "expected arrival time" kept creeping later) wouldn't it have been nice for him to break into song, or at least offer a few jokes to distract us from the frustrating situation?

God does do these things, I have noticed. The birds outside my window have distracted me more than once from a sullen mood. At the end of an intense and difficult journey otherwise known as labor He hands me a baby... sometimes two.

Once I was driving through a downpour to one of Benjamin's many doctor appointments in my son's boss's car, which I knew was in a dicey condition. The car stalled in front of the medical building. I was already late, so when I tried to push the car to the curb, and the only curb was red I shrugged and resolved to pay the consequences later. I wondered what I would say to the policeman about whose car this was and why I was driving it, but I had to make it to this appointment. A total stranger came up to me and yelled "You cannot park there!" to which I sighed " I cannot push it any farther." He was not going to let me get a ticket, and pushed it the last 20 feet to a legal space. I was grateful and I thanked him profusely as I threw the door, which was locked, shut. Yikes!! Benjamin was in that car! He sat cheerfully in his carseat smiling at me, while I did what I often do in emergencies. I screamed. Yet another stranger came to my rescue and asked what was the matter. He managed to understand the words between my sobs and left his car running while he ran to find a phone to call AAA. The rain kept pelting me as I tried to communicate with Benjamin through the window, assuring him that help was coming. Actually he was surprisingly calm, maybe in part because he was still dry, and I was sopping wet. Perhaps it entertained him. The guy who came to open my locked car also kept his car running, which worried me as I contemplated how easy it is for some people to break into other people's cars. When he finished I realized the appointment was long gone and asked him to give the car a jump. " I don't do that, lady but I will call the guy who does." So I sat with Benjamin inside the car as we waited for yet another rescue angel, who eventually had the engine going and we were on our way home. Benjamin had been patient through two hours of driving and waiting to drive as I vacillated through various dramas and copious tears. But the piece de resistance was when the sun, surely in God's response to my struggles, broke triumphantly through the clouds. I heard the celestial applause.

Gypsy gets me where I am going, but I daresay he does not love me. If he did, he would sound more excited when we both arrive. God, on the other hand, cares deeply about me on my journey. He has sent me encouragement when I want to give up, like the time I was steaming mad at my husband, and my unsuspecting teenager chose that exact moment to suggest that we write a book about marriage, because obviously we were experts and had a lot to offer and wouldn't that be great?

God asks that I articulate my goal before we start. When I state to Him and to myself that where I want to go is A Healthy Marriage, well, then He has something to work with. He can guide me around snarly feelings, and dead ends. He can send angels to nudge me out of danger, or recharge my dead battery. He can send friends or even strangers to help me back into my own marriage, when I feel locked out and drenched. He sends instructions in words, sounds, touch, and music. The cd I have playing in my car is the very marriage friendly one by Solomon and Tirah Keal, which fuels me more than Citgo ever did.

So there it is. Type in your own Destination. Listen, and watch for for instructions. When you deviate from the Path, expect a Recalculation. Remember that your Personal Guidance System, or PGS, is on duty 24/7. And the celebration when you arrive will be thunderous.