Thought for the Day from Rev. Helen Norris
“Do not let your hearts be troubled. Believe in God, believe also in me. 2In my Father’s house there are many dwelling places. If it were not so, would I have told you that I go to prepare a place for you? 3And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come again and will take you to myself, so that where I am, there you may be also. 4And you know the way to the place where I am going.” 5Thomas said to him, “Lord, we do not know where you are going. How can we know the way?” 6Jesus said to him, “I am the way, and the truth, and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me. (John 14: 1-6).
Our normal walks these days vary little – Mill Hill to Coopers Road to Hemingstone Hall and back via the church; Mill Hill to Coopers Road to Green Hill; up the Drift to the paths behind the house. On Sunday afternoon, though, we decided to go for a longer walk than usual. We set out for Gosbeck Wood, via Coopers Road, of course. There were more people out than in recent weeks and it was lovely to share a few words at a distance.
The idea had been to cut through the woods, down a footpath to Stone Street and back to Coddenham. The trouble started in the middle of the wood. Which path to take? I’d checked the map beforehand and set off confidently. Yes, a right turn here and a left fork there. Somewhere though, either I’d misremembered, or the footpaths had changed – deliberately I was sure, just to confuse me!
We doubled back and tried to locate ourselves on Google maps on my phone to no avail, even though I had excellent coverage! All it would tell me was that it was “re – routing”! Finally, the edge of the woods came in sight, but beyond were fields and fields of rape with no sign of a way through. We set off in one direction only to find that we were nearly back in Gosbeck again and so retraced our steps. After skirting several enormous (well it felt like it to my feet!) fields, a gap in the hedge appeared and we were out on to Stone Street!
I checked my Fit Bit when we got back to the house – we’d walked close on 10 kilometres! I’m still recovering a day later.
It happens to us all more times than we’d care to admit – getting lost that is. Whether we are on foot or in the car. In the middle of a town or in the countryside, it is so easy to miss the right way, even with a map.
That’s true of life too, isn’t it?
- So often we come to a cross – roads in life and we turn left when we should have turned right – only to realise our mistake sometime later when the results of our mistake become visible, when we’ve hurt someone or ourselves and, so often guilt sets in.
- Sometimes we ignore the signs all round us and keep persisting on a course of action that leads us to a dead end. A fruitless venture that can pull us down as we wonder why we’d been so foolish.
- Then there is the time that we ignore the warning signs, the “No Entry” signs, the “don’t do this” signs and advice and plough on regardless, suffering later when our actions catch up with us.
- And sometimes, we simply find ourselves anchorless, or in a strange place or situation and realise that we are figuratively lost. We don’t know and can’t find the right way.
It’s easy in any of those instances, to take advice or instructions – how many of us have stopped the car or a passer – by and asked for directions, or help, only to be told turn right, then left, then ……., such that you’re lost again after the first set of traffic lights. It’s the same if we ask someone for advice about what we should do or how to get our lives back on track. Everyone gives us a different opinion on what we should do, so many instructions our heads reel.
I always remember the time years ago, when I must have looked very confused having asked for instructions to a motorway junction in France which was several miles away. The man whom I had asked said “I’ll drive that way and you can follow me. It’ll be easier for you if I do that”. And that’s what he did, tooting and waving as he drove away when we reached our destination. And it was……so much easier.
And that’s just what Jesus says to his disciples in the passage at the start of this. “I am the way, the truth and the life” – he doesn’t instruct us what to do, doesn’t bombard us with advice, he simply leads the way and just asks that we follow him – in his footsteps, so that we can live the lives that bring out the best in us, fulfil us, enable us to use our gifts and develop good relationships with our fellow men and women. We don’t have to remember detailed instructions or sort out competing pieces of advice. We simply have to follow. And he promises that, in due time, he will come and lead us home.