I was driving along with my GPS navigating me to visit a parishioner I had never seen at home before. And as I approached an intersection there were fire trucks and police cars and the fire police waving me off the road the GPS told me I was to take. So instead of going straight I took a left… Quite quickly the voice of my GPS announced “recalculating!”

I know it is my imagination but she (we use the female GPS voice) always sounds irritated with me at this change of plans.  And I seem to do it to her so often. Errands, construction, accidents and other detours make me deviate from her preferred routes. And so she does her “Recalculating!”

It occurred to me that so often in our life we have preferred ways we want to take to get to where we want to go. And we too have detours and accidents that make us deviate from that preferred way. In the lives of institutions and organization there are also impediments to getting directly to where we want to be. So the key for us is to recalculate and find another way to end up where we want to be, or recalculate a new destination if reaching the original one is not possible. Annoyance and anger may be a natural emotion but it is not very helpful. To look for other ways to achieve a goal or arrive safely at a destination is more likely to get us there than just anger and upset.

And as I write this I realize that God has provided me with a direction and destination. And I am the one who so often provides the need for detours and errands that takes me astray from the most direct path to where I need to go.  The scriptures are awash in stories of people who create all manner of detours and very long “short-cuts.” And God, like our GPS, patiently recalculates and tries, through inspiration and other people, to provide us with a way to get where we need to be – if we only pay attention. And like my reaction to my GPS – the “anger” is my creation and in my imagination not in God’s trying to bring us safely home.


About don

The Rev Don Hill is an Episcopal priest, rail fan and writer. He and his wife the Rev. Dr. Nancy Woodworth-Hill are currently Co-Pastors of St Paul's Episcopal Church, Jeffersonville IN, in the Diocese of Indianapolis. They also work as parish consultants in Appreciative Inquiry, strategic planning and spirituality development for parishes and vestries.
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