I went to the Reds/Indians game over the fourth of July weekend with my girlfriend. My girlfriend is from Cleveland and has always been an Indians fan so when the game ended with the score of 8-2 in favor of the Indians, I thought that my night had gotten even better. We watched the post-game fireworks show and then headed out on our long journey back to my house in McArthur – a two and a half hour trip. I have only been to Cincinnati a few times, so I am not very familiar with the proper navigation to get back on the highway that will get me back home quickly. All we had to rely on was her gps and other Ohio license plates that were on the road ahead of us. I’m not sure if any of you guys have ever tried to drive in unfamiliar territory with a woman who wants to get somewhere, but it can be an unpleasant situation if you don’t get her to where she wants to go and quickly. For her the destination was Steak-N-Shake. Trying to rely on the gps to get on the right road and Google Maps for the nearest Steak-N-Shake, we ended up going several miles off the correct route and deeper into unfamiliar territory. The great night was turning into a nightmare rather quickly for both of us.
After spending a while on the wrong route we decided that Steak-N-Shake was out of the question. We agreed that by the time we arrived at the next one, we wouldn’t be hungry enough to eat. Instead we would be ready to lay our heads on a pillow and go to sleep. It was already late and we still had a long ride ahead of us. We were discouraged and hungry, but we were headed home. I decided that the gps was going to take me home regardless of whether or not I knew the route so I figured that I would just follow it home and quite trying to get back to a road I was more familiar with. I took the first exit I saw so I could grab a somewhere to go and get back home on the alternate route that had been given to us. Even though a decision had been made on which way we would get back home, I couldn’t help but wish I were in the passenger seat. It’s never fun to get lost, especially if getting lost is affecting the person in your passenger seat too. Both of us were hungry and irritated at the way the night was turning out to be. Even though we wanted Steak-N-Shake, we gave up on food. We just wanted to get back.
Shortly after I had taken the exit, in the midst of our discussion about dropping the idea of food, my girlfriend started laughing. I wasn’t sure what she was laughing about, but I wasn’t in the mood to laugh. I just wanted to get home. I looked up and what did I see directly ahead? A sign for Steak-N-Shake. It wasn’t the same Steak-N-Shake we had planned to drive to, but it was a Steak-N-Shake nonetheless. We were both instantly revived from our bad moods. We still had a more than two hour trip ahead of us, but we had just arrived at one of our destinations, one we had thought we were going to miss. It was very amazing to me that we would arrive at a Steak-N-Shake after I had intentionally ignored a few of the turns the gps told me to take and I finally decided to take it’s advice. When I did, I reached my destination.
While this story is amusing to me, and may be to the readers of this blog, it also gives a very real representation of what many of us experience every day in our own personal walk in life. Many of us start with a strategic plan to reach a specific destination in life. With time these plans change for most of us. None of us can control what will happen in our lives from one day to the next. Some of us even give up and decide that we may never reach the place in life that we wanted to go. I found out over the weekend that there is still hope even when you are lost. You may not even know the way, but you can still find your destination. We had given up on Google. We gave up on the gps. All we had was a general idea on how to get home. What we found was even better. We found the only thing that either of us really wanted that night. It wasn’t the food. It was a working plan. We all have hope. Keep your head up as you walk through this life. It doesn’t matter how lost you may think you are in life, your accidental arrival could come any minute. You might be one exit away from reaching it. Don’t give up. Keep going. You might not be lost at all.