One Lost Soul: On the Highway of Life, Who Should I Listen To?

Published 7:16 pm Wednesday, April 6, 2016

It is no secret among my family and friends that I’m lost. Don’t take that to mean I’m a lost soul, unsure of my direction in life, though that might actually be true. It is much more literal: I have absolutely no sense of direction.

I am one of those poor souls who will be driving down I-26 or up I-85, miss the exit to my home, and not realize it until 20 miles later. Interstate exits all look the same to me, even the ones I’ve used daily for the past 25 years.

After a lifetime of missing my exits, I’ve learned to no longer get (too) upset about going 40 miles out of my way home, but rather to take a deep breath, count to 10, and take the next exit to what should be the simple process of turning around. Simple? Maybe for most people, but on most occasions, I find myself sitting at the exit ramp wondering should I go north, south, east, or west to get home. Believe me, it can be a really bad feeling and blow to my sense of manliness to read the directional signs, to look both ways on the interstate, and still be unsure of which way to go.

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Most of the time, I choose the wrong direction, despite my efforts to logically determine which way is the right way to go. I’ve tried looking at the sun and moon for directional hints. I’ve flipped coins. I’ve even psyched myself, “Well, I think I should go this way, but I’m always wrong, so I’ll the other way,” which, of course, is the wrong way.

Knowing how directionally challenged I am, my family gave me a GPS several years ago, and it really helps as long as I do what that calm robotic voice tells me to do. Problem is I don’t follow directions all that well. The voice will tell me exactly where to turn and exactly how far to go, but, I’ll think, surely I know more about where I’m going than a baby computer conversing with the satellites in outer space. And before I realize it, I’m off the beaten path, off track, and off the grid… someplace not even Big Brother knows about. Yes, I have actually looked at my GPS screen to find myself not on any road at all — just hanging out there in virtual Never Never Land.

And if it’s not bad enough that I’ll second guess the GPS, my wife really believes she knows the better way. Admittedly, sometimes she does, but she doesn’t deliver her directions in a calm robotic voice that is forgiving when I don’t do as I am told. The GPS just recalculates where I am and where I’m going and gives me a new set of directions without judgmental comments. The GPS doesn’t care if I follow its directions or not. The wife, however, gets a bit huffy when I don’t do as she says. Nothing like being a lost man in a car with two female voices telling me to go in different directions. At least one of them I can unplug.

Even though I am bound to get lost, I still manage to get where I need to be. I may not always know how I got there, and I am most certainly going to be late, but I’ll get there eventually, one way or another. If I didn’t have that faith that all roads lead home, I would surely be lost on the highway of daily life.

As I was driving home yesterday, I heard a charismatic voice from the radio, and it told me to take the Path of Righteousness. Hmm, that is just a few miles down from the Straight and Narrow, parallel to the Road Less Traveled. Maybe I should try a different route. We lost souls will go wherever the voices tell us to go.