As usual, I over-packed for a recent vacation. Nonetheless, I somehow managed to forget my mascara. Not wanting to appear eyelash-less for an entire week, I put “buy mascara” at the top of my to do list when I started out on my first field trip. Shortly after leaving my home-away-from-home I came upon a CVS, but it was on the other side of the street and I would have had to cross traffic to get to it. “Surely there will be another, more conveniently-located drug store before I reach my destination”, I told myself. Alas, there was no such drug store and I ended up stopping at a Walmart. Not only was it busier than the CVS would have been, it also required crossing traffic plus I got turned around in its convoluted parking lot both entering AND exiting.
A couple of days later I was heading off on another adventure. It was almost, but not quite, time for my afternoon tea. I passed a Starbucks soon after getting underway. Knowing I had at least an hour’s drive ahead of me I thought, “I bet I’ll pass another Starbucks soon.” Nope! This time I ended up backtracking to a Target which Siri indicated was home to the closest Starbucks. I had to endure the busyness of the store itself, its parking area AND the traffic on the mall access road leading to said parking lot. All told I added at least 20 minutes to my trip.
When would I learn? . . .
As most travelers know, it’s best to return rental cars with a full tank of gas to avoid excess refueling charges so finding a gas station was top priority as I started to the airport. I didn’t have to look far; there were two within a stone’s throw of the hotel where I spent my last night of vacation. Knowing I had a 35-mile drive I thought, “There will be more gas stations along the way.” (Cue internal conversation.) “Whoa! You’re not going to follow that logic again are you?! Do you really want to risk having to go off course to find another gas station and make yourself late for your flight?” (Anyone else out there have these conversations with themselves?) I’m happy to report I had learned my lesson. I pulled into one of the stations, refueled, and went blissfully on my needle-past-full, stress-free way to the airport.
As I drove I couldn’t help but think about other times when I don’t listen, times when I choose not to heed obvious directions when it comes to my spiritual journey. God promises to instruct us in the way we should go. He speaks clearly through Scripture, sermon messages, the godly advice of believing friends. Even so, there are instances when I’m slow to obey or I decide to take a different route altogether. And my detours often result in frustration and lead to needless sorrow. Yet God is compassionate, slow to anger and abounding in steadfast love toward me, his sometimes wayward daughter. He tenderly draws me back to himself and leads me on the sure pathway Home.