Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Day 172: Where Are You Headed?

Aren't GPSs amazing? The one pictured has seen several miles on it, even in Washington State. It is a real lifesaver and timesaver and has revolutionized travel. Before you would have to buy a map and then have someone else navigate each turn, exit and mile marker from point A to point B. Now you just select your destination and leave the work up to the Garmin. You can even use features that will find the nearest gas station, restaurant, bank or shopping center. It will calculate you ETA, tell you your MPG and let you know what your MPH is. Quite amazing and after driving in New York I said I would never travel without one.

Frustration is only the tip of the iceberg in explaining my experience in New York. I had found an exceptional deal on a Nissan Altima in Newark New Jersey, had frequent flier miles that covered the plane trip and knew New York City was just a few miles away. My plan was to just hop over to the city, snap pictures of Ground Zero, the Statue of Liberty and Times Square, jump on the road and zoom on home, all 16 hours drive of it. Well, it didn't quite work out that way.

The paperwork on the car was finished about 3:00 and I was off to New York. I knew it wasn't far because I could see the skyline from the Newark Airport, so it was closer than I thought. I made it to the toll booth to enter Manhattan, saw the Bronx crossing the bridge and was on the lookout for signs telling me where to get off. So, I end up on the other side of Manhattan after not seeing any signs saying "Hey - Jeff - Take This Exit". I ended up on City Island, that was actually a neat little place to mistakenly end up. I turned around and headed back the way I came. This time determined to look for my sign. Once again I did not see it, so I turned around again and just took an exit that looked like it would take me to the right area. This time I drove from one end of the island to the other several times, from one airport to the other and frustration was really building.

I stopped for a map, in a less than desirable looking convenience store and headed back out. At this time it was getting dark, so I knew I wouldn't be seeing much, if anything. So I head along with the flow of traffic, with the hopes of hitting Time Square, which I never did. I did see a whole slew of taxi cabs and a lot of people. I was getting frustrated, it was getting later and I was ready to get out of town. I asked someone how to get back to Jersey and was on my way home. I did get to see the Lincoln Tunnel, which was wild driving through, but nothing of the Statue of Liberty, Ground Zero or Time Square. I was, at the time, just happy to be leaving and heading home.

That is the time I decided to never travel without a GPS again. If I would have had the trusty Garmin I would have zoomed right to the places I wanted to see. I suppose I am over it now, but I do want to go back some day, with the family and with the Garmin, definitely with the Garmin.

Looking back to that day I still have good memories of it. It was a life changing event to purchase my first new car. It was also a learning experience and a reminder that I am not always in control, no matter how much I try to be. I also realize that God had His hand through the whole experience of getting the car. I can see His fingerprints back several months when I received free frequent flier miles from a quality trip to Baton Rouge for my job. A few other guys and myself had a flight canceled, so they gave us each 10,000 free miles. The other guys didn't want theirs and gave them to me. At the time I just figured Chandra and I would take a weekender somewhere with a free flight. Come to find out when I tried to add the miles to my account I could only add one, but through a mixup they allowed me to add them all. There was also a waiting period of a few days between putting the miles on my account and actually being able to use them, but once again, somehow that waiting period was waived and some airline operators did not know how it was done. But I did. So, it all fell into place, miles in my hands, miles in my account, found a great deal and off to New Jersey I went. When I first sat in the car and was driving off the lot I prayed that God take the car and do with it what He wills. I know that He gave me the means to get the car and I know that He is in control of it. I know that if He decides it needs to slide into a tree that it is what is best for the car and it might lead to a witnessing opportunity with the wrecker driver.

Who knows what God has in store for us? We definitely do not have a GPS for our path of life. All we need to know is stay on the narrow path and it will lead to God. There is nothing that can take a child of God's from that path, so just continue on, even if you get frustrated and feel lost at times, just keep driving toward the goal, which is to see God glorified and to tell others of His goodness and mercies.

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