Gran's Apple Butter Blog

September 27, 2011

Going Home, Excerpt: Finding Your Way (7/II)

Filed under: Along the Road,Book Series,Front Porch Rambles,Going Home,Gran,Life Journeys,Listening,maps,On the road,Road Signs — Mary Batson - FrontPorchRambles @ 12:53 pm

Chapter 7 – Finding Your Way

Once we’re in that driver’s seat, when it comes to navigating we have several options. We can start out with our map from the planning stage, we can do like Gran and flip a quarter, or we can rely on our memory of the road, asking for directions when need be and watching for signs along the way.

The thing about maps – whether they’re in print or on some high-tech gadget, most of us know they can be pretty outdated. If you know someone using a particular map, take a peek at their journey, Gran said. If they arrived where they were headed, great! That was a good map, at least for their road. But if they seem to be going in circles, we might want to think twice about following their directions. We’ll also want to check their destination – even good directions won’t help if we aren’t going the same place.

Map or no map, we want to pay attention to road signs, in case anything has changed along the route. Road signs take all shapes and sizes, from those dreams that come bubbling up to whether things around us are working well or if we feel like we’re spinning our wheels. Some signs come in the form of things people say or a line that stands out in a book, or even that little hummingbird of happiness that crosses our path at just the right moment.

The secret to finding your way, Gran said, is to watch for familiar landmarks – buildings, mountains, maybe even a star or two. This is especially important if you live in one of those new fangled settlements where everything looks alike. Gran had lived in one of those, out where the sun shines hotter than most places, and she said it could be awfully confusing.

If you can’t find a landmark, you can always follow your heart. When something feels right, when it rings true, follow it. I know this sounds like something that little guy with the glowing finger would say, but it’s true. You have a homing device inside – inside your heart. It’s your very own built-in navigation system, just like bats and submarines, and it doesn’t even need batteries or a suction cup for the windshield.

You see, when you’re on your way home, your heart sends out little pings into the distance, searching for its way, even when you don’t realize it’s doing it. Sometimes those pings bounce back and say Turn Left or Turn Right or STOP! Other times that little ping will come back with a richness and a glow you recognize. There’s no questioning it, not even for a second, because that ping says This Way Home, and you know to follow it. You just know. Isn’t that cool?

It’s like driving along when you see that great big red barn in the distance, roof caved in from age and too many tornados. You know, because you’ve taken this road before, that when you get to that barn you’ll curve by on the right side, starting up the long hill headed due west, and on the left will be the baseball camp (closed now for the winter) and on the right will be the little row of cottages with their Christmas lights shining. You’ll know exactly how to get home from here, you’ll almost feel like you’re already there, ‘cause you’re on the home stretch. 

It’s like following a trail of bread crumbs we didn’t even know we left behind.

Three things to keep in mind: First, like Gran said before, if you keep switching maps, your trip may take a lot longer. You’ll get so far – maybe to the last corner, almost in sight of the house – then you’ll turn and head off in the opposite direction, ‘cause your new map says “Go Directly To Ventnor Avenue.” Well, if you’re already at Park Place, and you only need snake eyes to win, which map do you follow then?

Second: Like a modern-day GPS, if you miss a turn your heart will recalculate the next best route. That’s a pretty comforting thought, one that’s kept me company on many a dark road when my brake lights were out and only one headlight was working. And even better than GPS, hearts don’t get thrown off by cloud cover or tunnels, and you never have to wait for a satellite.

Third: We can always follow someone else down the highway, but Gran didn’t recommend it. In general, she thought each of us would want to navigate for ourselves. After all, if that driver is like her and prefers to take the scenic route, there’s a good chance we’ll get home more quickly if we head off on our own.

And of course, always pay attention and go with your gut. Don’t worry, if you start heading the wrong direction, your heart will let you know about it pretty darn quick. That is, it will if you’re listening, which is why we have two ears and one mouth.

And if listening is an issue, Gran said, we could always just tape our mouths shut for a while, although she suggested we refrain from offering to do that for anyone else. Gran had quite a sense of humor.

© Mary Batson, Going Home, Front Porch Rambles, and Gran’s Apple Butter Blog, 2010-2011. All rights reserved.
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