The Road Trip
Recently my wife went on a trip to Canada to visit her family. She drove from Logan, Utah to Prince Albert, Saskatchewan (Central, SK); to Red Deer (above Calgary), Alberta; to Kalowna, British Columbia (South East B.C.); to Vancouver Island on the East coast of B.C; to Olympia, Washington, then a stop in Boise, Idaho to spend the last night with my brother, and finally back to Logan, Utah. The trip was more than 3200 miles and took her three weeks. To plan for the trip we got on Google maps and plotted her course and I showed her how to use the GPS on her iPhone. She also had a stand-alone GPS system and she had even purchased an Atlas so she could use the physical maps as she went. We thought we had planned every detail so she would not have any problems getting to each of her destinations, or so we thought.
As soon as she crossed the border into Canada, her iPhone stopped working; not because of the carrier but because her iPhone was an older model and the type of phone she had did not work in Canada. She no longer had access to the technology she needed to get her from one place to the next – her GPS. When she tried to use the stand alone GPS, the maps were out of date and did not have the correct maps for Canada. She only had the Atlas to help her find her way and those maps did not have the detail she needed when she got into the towns to find her way to her family’s homes. Fortunately, she did know her way around Prince Albert her first destination because she grew up there and her family still lived on the family farm that she was raised on so all she needed to do was get to Prince Albert and she was fine.
Though inconvenient the loss of her iPhone was as big of a problem as I thought. When she got to her first stop she was able to call her family at then next stop and get directions and she was able to call me each day and let me know how the trip was going. Since cells phones are only about 30 years old and we both are older than that we know what it is like to travel without one. It was inconvenient but not impossible.
On her second leg of the trip from Prince Albert to Red Deer in Alberta, she ran into the next problem – no road signs. Even though she had the names of the streets she was supposed to turn on, the streets were not marked and she ended up on a three-hour side tour of Alberta before she found her way to Red Deer. The side tour ended up being quite the adventure because a very large Moose (as she described it) ran across the road in front of her car and then she came across a flock of Snow Canadian Geese that she thought was absolutely beautiful.
While there were several adjustments that needed to be made because of the technical difficulties she managed to make it to each destination and have a wonderful time visiting family and friends and eventually made it back home safely. It was a trip she will always remember.
This is not the first time we have experienced problems with GPS technology. A few years ago I went on a trip to Chicago for some training for work and my wife went with me. One day while I was in meetings she decided to go to the Chicago Museum of Science and Industry. I programed the GPS with the address to the museum which was on Lake Shore Drive. She took off and I went to my meeting. About two hours later she called me and asked how long it was supposed to take to get to the museum. I said about 45 minutes. When she told me she was still not there I asked what the last sign was that she passed. She told me Des Moines, Iowa; she was headed back to Salt Lake City! I told her to click on the return to start button and head back to the hotel. When she got back I looked at the GPS and even though I thought I had put in Lake Shore Drive, Chicago; it had defaulted to Lake Shore Drive, Utah. Needless to say I still have a distrust of GPSs and their accuracy.
We can compare my wife’s road trip to our time here in mortality. There is a purpose for our birth here at this time. We did not just pop into existence when we were born and we will not cease to exist after we die. We lived before this life as spirit children of our Heavenly Father and he provided a plan whereby we could come here and gain physical bodies, develop faith in him and His Son, Jesus Christ; learn to keep the commandments he gave us; and receive the ordinances that would enable us to return to his presence and live with him eternally. Our lives do not end at death, they will go on but the type of life we have there will depend on the roads we travel and if we follow the proper route that will get us to the final destination – back to Heavenly Father’s presence.
Many people have no idea what their destination is, they are just driving along taking whatever road they think looks interesting. Others may know the destination but have no idea which road to take; they have no functioning GPS, their GPS does not have the correct maps, their Atlas does not have the detail they need, or there are no road signs to follow. Others may think that they are on the right road and are listening to the GPS directions but do not realize they are in reality headed to the wrong “Lake Shore Drive”, they get lost on a three-hour diversion because they think they know the directions and don’t listen to the GPS, or they are not following the maps or the directions that they were given.
All roads do not lead to Heaven and the Savior has said that the way is straight and narrow. If we do not follow the correct route we may find that when we arrive at our final destination that it was not where they wanted to go. Michael Goodman speaking to the students of BYU said: “We are here on earth to learn what we need to learn so that we can become what we are intended to become and return to the presence of our loving Heavenly Father and Mother for eternity". (“Become a Seeker: They Way, the Truth, and the Life”) In other words we need to know what roads will take us on our road trip that will lead us back to that destination to live with Heavenly Father and we must avoid the side roads that will only lead us away from that destination.
The Lord has not sent us here without the proper directions to get us back home to him. He has given us a variety of GPS instruments, maps, and other things to help us along the way. They come to us through the scriptures, living prophets, Apostles, and other church leaders, our family, friends. He has provided commandments as road signs to follow to keep us safe and provided us the Holy Ghost to help us stay on the right road or to warn us if we make the wrong turn. He has provided all of the ordinances that will qualify us to return and live with him.
Eventually like my wife we will all return home from our road trip. If we use the “technology” that the Lord has provides us we will arrive at the proper destination safely.
Your comments and questions are welcome.