There were two rebellious mid twenties men. Just out of the military and eager to break out of their mediocre lives and go reaching for meaning, adventures. The usual. It’s in a previous story of the ‘Motorcycle Pilgrimage’ series one through six at the website: Gatorsgracenotes.com
Just two reliable, strong, determined young men traveling across this wondrous country they had just finished defending against all enemies, foreign and domestic. Norm did not know that the domestic enemies would be soon in control. Some of us with any classical education and moral knowledge are aware of our human condition. We follow our wicked hearts and believe they are right and true. Same old game of ‘new’ ideology. Interesting how the core of that word translates really well from the Russian word; Idiot.
The boys had to find a way to San Francisco and in those days there was no Alexa, Map quest or cell phones. Paper maps, usually free in friendly gas stations were the guides. They had heard of Route 66 and that was the path they traveled. The maps helped a great deal as they got sidetracked now and then with ‘short cuts’ that weren’t.
This is all well and good and not the real subject of this column. It’s just a lead in to the real focus of Norm’s mind. Of what use is a map, a good one? How does it help us attain a destination or better yet, an achievement at the edge of the map? Memory savants can memorize the entire map in a second or two but that isn’t the point. Arrival, fulfillment, are these destinations? Of course not on the map as promised by our minds.
Their destination was freedom, fellowship, worth and enjoyment of life itself. The map said San Francisco. “If you’re going to San Francisco, be sure to wear some flowers in your hair” went the song sung by Scott MacKenzie. It was number ten on Billboard and everyone knew it and the sentiment. Destination for the true believers of freedom. 1967, the summer of love. It wasn’t but that’s not the subject of this column either. Maps can be volumes in a book too.
If we have a really good book, the best book about anybody. An autobiography written by a new friend Would we know them? Would Norm know about Julie? Facts certainly but knowing someone is only done with intimate relationship. Talking, looking, asking and conversations. The heart of the person that is in print is not felt by us. Nearness, face to face and honesty are keys to knowing a wife, a friend and the object of a map of some kind. A complex map, a map drawn by the lover of our souls.
Being a scholar of scripture can be wonderful but it only goes as far as the map and imaginations can go.
Asking brilliant questions and getting answers from other seekers of Jesus. His wonders, His appearances and guidance are spoken of and the most brilliant teachers are eagerly embraced and listened to. It’s still not enough.
But..when you have studied this map and followed it to the end a decision must occur. Listen and focus on Him and Him alone. Pray for His presence in your heart. Do not invent pious sounding prayers and expound on your extensive knowledge to script your thoughts. Embrace Him with all your heart and just be quiet without expectations or images. Pray for His spirit to be seen by you as it has been there within you when you have asked for it.
Open up your heart and receive, the beauty and love that you believe. This is the promise of Faith and it is the very gift of God. He will put the robe upon your back and ring upon your finger. He is the lover of your soul, created at the beginning of time. Yours and yours alone for such a time as this. You are embraced. Look up the prodigal son, It’s me, it’s you. We are all in that parable and story. We don’t deserve what we are offered by Jesus. We might have the problem that the older son has. That’s another column.
The navigator has indeed been correct and the map is good and true. The Helmsman has followed the stars, compass and the sextant and the destination comes into view. Just over the horizon is landfall and joy breaks forth within. Now reality firms up and studying is over, conversation and excitement now occurs that’s right and true.
The harbor pilot comes aboard and it’s time to put aside the maps and charts. Prayer becomes intimate conversation and when it’s time, then comes the liberty boat to take you across the bar and home. It’s pretty good. Jack Gator