Over the years, I have learned to laugh at my deficiencies. Never having been officially diagnosed does not alter one ailment in the least, and those closest to me are alternately frustrated or affectionately tolerating of my condition. It has caused me endless embarrassing moments and self-condemnations; that is, my inability to overcome my natural inclinations of no inner geographical compass.
I am thankful that right and left and up and down are not a problem for me—a silver lining in the cloud of my directional ineptness. Not stopping for directions is not an option—the day God passed out sense of direction, I was noticeably absent—but sometimes, that even backfires:
“Turn north on Adventure Street, then west onto Escape Blvd.”
“Uh, is that right or left?” my usual response, often accompanied by a blank stare.
Then, I get ‘the look.’ You know, the look that says, “You’ve got to be kidding, and she’s not even a blonde!”
It is also dangerous to instruct me to go to just “follow the sun.” (I ended up in an entirely different state).
I marvel that I do not have a permanent outline of my handprint across my forehead as many times as I have face-palmed myself from getting lost.
I have tried everything. Self-hypnotism, maps (that have to be faced in the same direction I am facing), written-out directions (“to” AND “from”, as going backwards on “to” list is also confusing), a personal guide, memorization, and every other tool available. Some of them are as helpful as a band-aid, but none cure the problem.
My son-in-law has such an innate sense of direction, that he can go someplace one time only and ten years later remembers how to get there again! What a guy! I need consistent reinforcement over time to obtain a skill remotely familiar. Getting to my regular haunts (grocery store, library, church, home) are a cinch; however, don’t ask me if I am going north, south, east or west to get there.
As a child, spinning me, blindfolded, before “pinning the tale on the donkey”, actually sent me to an entirely different wall, my “tail” starkly alone. PALMFACE!
Now, in recent years, I have a GPS in my car, a wonderful luxury that usually can get me to the places I want to go; and the reconfiguring aspect of this item is indispensable, detours and road constructions being the rule more than the exception these days. However, they still have not invented one of these gadgets to implant in the human body. . .
(In the days of the Old West, I can picture myself on horseback, ripping pieces off my petticoat (made into double layers for this very purpose) to tie to trees, bushes or anchored tumbleweeds as landmarks to get from one destination to the next!)
Thankfully, building hallways and hospital corridors have signs, arrows, and/or colored walkway strips to assist those who, like me, need that extra reminder. Sometimes I have followed these to the letter, though, only to discover I am on the wrong floor or have turned the wrong way after getting on or off the elevator! PALMFACE!
Then, there are the challenges of large shopping malls. I have been known to search for one of their four “anchor” stores for more than an hour, convinced that the one I want is “just around a corner!”—and that’s after I have studiously perused the “Mall Information Directory”! PALMFACE!
SO, I have become an expert at following the people I am with at the time, who seem to intuitively know where they are going. Of course, this only works if they are unaware of my problem—the temptation to intentionally mislead me in an off direction too tempting to ignore for pranksters.
Lately, I have begun to compare my deficiency to the spiritual realm. Do people follow me because I know the way and they have no spiritual compass to lead them to God? Do they only know “right” is good, “left” is bad, but have no sense of True North (the Bible, God’s creation, church, witnesses) to get them to the ultimate destination of heaven? Do they blindly travel behind equally lost friends, turning down one dead-end street to another, searching for the meaning of life, ignoring God’s existence?
Someday, in the not too distant future, will those same individuals stand before Him, palmfacing as if to say,
“How could I have missed Him—it is so obvious now!”
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