Wednesday, November 12, 2014


I had to make a recent trip for work to Washington D.C.. As I definitely do not know my way through the twists and turns inside the beltway, I decided to purchase a GPS device for my car to act as my co-pilot. On the way into the city, the device worked great. It told me how far I had to go before my next turn, what lane I needed to be in, and every street name along the way so that I could have complete confidence I was where I was supposed to be. Before I left on my trip, I had also printed out directions and looked these over to familiarize myself with where I would be going. However, when the route mapped out by the GPS unit pretty much lined up with my hardcopy, it completely took all of the pressure off getting to my destination. In fact, my GPS worked so well that it didn't take me long to just mindlessly rely on it to direct me. That blind reliance turned out to bite me later on.

When I had completed my work in D.C. and got back to my car, I turned on the GPS unit and keyed in my home address. I didn't bother to look at my printed directions to cross-check my route. I figured that I would basically retrace my inbound route on my way out of the city. The GPS unit, however, had other things in mind. I went through several long tunnels where the satellite signal was temporarily lost and I didn't know which of several tunnel exits to take. I looked at the frozen screen on the unit and it gave me the electronic equivalent of a "I-dunno" shrug. It was also about 6:00 p.m. and rush hour was in full swing. Too often I entered onto a stretch of road on the right side and had to cut across three or four lanes packed with traffic to get to my left-side exit on the other side of the road. However, without the GPS to tell me to get over, I could only helplessly scramble and inefficiently work my way to where I figured I needed to be.

Every now and then life pulls our safety and security mechanisms out from under us and we go from confident and peace-filled to lost and anxious. Whether it is our health or the health of a loved one, the loss of a job, or personal conflict, it is amazing how quickly our lives can be affected and the sudden depths of our torment. What is even more amazing is how quickly things come back into equilibrium once we exit the tunnel and the satellite signal is found once more.