I was even more appreciative of this on a recent visit to Melbourne where everything was unfamiliar and strange (Is this the only city in the world where you have to go to the far left hand lane in order to turn right?)
What I discovered, apart from the most direct route to get anywhere, were a few telling things that I can’t help but relate to life in general.
I love the way my GPS is forgiving.
It doesn’t hassle me when I make a wrong turn. It doesn’t declare in it’s soft, feminine (North American) voice, “You stupid idiot! Why didn’t you follow my commands?” Likewise, it doesn’t stop showing me the way because I made a wrong turn. It quietly, quickly, recalculates where I’m headed and adjusts directions so I still arrive at my destination.
Life’s like that. God’s like that. No love lost. No refusal or turning the back on me. Just gentle forgiveness… and recalculating so I still get where I need to go. Grace.
But my GPS can still be wrong. At least in my opinion.
We were driving towards Mt. Dandenong and I could very clearly see the summit was to the right of the road on which we were travelling. The GPS, however, didn’t agree with me. Over and again it said (in a patient, peaceful voice), “Turn left on Wombat Road.” I knew Wombat Road led downhill and away from the summit, so my response (to my wife’s amusement) was simply, “Whatever.” And I let the GPS keep harassing me. Passing Wombat Road, my artificially-intelligent friend recalculated and told me to take the next left turn to get me to what ‘she’ thought was my destination. Only when I turned right and arrived at the summit of Mt. Dandenong did I realise the GPS was right–as far as its maps showed. While were standing on top of Mt. Dandenong, the township of Mt. Dandenong was showing on the map as being downhill to the east a few kilometres.
Truth is, I need to be precise when inputting information so I get to the right destination. I also need to make room to get it wrong. Based on the best technology and the latest maps, the turn-by-turn navigation will always be as accurate as I ask it to be. If I tell it to take me to Melbourne Airport, it may direct me across the ocean to Melbourne, Florida. I need to state clearly, “Melbourne Airport, Victoria,” or, more specifically, “Rental Car Returns, Melbourne Airport, Victoria.” (Doing so may prevent the embarrassment of ending up in the parking lane only to have to reverse and cross three lanes to get to the correct entrance. Grrrr…)
I would not have survived Melbourne without a guide that knew the way around. Sure, we had a few “Drive around the block a few more times” moments, and a GPS can’t tell you the food will be OK at that restaurant it directed you to. But, overall, it was calming knowing that somebody (OK, I did attach personhood to my GPS) knew the way.
And that, my friends, is also reassuring in my life. Call it “God,” “The Universe,” “The Great Spirit,” or “Cosmic GPS,” but it always good to know that, no matter how many wrong turns and dead ends you encounter, recalculations will be made, forgiveness is not an issue, and you will arrive at your destination safely.
(And to cap this all off nicely, I believe The Universe just sent me a sign because where I typed “destination,” autocorrect changed it to “detonation.” Well, that is one way to come to an end. . . .)