Gran's Apple Butter Blog

March 29, 2011

Going Home, Excerpt: Modes’n’Maps (5/IV)

Filed under: Book Series,Books,Emotions,Front Porch Rambles,Going Home,Gran,Life Journeys,maps — Mary Batson - FrontPorchRambles @ 10:20 am

Chapter 5 – Modes’n’Maps
from Going Home, by Mary Batson

The rest of planning involved the when, where, and how questions. Gran said for the first, she always just went with “Now.” We can try to schedule around vacations and school and work and dog shows and the local county fair, but this usually only delays our journey, ‘cause we rarely find that perfect chunk of time without any competing demands. If the timing seems impossible, we can refer back to our reason why, to remind us that this journey is now a top priority, and like they say: “Be assured that you’ll always have time for the things you put first.”[i]

As for the question of Where, that varies. Maybe we’re coming home inside ourselves. Maybe we’re starting a new family or visiting an old one. Or maybe we’re just plumb tuckered out and ready to go home in a big way. Only we know which journey we’re on, or if we’re taking three different ones all at the same time. That takes a lot of energy, Gran said, but it can be done. She’d seen it happen. The intricate dance that emerged was a sight to behold, and a true source of inspiration for other travelers.

The answer to How had two parts: We get to pick our mode and our map, and each option has pros and cons. A plane might be faster, but if something goes wrong you’ll be up a creek unless you’re a pilot. Going on foot took that out of the question, but it also slowed you down. Not being one to reinvent the wheel, Gran preferred travel by car. She could drive whatever speed she liked, see out every window, check the oil and fill the tank herself, and she had a handy-dandy 800 number to call for roadside assistance when need be.

Not only that, driving gave Gran the freedom to pick up the occasional hitchhiker, to head down whatever road took her fancy, or to stop and smell the roses whenever she felt like it. She liked those new little gas-sippers – they were better for the planet, and one thing she was into was sustainability. Besides, Gran felt that car was like her – still room for improvement, but they were both taking steps in the right direction.

After Gran chose her car, she got to pick out her map. In that day and age, this took the form of her tried-and-true atlas, along with a quarter (for flipping) and her heart (not for flipping). Gran’s quarter compass catered to her daredevil side – she was nothing if not an adventurer. Those of us not inclined to follow the toss of a coin can choose to follow our hearts, to rely on our memory, or we can pick our own map.

Of course, we can also just hit the road, planning to watch for signs or to ask directions along the way. For thousands of years seekers have made these journeys this way – if it worked before, it could work again. Each set of directions also comes with pros and cons, but Gran said we’d get into that once we were on the road, ‘cause we can’t really see what those are until they start presenting themselves along the way.

If we pick a map, it’s a good idea to stick with it, Gran said, as opposed to switching it out every two blocks. Changing routes too quickly can make your trip last a lot longer and lead to lots of dead ends. Besides, if your map is wrong, your heart will let you know about it soon enough. In the meantime, how well can you read maps? It might not hurt to brush up on your navigational skills.

Regardless, Gran said we wouldn’t want to get too attached to any particular map. “The finger that points to the moon is not the moon,” she’d say.[ii] When our map leads us around the same block for the third time, it might be wise to concede that something is a little off. Maybe it’s time for us to forge ahead and make our own call. After all, that map was drawn by a human being just like you and me, so if something got lost in the translation, there’s no telling where it might lead.

Most importantly, never forget: The map itself is not where you’re going. It only points the way, like that finger. It’s just a reflection – a reflection of glory.

[i] Liane Steele reminds us of something we might sooner forget
[ii] From the Lankavatara Sutra, a sutra of Mahayana Buddhism
© Mary Batson, Going Home, Front Porch Rambles, and Gran’s Apple Butter Blog, 2010. All rights reserved.
NOW AVAILABLE: Going Home, The E-Book & Going Home: The Tour LIVE – 2 CD set – Mikey and Gran’s story put to music!


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