Previous Challenge Entry (Level 1 – Beginner)
Topic: Oops (01/14/10)
TITLE: Oops in Portland
By Charlene Anderson
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I’ve always prided myself in being a good driver. I learned to drive in San Francisco with busy, crowded and narrow roads and freeways. I spent most of my working years commuting in large cities like San Jose and Sacramento, California. I’ve had only two tickets in my 40+ years driving and never worried about any driving conditions except ice.
Then I headed to Portland, Oregon. “Bring it on. Cities don’t scare me.” I said to myself. “I’ve driven in much bigger ones and I have my GPS to give me directions.” With gas in the tank and the GPS programmed I headed into the maze called Portland.
“Continue 300 feet then turn right.” The voice on the GPS said. “OK, that’s simple” so I turned right. Suddenly the pleasant little voice says politely but directly “Recalculating”. “What, I turned like you told me, what happened?” Then the voice gives me directions around the block. I proceeded obediently until I came back to where I was before the turn off. Oops! I see. I turned too fast, on the street before the correct turn. OK, I’ll just have to listen more carefully the next time. “In 300 feet turn left.” “What? I can’t, I’m not in the right lane.” So I continue past the turn off and the VOICE says, “Recalculating” Oops! So around and around I went, back to the right turn off.
Everything goes well for a while but somehow it feels like the wrong way. I should be heading towards the Colombia River but I seem to be going away from it. The VOICE hasn’t spoken in a while so I was getting nervous. That’s when I decided to take the control back from my sophisticated technology and trust myself. Oops! Big mistake! “Oh, there’s China Town, again. Didn’t I pass it a while ago? I’ve seen that street before. How did I get back here?” Now I’m lost, very frustrated and my ego is badly deflated.
.Once again I start following my GPS. Every time I make a turn I would cringe and wait for the VOICE to say “Recalculating” then breathe a sigh of relief in the silence." I’m making steady progress when the unthinkable happens. Wrong turn, oops! One way street, oops! Going wrong way, oops! Cop ahead, big oops!
As soon as I realized I had turned onto a one way street the wrong way, I headed to the curb. Then I saw the cop heading towards me. He stopped, got out of his car and before he could say a word I started talking. “I’m sorry, I don’t know my way around here; never driven in Portland before…...” He waited patiently as I continued to babble then said. “You have to back out.” I did as he directed and continued on my way, very thankful that he didn’t give me a ticket.
Now, isn’t that how we are with God sometimes? Did I pray before heading into Portland with all the confusing one way streets? Did I pray when I got lost? No, to both questions! I don’t think I’m alone in this behavior. A lot of us start out in pride in our own abilities, thinking we don’t need help. Then we continue using worldly wisdom and depending on our own strength. It’s only when we get lost or do something wrong that we seek God’s help when we should have in the beginning.
Oops Lord! May I never forget to include you in all I do.
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