Dealing With Roadblocks

Do you know where you’re going? Most of us have a destination in mind when we start on a journey. If the route isn’t entirely clear we may check Google Maps or program our GPS because we like the security of knowing how we’ll get there. What do we do once we’re under way and an unexpected roadblock crops up? On well-travelled roads our GPS may suggest an alternate route, but that’s not always an option.

.

This summer, many miles from a public road, we worked our way towards our northern cabin. We always travel well prepared with chainsaw and shovel for such things as fallen trees and mud holes. But around a curve we encountered an obstacle that left us stymied.

.

Now what? In this remote location there was no one to offer assistance. Our best friend was our Dodge 4×4 dually. We backtracked and came at our cabin from a different direction, an eight kilometer adventure.

.

We found a solution, but if, as I’m sure you’ve caught on, this were an allegory for writing, and the insurmountable obstruction happened in the middle of your story, how would you deal with it?

.

When your characters suddenly carry you to an unexpected dead end do you abandon the story, start over again, or do you use a little ingenuity and take the opportunity to embark on an adventure?

.

Be Still

Underlying the clamour of everyday living with its activities and commitments there is a persistent voice that murmurs, “Be still and know that I am God.”* There is no need to remind me of Who He is — I know Him well — but the “be still” part is easy to overlook. Then along comes vacation time and we retreat to our family’s tiny and very rustic cabin in the wilderness.

I could say that we are following another of His proddings to “Come with me by yourselves to a quiet place and rest a while,”** but we don’t do a lot of physical resting there. For over thirty years the 240 sq. ft. plywood-clad building has been a work in progress. Improvement projects are tackled every summer. A couple years ago we began an expansion, doubling its size to 480 sq. ft. This summer’s main undertaking was the addition of reclaimed vinyl siding.

It’s hard to explain how time spent somewhere in the back of beyond with no electricity, no running water, and no indoor privy can be desired over the comfort and convenience of a well-equipped city home. But nothing comes close to the refreshment of mind and spirit that we experience in the remote lakeside setting. As a child I caught my first fish there, as did my children and many of my grandchildren. The ashes of my father are buried there. It is a place of memories. It is a place of respite. It is a place where our souls truly can “be still”.

 

 

*   Psalm 46:10

** Mark 6:31