Wednesday, April 27, 2011

God May Be My Co-Pilot, but I’m Lost Without My GPS

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We’ve officially moved out of The Sticks.

In The Sticks, a couple big dogs are an adequate security system. Back in The Sticks, we left our front door unlocked—in case a neighbor needed to swing by while we were out of town to borrow a cup of organic sugar. In fact, it wasn’t until we moved out of our last residence that we actually found the keys to the house.

We recently moved to the Big City, and we’ve received our official welcome: A car prowl that relieved us of our GPS unit, a name-brand system Curlytop and Snugglebug call “TalkTalk.”

I confess an unnatural adoration for TalkTalk. He kept me company on solo road trips, always knew where the nearest gas station was, never criticized my driving, and never steered me wrong. Well, almost never. He did actually take me thirty miles, in the wrong direction, on a quest for a country road that didn’t exist, just last week. I forgave him, even though I spent an additional hour getting home from my last book signing.

Suddenly, he’s gone.

For all the Big City’s convenience and glamour (I can actually dial the phone—or execute a couple clicks on the web—and people will bring food to my house!), I’m still not entirely comfortable with its streets and landmarks. I plugged an address into TalkTalk the other day, only to find it was literally around the corner, and well within walking distance. I drove anyway, and let TalkTalk guide me. These days, I don’t trust myself not to get lost walking around the block.

Even if I knew where I was going and how to get there, I’d get a speeding ticket on the way, since the speedometer cable on my car broke some time ago and Mr. Wright didn’t see the need to replace it, because TalkTalk calculated my approximate speed at any given moment. I’ve mentioned he’s full of great ideas, right? Mr. Wright, that is, not TalkTalk.

When we woke on Resurrection Day (some folks call it “Easter”), Mr. Wright and I set into motion the traditional Sunday morning scurry that typically delivers us to the church doors fifteen minutes late. Frankly, arriving only a few minutes late each week is an accomplishment which brings me a certain amount of pride.

If you know my family’s standard schedule, you’re aware fifteen minutes of tardiness is actually “early” for us, by comparison.

Anyway, we piled into the car. As is my habit, I reached toward the dashboard to program the church address into TalkTalk. You’d think I’d know how to get there by now, right? Imagine my shock when I realized TalkTalk was… GONE! He was there when we parked the car in the early morning after a night of dancing with the derby girls, which means the thief or thieves actually stole him on Resurrection Day. Thievery, on the holiest of days? Unbelievable!

I walked into church with a chip on my shoulder, feeling violated and, well, ripped off. Even worship—which usually reduces me to a humble, sobbing puddle of gratitude—didn’t move me. I couldn’t focus on Pastor’s message. In fact, it wasn’t until we all bowed our heads and closed our eyes to pray that I realized how significant it was that the crime occurred on Easter Sunday, the day we celebrate Christ’s resurrection.

The gospel of Luke tells that as Jesus hung on the cross, two thieves hung with him. One basically sneered at Him, to the effect of, “So, you’re the Messiah? If you’re such a big miracle worker, why don’t you miracle yourself and the two of us off these crosses?”

The other was humbled, and recognized Jesus as the Son of God, and begged to be remembered as Jesus took His place in the kingdom of Heaven. Because of the second thief’s repentance, Jesus assured him he’d have a first class ticket to paradise. I’m paraphrasing, of course, but you can read the whole exchange in Luke 23:39-43.

Jesus died for that thief, and for me. As hard as it was to admit, I realized Jesus died for the thief who ‘jacked TalkTalk, too. So, I’m praying—praying the perpetrator won’t have to face death before repenting, praying he or she will feel Christ’s love and forgiveness, and that I will finally, blessedly, learn to read a map.

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