Your word is a lamp to my feet and a light for my path. Psalm 119:105 (NIV)
While in Asheville, I was assigned the role of navigator. Normally, I do very well with a map and figuring out where we are, where we need to be and how to get there. In addition, I usually have good instincts about direction. On the map, Asheville is laid out in a compact circle with an Interstate ringing it and another Interstate and the Blue Ridge Parkway intersecting that circle. But, for some reason, I have lost my sense of direction and keep getting turned around. I decide we should go right, when in fact we should go left or vice versa. At one point, I realized that I had to turn the map upside down to make it work. I am sure Vicki was disconcerted to see her navigator holding the map upside down! Vicki has had to make many u-turns, and we have both been frustrated a lot. At one point, there was cursing and arguing and if we had been married, we would probably have been filing for divorce! Finally, between becoming familiar with the terrain and listening to Vicki’s GPS on her I-Phone, I started to get the hang of it. We did a lot of traveling today from the southwest and the Farmer’s Market to the west and the Post Office (where I mailed some dirty clothes home to make room for souvenirs!) to the east and the Craftsman’s Guild and the Folk Art Center and back to the center part of town to shop and eat dinner. In the midst of it, Vicki finished picking out her tile for her bathrooms. I enjoyed seeing more of the city particularly the downtown. It is a bustling area full of shops featuring arts and crafts, ethnic restaurants, public art, street performers, restored historic buildings and parks. The city was full of people, walking their dogs, strolling with friends, playing chess, eating, shopping and having a good time. Downtown was alive! I couldn’t help but compare Asheville’s downtown to my hometown’s downtown. Because I am on a downtown revitalization committee, I have heard a lot of theories about what we need to do to make our downtown vibrant. More public art, more music, more parking, better transportation connectors, more retail, more two way streets, more residential living, more, more, more. What I learned today in Asheville is that the city is a success despite horrendous, expensive parking and poorly designed streets with one way pairs that make it hard to get around. I’m not sure that the theories about downtown revitalization make sense compared to what I saw in Asheville. Thinking about my navigation problems and pondering what has made Asheville such a remarkable place reminded me that I need to be careful on what I base my decisions about my life’s journey. The only map or lessons I can depend upon is found in the Bible, God’s instruction for which way I am to go. That’s what I need to keep my eyes on.