I recently volunteered to drive a carload of kids to the ice skating rink in Austin. Next time I do that, please tie me up and lock me in a closet. Please. I promise I’ll thank you for it later.
Oh, it wasn’t the kids. They were wonderful. Brilliant. Helpful, even. No, it was the Austin roads. And even more than the Austin roads, it was Helga.
You do know Helga, don’t you? She’s the woman who lives inside the free GPS my daughter uploaded to my i-phone at the first sign of trouble. I didn’t know which 83 I was supposed to take. There are four of them, you know: 83N, 83S, 83A and 83B. The North and South I could handle. The A and B threw me off a bit, since I didn’t learn those coordinates in school.
Along comes Helga, to save the day. Oh, she seemed very polite at first, and I had high hopes. “May I use your current location?” she asked. Of course you may, dear Helga.
But her charm was short-lived. Before I knew it, she was barking orders to turn right, turn left, make a U-turn . . . only she didn’t tell me to turn on actual streets. I swear, she was making up nonexistent street names to confuse me.
Every once in a while, she’d throw in a real street name, just to keep me on my toes. But she wouldn’t call the real street name until I was about 40 feet past the intersection bearing that name.
Finally, I’d had enough. I realized that, in spite of her polished British accent, Helga didn’t have a clue what she was talking about. I pulled the car to a safe location, looked up the phone number for the ice rink, and called for directions.
“Can you tell me your exact location?” the woman asked. I told her. With a few simple directions, I felt a new hope that an ice rink was in our future. With a new confidence, I backed out of my parking space to begin again.
But as soon as I pulled onto the street, there was Helga’s now-annoying British voice! “Turn left. Turn right. Redirecting.”
At this point, I was a near-crazy woman. “Make her stop! How do you turn her off?” I hollered at no one in particular. Thank the good Lord above, there were teenagers in the car who promptly deleted Helga from my phone into oblivion. She’s now wandering cyberspace, looking for a new home. If she knocks at your door, don’t let her in, no matter how innocent and charming she sounds. She’s a dangerous woman, I tell you.
By following the instructions given by the ice rink employee, I found the place quickly and easily. Turns out, I wasn’t far from my destination. I just needed to listen to the right person.
That’s happened to me more times than I can count. Oh, not because of Helga, though I would like to blame her for all sorts of iniquity. But that wouldn’t be fair. There are many voices trying to lead us in the wrong direction. They sound charming and authoritative, but really, all they do is get us lost, and we end up more confused than ever.
In this road trip called life, we need to ignore the Helga’s of this world. Delete them, if possible, and listen to the One who knows the course better than anyone. By listening to the right voice, and following His instructions, we’ll end up at the best possible destination. Plus, the journey will be a much more pleasant one.
“In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will direct your paths” (Proverbs 3:6).
For more hope and humor, visit renaebrumbaugh.com