Journey 7: Off the Beaten Path

Today’s surrender, at first, seemed so small, so insignificant, that I wasn’t going to write about it. But the relatively minor incident has stayed with me all afternoon and evening, returning to me again and again, until I spent time unpacking the experience, to see what was there for me. 


I traveled with Greg to a community near Kansas City today, so that he can spend time with a cousin painting house interiors. We enjoyed a quick lunch together and then I headed back to Joplin, driving alone. The weather wasn’t the best, with rain that bordered on wintry mix up near KC, and low visibility, but I knew I was fine. 

I declared the drive home an adventure and I felt total peace as I drove, listening to The Hobbit soundtrack on low volume, taking my time and using caution. 

The temperature grew warmer as I drove south and the rain became intermittent and then stopped completely as I reached Ft. Scott, KS. I had an hour to go and I felt the exhilaration that comes from entering the homestretch. 

And then I had a funny thing happen. I was still driving with my iPhone’s map feature on, which includes GPS and Siri’s delightful voice giving me instructions. Even though I was back in familiar territory as I approached Pittsburg, I had left the GPS on because I like the heads up warnings about upcoming turns and the handy little ETA feature. 

Suddenly Siri told me to turn left as I approached an intersection. I knew that wasn’t right. I should go straight, and circle around Pittsburg, before turning east toward Joplin. Siri insisted left and I had to make a decision…go the way I thought…or trust what I was told and go a different route. 

I’m not that familiar with the back roads around Pittsburg. I was currently traveling on a major highway. Straight ahead or left? The known or unknown? 


I chose to turn left and go toward the unknown. After all, I am surrendering to the flow of life. I’m open to new experiences. How much more guidance can I ask for than a voice audibly telling me “Turn left”? I traveled down narrow two lane back roads. I saw farms and fields. And very few cars. I knew I was heading in the right general direction. I trusted. 

And yet…I wondered where I was. I wondered why Siri thought this was the best route to take. I wondered if I had mistakenly entered the wrong destination into my phone’s map. I kept going. I kept relaxing and bringing myself back into trust, and into the flow. 

In 15 minutes I turned left again and knew exactly where I was. I had completely bypassed Pittsburg. I was a few miles from the Missouri state line. Thirty minutes later, I was home. 

As I further explored that amusing experience I had these thoughts:

* This is what being in the flow is all about…heading into the unknown with trust that I will be taken exactly where I need to go. 

* I make the decision whether I will heed the guidance I am given, or retain a semblance of control. 

* Adventures often happen off the beaten path. Life lessons certainly do. 

* I don’t have to know the whys, as I surrender to the flow. I’m still not sure why Siri diverted me off of the main route. I’ll never know. I may have avoided an accident. The way Siri took me may have been faster. 

* Life offered me a chance to walk my talk. I want to be faithful, even in the seemingly small matters. 

I’m grateful for the experience of not knowing where I was or where I would end up…and for trusting that as I surrendered, all would be well. I’m glad I turned left.