There are many roads that dissect the map of my life. Some cut big, gaudy highways across my treasured guide. Others are gentler, wandering roads whose marks are light. There are others still that are little more than dirt paths, barely legible upon the worn creased page.
Super Highways of Busyness and Necessity war with the slower routes of Intimacy and Connection. The dirt paths of Meditation and Remembrance are often neglected all together, over grown and barely visible. My map is chaotic, filled with so many roads that often it is hard to tell where one begins and another ends. The roads often merge and divide making navigating life confusing even in the best of times. The corner where Need crosses Want can be quite tricky. And merging onto Goal Turnpike is often fraught with danger. But it was not always so. I can remember when I was first given this map, all shiny, new, blank……full of possibility. I would day dream about where I would first set off for in the vast unknown wilderness. I was warned to slow down and enjoy where I was at the moment because before I knew it my map would be full. But I didn’t heed the warning, instead I continued dreaming of the places I would go, roads I would forge completely unaware I was already making the first tentative markings on my exciting map. I remember when I noticed the first few roads that marked my map. I was confused and angry. Who had touched my map, my guide?!? No one had the right to lay roads on it but me. A friend said “But it is you who drew those lines.” I shook my head vehemently “It is not I!! Those roads are not going the direction I would have chosen. Surely I would remember marking my map!” My friend responded with a simple rhyme “Dear friend careless roads are so easy to lay, be very careful with your choices every day.” Such beautiful pearls of wisdom that I disdainfully tossed aside choosing instead to carelessly busy my map with unimportant dead end roads: Vain Ambition Drive, Beauty Boulevard and Popularity Terrace. As the years went by more and more roads were laid down: Self-Depreciation Lane, I Told You So Palisade, and The Guilt Round About weaved inefficiently through my daily commute. I tried so hard to establish Friendship Lane. Instead I built Acquaintance Avenue. So many, many roads…… so many, many important places to be, times to catch, people to meet….so little actually being accomplished because my map was so unclear. I actually called my friend, the one whose advice I had disdained in years past. “Dear friend a road laid by only you will have a very limited view.” Sound advice, good advice, cryptic advice. I then began to look for a map maker, a master cartographer who can make sense of this sad, worn map of mine. Most when presented with my humble map disdainfully handed it back. My map has no eloquence, no great beauty. It was never gilded with gold or embellished with beautiful art or even precisely laid out to scale. No, this is a map of happenstance, the culmination of my seemingly insignificant daily decisions. I then found a little map store on my daily commute, surprisingly it had been there all along on the corner of Busyness Expressway and Necessity Parkway. It’s an old store, neglected and run down. I almost didn’t stop but I thought that maybe just maybe there would be someone here who could help me make sense of my map. I approached the beautifully carved wood door and I had a vague sense of familiarity. I turned the handle and pushed on the heavy door, old hinges creaking as if trying to remember their unfamiliar task. Inside sitting at a large desk sat my trusted friend, waiting….for me. He smiled and tenderly took my worn, tattered, weathered map. He gently spread it upon the large cherry wood desk in the center of the room. Beside the desk was a small table with all sorts of tools: compasses, rulers, erasers, elegant pens and beautiful paints. He sat down at the desk, motioned for me to sit in a leather chair across from him. We chatted for hours that first day, me telling the tale of how my map had come to be in such a sad state. He listened, nodded and occasionally commented and then handed me back my map as I left. I was disappointed I said as I was about to go out the door. I had enjoyed my visit but he had never really looked at my map. He smiled and in his gentle voice told me to look at my map. I hesitantly opened it up, expecting the same confusing and heart wrenching disarray. Imagine my surprise when my route for the day was highlighted and clear, some of the dead ends had been erased and some of the torn places mended. My day went so smoothly, my energy was renewed I could not wait to go back to the little map store the next day. So my daily trips to the cartographer have continued. My map is becoming more clear and beautiful with every visit. I am often surprised by the routes the map maker lays out for me. I find myself spending more time on Relationship Crossing and Compassion Way and less time on Necessity and Busyness. Yet somehow everything gets done that needs to be done. There are days when I don’t go to my friends shop and things begin to become unclear and jumbled once more. I then return and my friend graciously asks me to sit down and quietly fixes the mess I have made of his beautiful work. His words are so very true and they replay in my head often “Dear friend, careless roads are easy to lay. Be careful with your choices every day.”
So this is what came out when I sat down to blog last night. Not my usual offering but I hope you enjoyed a more lyrical change. I pray each of you has a fabulous week-Kristine