What’s the next turn?

Often, we have a clear picture of where we want to be. We can see it, we look forward to it. But at the moment, we can’t see how to get from here to there.

Recently, Nancy and I wanted to get to my sister’s house. We’ve been going there for a decade. We’ve sat in the dining room, opened presents in the living room, had our last family gathering before our dad died in the back yard.

We know the place we want to be.

arrow stencilBut we were sitting in Virgil’s parking lot in Rochester, Minnesota, a place we’d never been. And though we knew the general direction and we could see the place we wanted to go, we didn’t know the next turn. So I pushed a button on my phone and said, “directions to Chicago.” After a moment of calculation, we heard, “after 600 feet turn left.” And so we did.

The left turn wasn’t the whole journey. We didn’t turn left and say, “I thought I was going to be in Chicago! I quit.” There were many miles and many turns. But we didn’t need to do all of those miles and turns at that moment. We simply needed the next turn.

If you see the idea of thankfulness and want to get back there, but you are stuck, here’s the first turn. In 600 feet, thank one person for one thing. One smile, one serving, one kind word.

If you see the idea of restored relationship and you want to get there, but you are stuck, here’s the first turn. In 600 feet, say “I’m sorry”, with specificity and humility.

If you see the idea of rest and you want to get there, but you are working so hard, here’s the first turn. In 600 feet, go to Jesus, and he will give you rest.

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My new book, Saint John of the Mall, answers the question, “What if the old guy warming his hands at the mall is Saint John? And what could he teach us about Christmas?”

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