All Roads do Not Lead to Rome…or to Carol’s House.
My sister’s directions to her house seemed simple enough: Go east on 494 to Highway 52. Take 52 South to the big sign reading Douglas Trail Road. You can’t miss it. Go east on Douglas Trail until it comes to an end—that’ll be Highway 36. From there, we’re just a few miles down the road on your left.
I missed two clues that indicated this would be one long trip.
Clue #1 The map provided by the rental car agency.
One side of the map showed a detailed representation of every street, alley, and bike path within a one-mile radius. The other side was a map of entire world. The words “Douglas Trail Road” did not appear on this map.
Clue #2 was the mantra, “You can’t miss it.”
Sorry—I’m capable of missing six overturned semis that spilled Jell-O across the New Jersey Turnpike. As you might expect, I missed the turn for Douglas Trail Road.
There are actually three signs on Highway 52 that bear the words “Douglas Trail.” The last of these was, in fact, the correct turn, but Carol had apparently not considered this a worthwhile travel tip.
The first time I saw the word “Douglas,” I took the bait. I even called to confirm that “Douglas” was the right name.
“You’re almost here!” Carol giggled excitedly.
“I can’t wait to see you.”
I was not almost there, and she would be waiting a long time to see me.
This particular Douglas Road wound its way through vast, gaping expanses of Minnesota farmland with no sign of human life. Finally, after almost an hour of driving, the road ended. The helpful map showed that I was still somewhere in the United States.
I called Carol—long distance—and acknowledged that I was lost. She said, “Ask directions from someone on the corner.” There was no “Someone on the corner” Only one rummy eyed cow.
The cow wasn’t talking.
I retraced my route, finally found the right Douglas Trail Road and eventually ended up at Carol’s house. A thought occurred to me:
The old saying “all roads lead to Rome” is not true. Douglas Road doesn’t lead to Rome, Albuquerque, or anyplace else. It leads to one non-speaking black-and-white cow.
If you want to get somewhere, you have to answer two questions:
- Where you’re going?
- How are you going to get there?
There are many people spinning their wheels in life because they haven’t considered either.
There are many others seeking God but are lost on their own personal Douglas Road. Jesus gave simple and perfect directions to finding God—no cows, no detours, and no bad maps.
Jesus said, “I am the way and the truth and the life. No one comes to the Father except through me.” —John 14:6
Have you ever been lost? Love to hear your story.
This post is an adaptation from a story in Ken’s book, ‘Lighten Up!’ available here.
Nice story…almost a parable.
Larry, I wanted it to be a parable, but I got lost on the way! Thanks for reading and for your comment.
I am glad I am not the only one that is directionally challenged. – I can to to someone’s house two or three times and I still have to ask the wife, now how do we get there? But then I work in Atlanta – Peachtree Road, West Peacthree, Peachtree Center……
I am trained in survival techniques and In a forest or jungle I can find my way in the dark and have done it on several occasions. On highways, I am a basket case.
my lost story has become family legend. My entire family decided to vacation on Cape Cod a few years ago. My mother decided to ride with me from Long Island, a decision she will never make lightly again.
Cape Cod apparently is in Massachusetts but my car had other ideas on where it wanted to go. Apparently, when trying to get to this particular vacation destination, there is a four leaf clover sort of turn off a main highway and if you don’t take the correct turn, which of course looks like all the other turns, you end up in Rhode Island. In fact, there is a charming sign that says, ‘Welcome to Rhode Island.’ I ended up seeing that sign six times and my mother laughed so hard we had to find a rest stop.
The only way I got to the vacation house was to try and go to Rhode Island and then I ended up in Massachusetts. Now whenever I mention I got lost somewhere, my family always says, “Were you in Rhode Island?”
Pat, I have been to Rhode Island. I went there trying to visit my friend Sarah Lee Perel in Cape Cod.. (-;
I’ve been there Ken. I mean I’ve really been there! I drive down 52 a few times a week. I was near there today. Im sure Ive been on Douglas trail too! A agree also that we need to know where we are goin and how to get there…and focus on that destination! Let us fix our eyes on Jesus the author and perfector of our faith Hebrews 12:2. Thanks again Ken so much for your ministry. Marty from Litchfield MinneSNOWta (Still looking for spring!)
Just for your info. The link to your book , “Lighten up!” takes me to a dead end. So now I AM LOST. I’d like to read the book. Going to Amazon for help. 🙂
Thanks Nora, It’s fixed now!
Thanks again Ken for all you do for the Kingdom! I’m gonna read Fully Alive again. Try to really apply it to my life. My wife and I are planning on seeing you when you come to Glencoe, Mn. in May! Marty from Litchfield MinneSNOWta
Be sure to say Hello!
I’ve been lost many times. Sometimes I try to play the ignorance card (https://wp.me/p36il6-3x). That usually doesn’t work… especially with my wife!
Wives can spot the ignorant card because they use them too! Thanks for your comment.
People always underestimate me! You can’t miss it, you can’t get the wrong one…wanna bet!!!
I can and I will!!!
Thanks Margaret! Love it! Welcome to my world.
Love the post, Ken! I have no idea how to relate to this, though. Love you all!