A couple days ago, I shared the “trust the map” lesson I learned from the back of an ATV. There’s more to the story…
My dad is “thorough,” and that’s probably an understatement. It’s a good quality, one I’m glad I got. It means I’m usually prepared and organized, that I’ve thought through options and am ready to face much of what comes. (Okay, so it also means I’ve had control issues. As I often tell groups of women when I’m speaking and teaching, “I’m a recovering control freak.” I’m working on it, okay?!)
Back to my dad. He did all the planning for our trip. I like to plan trips, too, but to be honest, I had a lot of things going and didn’t have the time or energy. Plus, I think he enjoys the preparation process. Preparation also means anticipation, and this is a trip he was looking forward to…as was I! He had everything we needed, at least, the important stuff we wouldn’t be able to easily access once we were on the trip. He had maps, tools, equipment, and so on. And it was a good thing, because we ended up needing equipment he brought for a “back up plan” when trails closed and we needed to load the ATV into the back of the truck to drive a couple hours to get the trailer. The trails closed because of the storm system that camped over the area, washing away soil, toppling trees, and flooding trails. And yes, that was the day we traveled the most miles in the most remote areas on the ATV. That’s the day I had to trust the map.
But the map wasn’t really my job. At least, I didn’t know it was job. The first two days we rode, my dad tucked the map ahead of him, secured with a bungee strap, positioned so he could compare it to the GPS when needed. Each night, he’d go through his leather pouch of maps and other paperwork, reorganizing what we’d need for the next day. The day of the storm, he had me secure the map in a zippered, clear bag, so it wouldn’t get wet, and when I handed it back to him, he said I’d have to be the navigator, because he wouldn’t be able to see the details of the map through the rain as gathered on the map.
Now, I grew up reading maps. I like maps. But I’m used to road maps, not trail maps. Sure, there are similarities. North is always north, and blue indicates water, but I didn’t know the scale. I didn’t know what the different patterns of line meant. I didn’t know what was a road for vehicles only, what could be shared with ATVs, what were ATV-only trails, and so on. Good thing my dad knew where he was going. Only he didn’t.
Sure, he had a good idea. His instincts were definitely better than mine, but I couldn’t just sit back and passively enjoy the ride. He trusted me to know where we were on the map, how it matched with the GPS, and choose an option when one came available. I finally got familiar with the style of the map, but then we got “short cut” directions from a local when we stopped for a quick break. Not long after that, we got too far to use our original map for reference and used another one, which was a completely different style and scale with a lot less details. With pressure to keep moving, we had to constantly make adjustments.
As prepared as I usually one, I’ll admit I wasn’t prepared that day. I didn’t start off familiar with our route or the maps, but I was definitely familiar with them by the end of the day. When my dad handed the map to me and told me it was my job that day, I knew I wasn’t prepared. It was a good reminder that I don’t always know when I’m going to be handed a responsibility, and I need to be ready to take it and handle it well. I can be better prepared by being aware and learning along the way.
God will do the preparing, but I have to be willing and ready.