When I was younger my mom was teaching me how to sew and this particular time she was helping me make pillowcases. In all of my sewing experience she had engrained the principle of putting the front sides of the fabric together to sew and then it flattens out with the raw edges of the seam on the inside. But this time she began by telling me that I was going to argue with her but to listen till she finished explaining. She told me to put the wrong sides together and sew them, so I was immediately ready to argue, but then she explained sewing again with the fabric front sides together to create the French seam. I had luckily kept my mouth shut and learned a few valuable things. The first was how to make a fancy seam that looked nice on a pillowcase; the other lesson was to trust my experienced and wise mother.
Going on a trip to a destination I’ve never gone before, I am humble enough to know that I need directions. So I have my GPS help me get around, but I am not always humble enough to agree with all of the directions I am given. We all know that a GPS will sometimes get us a little lost or give silly directions. I’ve had my GPS instruct me to take an exit off the freeway only to tell me to take the ramp ahead to get back on. So obviously they aren’t perfect, but I think it’s no different than life.
We always have visions and plans for our future but sometimes we end up on silly detours or heading in the complete opposite direction of what we expected. I know that I always get annoyed when I know my destination is northwest but the road I’m on is taking me east for what seems like forever before I’m heading north again. I’m sure we all wish that we could get places in a straight shot “as the crow flies”, but life isn’t like that.
I’ve had my share of detours, dead ends, and U-turns in my life, just like anyone else. But I really believe that life is just like following the directions of a GPS, regardless of the late warnings and frustrating moments, eventually I get where I wanted to be. Even if I end up frustrated and worn out from moments of being lost or an unnecessary detour, I think there really is a reason for everything, even if you don’t ever figure it out. The easiest answer is you now know what not to do for next time. But you end up in your current place, ready for the next part of your adventure. The journey may not be according to plan, but you get to the destination either way, so why not enjoy it?
As a writer and reader I love stories and in every story there is a journey. You know when you start a book or a movie that bad things are going to happen to the character to mess up the plans, but there are also some good things that happen periodically as well. With the good, and especially the bad events, everything that happens allows the character to reach the ending of the story.
For an example I’d like to reference one of my favorite movies The Princess Bride. There is a point in this movie when Inigo, the Spanish swordsman, trusts his dead father to guide his sword to find the man in black. When the sword lands in a tree Inigo drops his head in defeat. But his trust in this mini journey allowed him and his friend to find the entrance to the hidden torture chamber where they find the man in black.
If you aren’t where you want to end up then there’s still a journey ahead of you and that journey will make the destination better than you expected.
What journey have you had that didn’t have a straight shot to the destination but ended up the better for it?