When I moved into my home 27 years ago, a national pizza chain was guaranteeing pizza delivery within 30 minutes or your order was free. We hit the jackpot that first winter! Our house is at the end of a quarter-mile long gravel driveway in the middle of 10 acres of land and can’t be seen from the main road. No matter how many times I try to give people directions, including pizza delivery people, and tell them “You can’t see our house from the main road but keep on coming down the gravel driveway and you will,” they don’t believe me.
If the person will let me talk long enough without insisting he or she doesn’t need directions, I say, “Keep on coming past the house on the hill on the right and the double-wide trailer on the left. Then there’s a big curve and once you go around that, you will be at our brick house. But you can’t see our house from the main road.”
You can’t see our house—the destination—most of the way down the gravel road, in fact.
Lots of times people go halfway down the driveway, then when they don’t see a brick house, turn around and head back up, thoroughly confused. Or they wind up at any number of neighbors’ houses, who have learned to turn them around and direct them back down the gravel road.
Once all of our new roofing shingles were unloaded at the wrong house. Luckily, I drove up to the main road and caught the huge, empty truck headed away. Until Amazon Prime and I cemented our relationship through multiple orders, all my packages wound up at different houses. Even GPS hasn’t helped much in recent years because a nearby house has the address of 555-A and ours is 555.
But if people follow my directions, which have gotten quite specific through the years, and just keep coming down the road, they’ll eventually get right to our house.
That first winter, however, we got a lot of free pizzas, which delighted my four sons, as pizza delivery people gave up and turned around before getting to the end of the road. I finally felt guilty we had gotten so many free pizzas that I went to the pizza place with a map and explained how to find our house.
There would have been no free pizzas, however, if we had lived in our neighbors’ house. Halfway down the gravel road, their house sits up on a little hill. From their yard you can see the main road to the left and our house down to the right—the beginning all the way to the end.
Ever since that winter of free pizzas, I’ve visualized God’s perspective of my life much as my gravel road. He views me on my journey from the metaphorical vantage point of my neighbors’ house on the hill. He can see the beginning, or the main road; where I am on the road, or my present moment in life; and the end, or where I will be one day, which I can’t see or even visualize clearly.
He beckons to me through His prophets, the scriptures, the Holy Ghost, and the myriad other ways He speaks to me, “You can’t see it from where you are, but it’s there. I can see and you will too if you just keep on coming. Trust me, just trust me, and keep on going.”
Or in the words of my favorite scripture, “Trust in the Lord with all thy heart; and lean not to thine own understanding. In all thy ways acknowledge him, and he shall direct thy paths” (Proverbs 3:5-6).
While I make my way down the road, whose beginning I can’t recall, I could be that puzzled pizza delivery person with the goal in mind, but not in sight.
“Is this far enough? It looks dark. I’ve never been here before. It’s scary. Maybe there is no house at the end after all. I’m just too tired,” I think from my perspective. I—and I don’t think I’m that different than everyone else—begin to doubt and to fear until the believing and trusting just becomes too much and I want to stop or worse, turn back.
Just around the curve is just a little too far.
A way you know not
I left a blank spot in my journal one year and wrote a note saying I would fill it in when I knew how the Lord had answered my prayer that I wanted to work from home. I was working as a full-time reporter, which was a job with tough hours, and still had teenagers at home, as well as a disabled daughter I visited often in a residential facility in another city. Grandchildren were starting to arrive at my married children’s homes and there just wasn’t enough time in my life to help care for or visit everyone.
I needed a more flexible job, but I couldn’t see what it could be.
I asked my editor if I could switch to part-time and then with adjunct teaching at a local college, I could have more flexible hours, but he said there were no part-time jobs in the budget. Then soon after, I was offered a job as an editor of a local magazine. It wasn’t part-time, but it was certainly better hours than a reporter’s.
Within a few months, however, I realized the job was not what I had wanted. I wanted to leave. Going back to my former editor, I asked him if I could have my old job back since it had not been filled.
He said the budget had changed and there was no longer money for a full-time reporter, but there was plenty of money for freelance work. I left the magazine one day and went to work at the paper again the next day as a freelancer with control over my own hours. Layoffs happened soon after and the paper was desperate for a freelancer. I had plenty of work.
Within a year or two, adjunct positions opened up at the local community college and for the past seven years I have been able to earn the money I need by working from home. Plus, there has been plenty of time to visit the ever-increasing number of grandchildren who have come to the family.
I went back and filled in my blank spot in my journal.
Heavenly Father was standing in my neighbors’ yard and saw the end from the beginning and led me along the way. All I needed to do was to keep walking along the road and not turn back, even when I couldn’t see the end.
I discovered this scripture last year while studying the Old Testament: “And I will bring the blind by a way that they knew not; I will lead them in paths that they have not known: I will make darkness light before them, and crooked things straight. These things will I do unto them, and not forsake them” (Isaiah 42:16.)
The scripture whispers of long gravel roads, trusting in the eternal perspective of a God who loves us, and a wonderful place at the end with much more than just free pizzas.
Susan is a writer in beautiful southern Virginia. Her novel “Miracle of the Christmas Star” is available on Amazon.com. You may like her author page, Susan Dean Elzey, on Facebook to read her weekly humor columns.