Beyond the banter: A man and his map




I like to think I know the way to somewhere. Even when I don’t know, I like to pretend that I do. And dare I admit that I’m reluctant to take advice on directions?There is a solution to this quandary. A map!

Wherever I go on holiday I feel the need to have a map. I think it’s to do with being secure, getting my bearings, establishing where I am. Perhaps it’s an ancient call from the hunter-protector within, to ensure that the way ahead avoids points of potential ambush while passing through places of peaceful refuge. I have a whole box full of maps from a lifetime of going places.

Maps are great! They can help you identify remote beaches, rugged coastlines and off-shore islands. Maps are really useful for working out the quickest route to anywhere from somewhere. You can trace the meanderings of rivers, streams and footpaths. You can pinpoint post offices and other timeless features. Most importantly, you can find your way when you are lost.

These days, many of us make use of digital maps and Satnav. But as clever as these things are to get you from A to B, a man with a massive concertina of a physical map in his hand is clearly an explorer, a pioneer, a master of all his eye can see.

Until, of course, it’s foggy. Then, it’s a different story. Suddenly there’s an insecurity, an inability to intuitively know the way; a reluctance to bluff or speculate; a lostness; a longing perhaps for home and safety. A torch might be helpful but we didn’t think to bring that, and anyway, it’s not that much use in fog because there’s too much reflection. What we need at that moment is not a map or a torch, but a compass, to enable us to press on in the right direction.

It’s a relief when the curtain of fog is raised and the sun pierces through. Everything is clearly visible. We know exactly where we are again and we can see where we’re going. No more need to guess or pretend everything’s okay. In the aftermath it’s a small story to tell in the midst of a bigger story of life’s adventure.

For me, God’s word works a bit like a compass, helping me to find my way back home through the fog. Psalm 119:105 in The Message says: By your words I can see where I’m going. They throw a beam of light on my dark path.

Main photo credit: Abillion Tefccu via Unsplash

Bob Fraser

Bob Fraser is a singer-songwriter, men’s group leader and Regional Director for CVM aiming to open up conversations about life and faith.

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