You can’t get there from here
Like most men, I did it in protest. I asked for directions. The event preceded GPS, even MapQuest. And my knowledge of the backroads of Ripley County, Indiana betrayed my summer farm construction employment.
I approached him in one of our Ford work trucks and the farmer looked friendly enough. That is not as much a commentary on his expression as it is the observation that he wasn’t brandishing a weapon. “Mornin’,” I began after letting the dust from the gravel road clear a bit, “I’m looking for the [insert last name like Cramer or Stewart] farm.” It wasn’t really a question but that’s the way people talked.
He supplied the question. “How the hell did you get way out here?!” Now his expression was pleasant – at my expense. In that moment I was sure this exchange would be repeated and roars of laughter would fill the local gossip diner.
I decided not to answer him directly. “Am I close?”
Then he said it. It’s a phrase with some lore behind it. It’s spoken of more than it is spoken. “The problem is,” he said, “you can’t get there from here.”
Some county roads in Indiana are planned in nice grids with logical numbers corresponding to both distance and direction. Other roads look like a committee of meth addicts planned them. I was on the latter.
Of course I could get there from here but it would be much easier if I started from a different place. So I needed to go somewhere else and start, which was not really what I wanted. I wanted to go somewhere else and finish.
Most of the time when I am lost and trying to find my way in life it would do me good if someone laughed at me and said, “You can’t get there from here.”
- I am angry and want to resolve conflict.
- I am tired and want to produce quality work.
- I am ignorant and I want to say something meaningful.
- I am busy and I want to enjoy life.
- I am impatient and I want to instruct my children.
- I screw up and I want to feel good enough to earn my seat in church.
Starting this Easter, Levittown Christian Church is inviting the community to a new starting point. My prayer is that you and your friends will, against your desire to find your own way, stop by and ask for directions. We promise not to laugh.