(I found this in my drafts. I don't know why I didn't post it then. Timing is in the past, but the lesson is still relevant.)
Larry has a long business trip ahead and so since he was in Cincinnati this last weekend he asked if I wanted to go down and stay with him. Alone.... just the two of us? Duh!! I made it happen on my end and he moved to a better place than he was staying (wasn't that nice?). So I packed up my bags and headed to Cinci.
The ride down was depressing. It took me back to the days when my motto was 'Have ice. Will travel.' When Rob and Rachel were at God's Bible School and College I traveled that road a lot. I loved those days. I loved being around my kids and their friends. There are so many good memories from that time. What made it depressing was that it involved memories of going to see Rob. It has been since Christmas.... 8 months!!!! since I have seen my boy! This is the longest I have gone without seeing him. I am sure other parents of grown children know what I am talking about when I say I miss him so bad I actually hurt.
On Friday night Larry and I used our trusty app, The Urban Spoon, and chose Stone Creek Dining Company as the place to have supper. It was the first time we had eaten there. It was really good! Not cheap, not terribly expensive. Larry's salad was so fresh and crisp, and the bread and dipping oil was oh, so good! Larry had tilapia on a bed of couscous with asparagus, and I had filet mignon, baked potato and mixed vegetables. We will definitely go there again.
The bed at the motel was one of hardest beds I have ever slept on. But that being said, I slept so good that night! I did sleep in since there were no creaking floors or slamming doors or people talking to wake me up! Or a certain baby pounding on Mamaw's door so she can watch Super Why with me!
I knew I would be spending the day alone while he was working on Saturday, so I knew I would try to find Ikea and had thought about going to Jungle Jim's. I arrived at Ikea about 1pm and hadn't eaten yet, so I decided to eat there. As soon as I walked in the store I was overwhelmed! Which way do I go? I watched for few seconds and looked around, noticed everyone else was taking a pencil and map so I did, too. I saw the restaurant was upstairs, so I headed up the escalator. At the top I was greeted with a sample of Swedish Meatballs. So good, so I decided to have that for my lunch. I had a child size portion of meatballs, mashed potatoes, a corn bread square (because it looked so good) and a piece of apple cream cake. All that with Coke for $6.46! I was surprised that everything was perfectly seasoned!
After I ate my delicious meal, I walked past the live band and set off on an adventure! I had heard so many great things about Ikea that I wondered if it would compare to my first time in The Container Store. That was like a singing angel choir experience! AHHHHHhhhhhh... Seriously. Sadly, it was not that kind of experience, but that's ok.... TCS is a very special place. I immediately saw all kinds of things I would like to put in my cart. And, oh my... Christmas gifts for my girls will be bought here!! As I was walking through the store I kept thinking, "Why do I keep running into all these people!" I got off of the walkway to look at a kitchen island it took forever to get back on the walkway! People kept coming. I was in my own little world and was patient but perplexed. Finally, I got back on the walkway and when I made it to the next bend, there it was. The arrow on the walkway. They actually had directions to getting through the store! I looked at the little paper I picked up with the pencil and sure enough, there is a starting point! So, I turned around and went back to the starting point and went the right direction and it was a lot easier! Still crowded, but it is easier to go with the flow! It would have been better to have a friend or two along. More eyes to see all the bargains and details!
I had a little laugh at myself and shared it with Larry, who laughed at me, too! But the thought just kept coming back to me.
The goal when I went to that store was to not miss a thing! I knew what I wanted and was given the tools to make it happen. I just didn't know it. Why? Because I was so caught up with what I wanted to do and with being so overwhelmed with the experience, that I was going about it my own way. The wrong way. I had the map that told me where the starting point was and I didn't even look at it. Well, I did, but not closely. I saw the departments and showroom areas and even the path through the store, but I didn't pay close enough attention to see the fine detail of the arrows.
You know, we are given our map to get through this life. So many times we start off with good plans and intentions. Whether it is in our spiritual walk, our business plans or our family life, God's Word should be our guide. We have it. If we don't have one when we ask Jesus to be our Savior, we are given one by those we know at church. Not using it, or by skimming it over is what gets us into a jam. We end up going the wrong way. We know what we want, but we end up confused and the joy of the journey is replaced with frustration. We aren't following His directions or consulting Him to lead us. The only solution is to go by the Map. His plan is set in place and will make it possible to not miss a thing of what God has for us!
And remember what I said about how it would have been easier to have a friend along? Friendships are important. Our close friends can be our confidants, our sounding boards and those that can see when we are heading off on our own way... the wrong way. And a good friend will say, "Hey! Look the Map is saying this is the way to go.... You don't want to miss what God has planned for you!"
So, that is the life lesson I learned from Ikea. I have a Bible... several actually, but I know I need to stop going off on my own, thinking I have it handled! I don't want to miss a single blessing He has for me and my family.