Hopeful Turning

March 27th, 2009

intersectionDriving home last night after putting in a 15 hour day, I came over a rise in the road way and saw an intersection I’ve seen hundreds of times, as if I’d seen it for the first time. Then I had the following thoughts.

We travel through our lives in a perpetual state of crossing new intersections which we’ve never seen before. Some may seem familiar to us and we turn this way or that, reading the signs or following the directions, advice, or wisdom given to us by someone or something we trust. I know that when I travel and I come to an intersection where I have no idea which way to go, or I’m just not sure, there is an uneasy feeling that comes over me, doubt, maybe worry, and uncertainty about the choice I am about to make. I ponder, even if for just a second, before making the turn. I try to remember what I’ve read, what I was told, which way I went before, where the sun is, and try to make an educated decision.

That;s what we do with the circumstances we face in life, isn’t it? We travel through our lives and when we are young we are hopefully guided by parents or guardians who love us and will do all they can to keep us from taking the wrong turns. We follow their directions learning and logging experiences in our memories. We, hopefully, attend a church and learn truth, Biblical truth, and realize that there are absolutes. We find our Solid Rock and stand upon it and take each step as a step of faith and are confident that which ever way we turn, it’s the way He would want us to turn. We find the directions we need in the Scriptures and we follow the advice of those who have gone before us.

But, sadly, that’s not how it goes, is it? We are raised by people who love us and try to teach us right from wrong so that we don’t end up making the same mistakes they did and end up in trouble. They walked that path and they do their level best, sometimes in a very bad way, even abusively, to warn us and teach us how to avoid the pitfalls of life. But we go our own way anyway. We somehow figure that we know better than they did. We are smarter. Whatever happened to them was just bad luck and there is no way it would happen to us. That was something that happened in another century, hundreds of years ago when they were kids. So instead of avoiding the roads that are certain to cause us trouble, we turn down them because they look like they might be “fun”. Who knows, they just might be. But it also might not be.

Then, if we are blessed enough to survive the trouble, grow, mature and eventually have some children of our own, we pass on lessons we learned to them. We still arrogantly believe that the way we are telling them is the safest and best way to go. Turn here, stop there, go up, turn left, then right and you will be ok. It’s like we are trying to steer our kids through one of those marble labyrinths and all we have is the two knobs to tilt the table forward and back, left and right. Remember those? We see the pitfalls, but our input invariably can’t always keep the ball from falling into the hole. And we start over.

But sadly, there are some who have never had great guidance in life. They face each decision they face, every intersection to be traversed, with the anxiety and fear that never goes away. It gets to be too much and they may even stop traveling forward. Their lives become spent parked on the side of the road as the rest of traffic whizzes by. There are some of you like that. You stop and ponder each decision you have to make. It’s hard. Each decision has the potential to get you lost. When we face intersections we haven’t come across before, it’s ok to ask for help. Ask for directions. Ask for help crossing the road. What’s wrong with that? We all have to learn somehow. Be ready to help, but also be ready to be helped. It’s what links us together. Someday, you will cross an intersection that looks alot like the one you are at today. You will remember, and soon you will know just where to go.

How many times have you heard people who are well on in years say that they just don’t know what to do. They are faced with situations or circumstances that have left them helpless and unable to make a decision because perhaps they have never been down that road before. Well if it happens to them, my friend, then it happens to you and I. I’ve been there. I’ve come over a rise in the road and seen an unfamiliar intersection ahead and I felt that slight panic rise within me. All I could see was the left and the right, nothing else. My panic was over not knowing where each choice would take me. What would happen to me? Where would I end up? The feeling is much different when you arrive at an intersection where you know where each of the roads go. It’s a simple decision. So we make it. And, if the opportunity arrives, we give directions to friends or even someone lost at a gas station, and if they believe us, they too will make an unfamiliar intersection less daunting and even comforting, knowing that they are on the right road.

You know that feeling too. You get directions from someone and as you pass the landmarks you feel that comfort and assurance of knowing that you are on the right track. Help someone today. Help them with the knowledge you have, even if it’s hard for you to do. Someone needs you. Maybe it’s how to use a copy machine; navigate the web; change a tire; whatever. Pass it on. And, allow someone else to help you cross an intersection in your life that you need help with. Thats what brings us together. We direct and are directed. Our humanity links us all. Remember that someone taught you so that you could avoid trouble. Maybe you followed that advice, maybe you didn’t. Either way, tell someone else about your experiences. They may just listen. Hope for them. Someone hoped for you and gave of themselves so you would have a chance. Now give it way.

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