“Are we there yet?” asked Gina, the young girl sitting next to me.
“May I see the map so I can see how far along we are?” I politely asked.
My questions were met with the same knowing glance and comforting words. “ We are on the right road and heading in the right direction.”
This was the strangest trip I had ever been on. There were no maps, no daily travel goals, no planned stopping points. My good friend, Stephanie, had invited me to come along on a mystery tour with her Aunt, Uncle and cousins. The way she described it, the trip sounded like fun. We’d all get in the car, drive to an unknown spot, enjoy ourselves and come back. We were promised adventure and personal growth.
This trip was weird. Road signs offered little information other than how fast we should travel. Occasional signs and arrows directed us to interesting places I’d love to visit. As we approached the turns to the compelling places of interest, I’d anticipate a left turn or right turn. Surely the chocolate factory was our destination ….. or was it the mall? I wondered if it had been a mistake to join Stephanie and her family on the mystery tour… with this unusual mystery driver.
“Stephanie, Gina, are you getting hungry?” I asked, holding out my bag of granola bars to her and the others. We all munched in silence offering smiles and warm eye contact.
It seemed that I was the only one who was distracted by the sites along the way. Was I the rebel who wanted to explore the side roads and countryside? The other people in the car seemed confident and relaxed. They seemed to trust our driver and they followed his lead with no questions. I wish I had that level of trust. I just couldn’t calm my jitters.
Without warning, we entered a tunnel. I hadn’t seen it coming and I startled at the sudden darkness. I wondered if the driver could see. I felt a hand touch mine and was wrapped in a deep comfort. It reminded me of how I felt when my dad held my hand in the South Dakota cave on a family vacation. Scary shadowy ghosts lurking along the eerie winding paths playing with the monstrous stalactites all vanished when dad took my hand. I must have been seven or eight. Years had passed, but I remembered the overwhelming sense of calm.
Now, in the tunnel, the touch of a fatherly hand calmed my racing pulse. “Thanks,” I said. In a minute, the tunnel exited to a wider road and a confusing intersection. Instinctively, I reached for a map in the pocket of the seatback. There were none.
“Which is the right way to go?” I asked.
Again, the driver answered, “We are on the right road and heading in the right direction. We’ll have enough time to get everything done. There’s nothing to worry about. Be strong, have courage and trust.” His eyes met mine. They were strangely familiar. His gaze pierced my soul. I felt a fiery glow.
“Is this the way?” I felt silly asking again. I didn’t think I needed to ask. It was just a habit.
“I’m sorry,” I said. Then I lamely added, “You’re the way.” It was as if someone poured those words onto my tongue. I repeated them. “You’re the way.” Again, I said, “You’re the way. I will not be anxious. You calm my soul.” I looked around at the others and not one was surprised at my spontaneous and unusual utterances. I felt a one-ness with them, sort of like when I read a book and personally know the author.
I sat back and closed my eyes. It was going to be OK.
Mystery tours aren’t that bad-- once you get to know the driver… once He touches you.
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