The shortest distance between two points is a straight line. I learned that from “The Brady Bunch” (or Math class). MapQuest or Google Maps usually give a few options, recommending the most direct route. But based on my own personal experience, it isn’t always accurate or logical. It may seem more efficient to take a well-planned route, but it’s not nearly as adventurous. I find it so exciting to drive down a road that I’ve never been on before and sooooo boring to drive the same route time after time.
There are countless ways to get from one point to another. And I plan to discover as many of these countless routes as possible between Lincoln and Schuyler, Nebraska. Just go north and west, 90 minutes. COUNTLESS possibilities– each one delivers something new with St. Benedict Center as the final destination.
It’s the little surprises I love: a windmill, a curve in the road, a small town that I didn’t know existed (happens all the time in rural Nebraska), a small cemetery or church, a calf nursing from its mother, a turkey crossing the road.
I can make a 90-minute drive closer to two hours, but it is so worth the time. Getting off the highway and onto gravel roads is one of the most prayerful experiences I have. The photos don’t capture the out-loud-to-myself aaaahs and ohs—but the joy of discovery, the surrender to surprise is unmatched.
During retreat this weekend, it occurred to me that I’m willing to take this approach for a country drive, but much less willing to trust the possibility of delightful surprises in life. I’m often unwilling to trust that right around the corner there might be a little surprise if I try something entirely different, take a different approach, or just patiently wait and see what God has in store for me.
It’s hard to give up control. Taking the wrong turn, going farther than planned, needing to backtrack, either on a country road or in life, can be frustrating. I prefer that things go according to plan… well, not just any plan, but MY PLAN.
But one of the things I LOVE about getting older is that you start to see a track record, evidence that God and life work in mysterious ways–and it’s okay.
I’ve had enough sweet surprises, Divine coincidences, God moments, to know
that God can write a much better plan than I can ever conceive, that the stories of my life are written better than I could have ever scripted, that I have been surprised and delighted (sometimes disappointed, but that’s okay too) by relationships, events, feelings, insights…..that I declare,
I surrender to surprises. Like MapQuest, I see only one or two possibilities. God sees COUNTLESS possibilities.
So this is what I believe: It’s okay to be surprised. It’s okay to take a different road. And it’s okay if you take the wrong road. Just keep going in the right direction and be open to the surprises.
Card Names: Fall-Forward-Focus and Surrender to Surprise.
Pictures taken near Appleton, Nebraska (the newly discovered little town near Road Q just north of Highway 92).
For information about upcoming retreats.
You are so right… I always dreaded the idea that getting older meant “slowing down,” as if racing through life at full speed was such a good thing to be doing. Now I see that “slowing down” in many areas leads to many blessings – just like lectio divina – but with life as well as reading. Here’s a poem I like by NY poet Laureate Marie Howe:
We stop at the dry cleaners and the grocery store
and the gas station and the green market and
Hurry up honey, I say, hurry,
as she runs along two or three steps behind me
her blue jacket unzipped and her socks rolled down.
Where do I want her to hurry to? To her grave?
To mine? Where one day she might stand all grown?
Today, when all the errands are finally done, I say to her,
Honey I’m sorry I keep saying Hurry—
you walk ahead of me. You be the mother.
And, Hurry up, she says, over her shoulder, looking
back at me, laughing. Hurry up now darling, she says,
hurry, hurry, taking the house keys from my hands.
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I love this….I am going to share in a future post. I want to embrace this slowing down for all of life!
I love those pictures! You really captured the beauty. And oh my goodness your post holds so much truth. Thank you for sharing your heart with us!
Thanks! I just found a new country road today….post to come!