By CATHY LEE PHILLIPS
Two cell phones ago, I was introduced to my first Global Positioning System. Amazing stuff! I can enter my destination and, within seconds, a disembodied voice literally tells me where to go. From a car to a star, information from afar! My Android connects with a satellite in a far-flung corner of the heavens and pinpoints my exact spot in the vast universe. It not only tells me where I am, it tells me where I am going. My GPS has a generic female voice that sends me forward. She even recalculates if I decide to flex my independence and follow a different road.
On a recent trip to speak in Indiana, I had quiet time to ponder endless GPS possibilities and personalities. For instance, an early version could be:
- The King James GPS – Leavest thou thy home, veereth north on the Jericho Road. At the four-way stop, decideth for thyself which is the straight and narrow way for thee.
That was funny, I thought to myself, and my mind raced as I drove. I wasn’t selective. I included everybody.
- The District Superintendent GPS – You will receive no directions until you pay 100% of your apportionments.
- The Presbyterian GPS – Before the world was formed, you were destined to veer right at the fork in the road.
- Psychologist GPS – Why do you feel you need to make this trip?
- The Mother GPS – If all the other cars drive off a cliff, will you?
- The Depressed GPS – What does it matter? We’re all going to die anyway.
- The Religious Fanatic GPS – God laid it on my heart to tell you to stay home and read your Bible.
- The Politician GPS – I can neither confirm nor deny that you go right or left to find Pennsylvania Avenue.
- The Beauty Pageant GPS – You can travel wherever you want as long as it brings us world peace!
- The Pregnant GPS – I mapped the entire trip and noted every restroom along the route.
- The Menopausal GPS – Let’s get one thing clear. We won’t make a move until you turn on that air conditioner. And where is my chocolate?
- The Cheerleader GPS – GO left, left, left. Then right, right, right. Drive straight to the end zone for VICTORY!
- The Poor Self-Esteem GPS – Does this car make me look fat?
- The Clark Howard GPS – If you must travel, fill your car with gas in the cool of the evening. Check tires for the correct pressure and drive 55 MPH to conserve gasoline. Pack water and peanut butter sandwiches and your trip should fit into your budget.
- The Barney Fife GPS – Reliable Barney Fife is on the job. Let’s go! Got my bullet in my pocket so let’s nip this trip in the bud!
- The Monopoly GPS – Roll the dice! Pass GO and collect $200. Travel 2.6 miles to Mediterranean Avenue, cross the Reading Railroad, and pass Marvin Gardens. Your destination, Park Place, is on the left. Get a speeding ticket and go directly to jail.
- The Farmer GPS – After you milk the cows and feed the chickens, jump on the tractor and drive down the dirt road by Uncle Henry’s garden. Turn left at the barn next to the pig pen. And bring back a mess of turnip greens.
- The Televangelist GPS – Right now, send me $1,000 in seed money. I’ll mail you a prayer cloth ripped from the very robe Jerry wore in the Garden of Gethsemane. It will show you the way. Yay-yuh! And be healed of that pain in your side.
- The Pontius Pilate GPS – I gave you direction but you didn’t listen. I wash my hands of this whole trip!
And, of course:
- The United Methodist GPS – Turn to page 789 of the Discipline, Section XXXIV, Paragraph 1022. We must form a sub-committee of an ad hoc committee to meet with the Finance Committee for approval by the Administrative Board. We will delay discussion for three months, and then elect delegates to vote on final directions.
More than anything, I want to follow the road God has for me. I pray to carefully navigate the curves, bumps, detours, U-turns, and confusing directions. My Global Positioning System cannot help me.
But I have a plan. I will trust another GPS – God’s Protection Service, best defined by a song I learned as a child at Jones Chapel United Methodist Church in Madras, Ga. –
My Lord knows the way through the wilderness,
All I have to do is follow.
© Cathy Lee Phillips, 2012
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