Whatever Way You Want!
“Something’s not right.” The knot in Steve’s right shoulder continued pretzeling up into the back of his neck. His left hand instinctively vice-gripped his screaming muscle. The pain continued unabated.
Anne’s left foot began tapping as it always did whenever Steve’s intensity boiled over. She twisted her purity ring around and around and squinted into the inky blackness.
“I’m sure I saw this road half an hour ago.” Streetlights had vanished miles before. The mesmerizing mesh of yellow dashes flashed by for the last time. The tarmac melted away. Singing tires groaned. Then pinging of gravel attacking the undercarriage of the vehicle confirmed his fears. “Check the map. Something’s wrong.”
“I thought you said you didn’t need a map!” Anne grabbed her left shin and tugged her foot up under her right knee. “I thought you said you knew the way.”
“I’ve never been this way in the dark before. Just check the map.”
“What good will it do to check the map if we don’t know where we are?”
Steve pulled his ’67 Corvette to the shoulder of the road. These stones were not going to be good for the new metallic blue paint. Or for those new chrome hub caps. “What’s the last place we went through?”
Anne’s right foot began to move up and down and she worked hard to press it into the floor mat. “I’m not sure. I’ve been listening to my music. I wasn’t watching.”
“What kind of navigator are you if you can’t watch where we’re going?”
“Are you admitting you’re lost?”
“Of course I’m not lost. I just don’t know where I am right now.”
“That’s what I’m really worried about.” Anne’s right hand twisted the pearl necklace she had carefully chosen for this special night. The milky balls closed like a noose around her fingers. She let silence do its work.
“Okay. I’m lost. But I’m sure this is the way.”
“Say something.” Steve released the grip on his shoulder, put the car into park and reached for the glove box. “Where’s that map?”
“Why is it so hard for you to think you might be lost?”
“I’m a guy, okay. I don’t do instructions and I don’t do maps.”
“Steve, do you love me?”
“Why do you think we’re out here tonight?”
“Steve, if you love me I really need you to know where you’re going not just for now but for ever.”
“Annie, don’t get started on me now. Not tonight. I’m sure that restaurant isn’t far away.”
“Steve, turn off the car for me.” Anne waited as lights were extinguished and the engine finished its last vibration. “Let’s get out and walk the rest of the way.”
“Are you crazy? We don’t even know where we are. I can’t even see my hand. There’s no way we’ll find our way anywhere.”
“What does it matter? Take whatever way you want.”
“How do you expect to get to the restaurant?”
“Steve, there was a time about five years ago when I really didn’t know where I was or where I was going.” Anne noticed her foot had stilled and that she’d released her pearl necklace. Her voice was steady and calm even though her heart threatened to beat its way out of her chest.
She reached for his hand in the darkness and found it. “Steve, I’m not a guy and I didn’t do maps or instructions either. Not from God, anyway. One day my lab partner flipped open his notebook and out fell this bookmark. It said “I am the way, the truth and the life, no one comes to the Father except through me.”
“Believe it or not, I’d never heard that before. I know you’ve grown up in the church all your life and you take this stuff for granted. My family never told me this stuff. I’ve learned these past few years that this Jesus stuff isn’t just a Sunday School lesson. It’s a real relationship with a real person. The first thing I had to do was to realize that I was lost. It was dark in my world. I couldn’t see where to go. I needed someone to show me the way. Steve, I don’t think we’re out here lost in the dark by accident.”
“Okay, Annie, I’m listening. Something tells me this night is going to be working out a little different than I planned.”
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