Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Mapmaker

Once upon a time, there was a Mapmaker. He had a little shop that sat way up high on a hill with an incredible view.

The Mapmaker knew where every single path, anyone could take, led. He carefully marked all of his maps with the straight way to any destination. If followed, it would guarantee a person would experience the most enjoyable things along the way, no matter how difficult the journey.

And to top it off, he offered a guide, for free, to escort the travelers.

Each map not only showed the straight path, but also roads which appeared shorter and offered more fun.  They ended up being dangerous and not enjoyable routes. The Mapmaker faithfully put up warning signs on these particular routes. Usually, a person who took these paths would wind up at the end of their journey very battered and bruised.

There was one particular day the Mapmaker was busy cleaning up around his shop when the bell attached to his front door rang. Someone is here! He was quick to dust himself off and straighten his shirt as he approached the front of the store with eagerness. The Mapmaker loved to help people plan out their trips.

“Hello,” he said cheerfully to the young couple looking through some of his maps. They gave him a halfhearted response. “Is there something I can help you with?” The question hung in the air, ignored by the two, who discovered a map for the particular adventure they wanted to take.

With excitement, their fingers traced the marked routes leading to the place they had chosen. The Mapmaker stood nearby with a smile spread across his face. The two talked excitedly between each other about all the places to stop and check out along the way.

Watching the couple’s excitement delighted the Mapmaker even though they paid no attention to him. With care, they studied the path and seemed to stick to the perfect way to go.

The Mapmakers’ brow furrowed when all of the sudden everything changed. The couple started to argue over which path they would take on their journey. And it was over the routes he would advise them NOT to take. He tried to interrupt, but the couple continued to ignore him.

The man pointed out if they went the way he wanted to go, they would be able to see the view from the top of the mountain. He also pointed out, how often they could stop and hike. He added many other things to his argument to convince the woman.

The Mapmaker shook his head. The man had ignored every warning on the map about that route. That path was a particularly dangerous one. It had many avalanches and the roads would get blocked by falling boulders. Sudden snowstorms caused many people to be stranded if they weren’t fortunate enough to turn around in time. It was very rare anyone made it to the end of that path in safety.

The woman pointed out if they went her way, they would be able to enjoy the view of the river and that they could swim and fish.

The Mapmaker shook his head again. She too ignored his warnings. Floods were known to wash out the path and the rough current of the river made it hard to swim. The fish were very few due to the chemicals from a factory on the bank of the river.

But the Mapmaker was unable to share any of this information since the couple continued to argue back and forth and ignore the warnings he had written. Many, many times he tried to interject, but to no avail.

If they would just take a moment to listen or study the map better, they would see the best way to go, and they could both be happy. They would see the straight path did indeed have the scenery of the mountains with plenty of hiking and the view of a river without a rough current and plenty of fish to catch in uncontaminated waters.

With deep sadness, he and his guide stood in silence near the couple as they argued, waiting to be of assistance. Their voices grew louder and louder. Each one determined to make their point heard, without any intention to listen to the others side.

If only they would ask him. HE was the Mapmaker. He knew the way.

The couple purchased two maps and two of every type of equipment needed. When they left, they went separate ways. The Mapmaker motioned for the guide to follow.

The Mapmaker sighed. Although they never conferred with him at all, ultimately, it would be his fault when they faced their trials.

Soon the bell rang over the front door again. The Mapmaker prepared himself with eagerness to talk and help another customer plan their trip.

“Hello,” he called in a cheery voice to the young couple that entered.

“Hello,” the woman replied. “We’ve heard all about you. We are looking for a map to go on a particular journey.”

The perfect map was picked for the couple and then laid out before them. They spent the next hour or so discussing the right direction to go. The Mapmaker showed them the perfect path to their destination. It was a hard one, but they would discover great rewards at the end.

The man pointed to the other shorter, wider paths and listened as the Mapmaker informed him of all of the dangers and things that would hinder him getting to his goal.

Both paid close attention, believing and knowing since this was the Mapmaker, they should listen carefully to get the best out of their adventure.

After a cup of coffee and a snack, the two left the shop carrying out all the equipment needed, a map, and a guide sent from the Mapmaker. It was a joy to hear the laughter and excitement in their voices as they went off together on their journey.

The Mapmaker smiled knowing how much they would enjoy their trip. He’d make a point to be there at the end of it to commend them on how well they had done.

He still had hopes for the other couple too. His door was always open in case they decided to turn around and ask Him, the Mapmaker for help.

God knows where all of our paths lead. He is our Mapmaker.

Psalm 139: 1-24

Philippians 4: 6-9

Colossians 3: 12-17

Psalm 62:8

2 comments:

Connie Jo said...

I fear we are the couple that buys the map, goes to the Mapmakers house and yet doesn't even pay attention... just continues to make my own choices in spite of what is the better path. Wonderful story. Wonderful reminder that God's way is straight and narrow and that there are other paths we can follow if WE so choose.

I love that you take the time to put your thoughts on paper (the world wide web!)

Linda Reinhardt said...

And I love what you put on paper my friend.