Last week I discovered that I can’t solve a Rubik’s cube. I can’t even solve one side. With instructions.
With great hilarity the whole family- in-laws and all- watched me wrestle with the thing, laughing hysterically when an instruction said ‘You should be able to figure this part out on your own,’ because I couldn’t. It’s ok, I have other talents.
I generated the same amazement amongst the family a few days later when I admitted that I can’t find my way around the neigborhood we’re currently living in, even with their instructions. I can’t really blame them for being surprised- we’ve visited many, many times over the years. But it’s true.
Part of that is due to the British aversion to street signs (really, everyone who’s lived here for generations may be aware that we are currently on King Street, but how’s a newcomer to know if the sign is concealed behind a hedge, nailed on an obscure corner of a house- or doesn’t exist at all?). But another reason is that when we’re in the car together, I don’t drive. I really don’t mind being the passenger because I like to look out the window, enjoy the scenery and let my mind wander. In fact, lately the car has become my sanctuary- I can put on my makeup, brush my hair, file my nails, organize my purse without interruption because everyone else is fastened down and therefore in relatively little need of my help. It’s great. Except that when I’m not driving, I’m not learning my way.
Long ago I found that for me, the best way to learn about a place is to get lost. In the process of finding my way out I discover new places and figure out which roads take me the direction I want to go. My mind begins to register landmarks that have significance for me: There’s the place where we went to dinner once. This is where I made a wrong turn and ended up getting on the motorway- won’t do that again! I know it’s ok that I’ve gone past my turning here, because I can take the next one….
So lately I’ve been working on getting myself lost (in the literal sense), and one day as I was irresponsibly letting my mind wander while I circled the streets I began to think about the people of Israel. (Deep, I know. I think I had a lot of coffee that day- or maybe not enough.) I thought about them wandering around in the desert after their escape from Egypt, and I kind of felt a teeny tiny bit of solidarity with them. Ok, so I’m not currently starving, dehydrated, sleeping on sand, or at risk of being ravaged by wild beasts. But I am trying to find my way in a place in life I’ve never been before. My husband and I have both been in employment since the day we each turned 18. We’ve always had a start time, a job description, a target to meet. But what we’ve been asked to do now is simply wait. And trust.
You can’t tick a box on trust. And you can’t make out a street map for God’s plans. Which makes me wonder- was it so easy to follow a pillar of cloud? I mean, did this pillar have relief carvings and a marble effect, or did it just look like… a cloud? And when the journey started to take a whole heck of a lot longer than it should have, is it any wonder that people started to ask if maybe they’d misread the signs?
I’ve decided it’s all about attitude (and I’m sure a dehydrated, destitute Israelite would’ve thanked me for that nugget of wisdom.) We could look at wandering around and losing our way as a fail- or we could do ourselves a favor and take it as an opportunity to really get to know someplace new. Maybe it’s ok to take time a break the to-do list and just spend some time trusting. Maybe that’s what God wants for us. And while we’re at it, we might as well enjoy the view.
So go get lost.