When we used to travel as a family, my father would go to AAA and get a "triptik" - a spiral bound map that was custom made for his trip. As you turned the pages, you would see the next segment of your trip unfold. Perhaps that explains why I travel the way I do. I'm not good at spontaneous travel but prefer to have things mapped out. I use Map Quest most of the time or actual folding paper maps. (Some of you might have to "Google" that last one.) I'm not good at using GPS because I don't like having a person with a British accent telling me what to do. I like to know in advance what the next step is.
On July 25 at 2:45 a.m., I began a journey when Stephanie passed away. I don't have a map or GPS, and I don't really have a sense of where I'm going or how long it's going to take to get to wherever I'm going. This journey is unique to me and has many twists and turns as it goes. It involves a sense of relief that my months of being Stephanie's care giver are over. Relief that I don't have to do her daily dialysis treatments anymore and relief that I don't have to see the woman I love suffer in pain. But loss that the woman I fell in love with over 35 years ago is not with me anymore.
So here I am on this unpredictable, spontaneous journey which is why at any moment in time you may ask me: "How are you doing?" and the response may be "I'm doing alright", but the longer we talk, I might turn into a puddle right before your eyes. It's completely random, and for those of you brave enough to be on the journey with me, you don't have to try to fix it for me because it can't be fixed, and my tears are not a set-back but rather fuel for the journey.
I am fortunate to have some wonderful traveling companions. My daughters, Abby and Emma, who are trying to understand their journey at the same time as I am trying to understand mine. My family and my friends from inside and outside of our church community. But my most important companion is my Heavenly Father. Each day I take time to be with him, and almost every day, He gives me something new to ponder.
Proverbs 3:5-6 is one of those things. Here it is from the Message: Trust God from the bottom of your heart; don’t try to figure out everything on your own. Listen for God’s voice in everything you do, everywhere you go; he’s the one who will keep you on track.
Those words are about our general journey of life, but they have a special significance to me as I am on this random, unpredictable journey. As I ponder those words, I take solace in the fact that my Heavenly Father is leading the way for me on this journey. He knows where I am going and knows what pitfalls I'll need to avoid. He'll be there to "keep me on track". That doesn't mean that I don't need my other traveling companions. It means that as long as I allow my Heavenly Father to lead me. He will take me where I need to go. After all, he has the "triptik"