A very little boy from our neighborhood came to our door today selling zucchini bread that had likely been made by his mother. He told us we could either give him some money or something else and he showed us his basket that had two bananas in it. I thought it would be friendly to offer him some grapes growing on the vines in our yard. But he frowned at that and politely said “no.” Then I offered him some very cool crayons I had that were shaped like large eggs. Once again he frowned this time quietly saying “I think it would be best to give me money.” He was very polite about it. So we gave him a dollar and he quickly turned away apparently satisfied.

I was struck by this little boy. He had a very clear map. I don’t know what his intention was but he obviously knew that in order to get somewhere or something, he wanted/ needed money to get there. His polite clarity and determination were delightful and inspiring.

When I left home at 19 to travel across the country by car, my traveling companion and I had lots of maps within an atlas to help us navigate through this beautiful United States.

After we have determined where we are going maps tell us how to get there. Some maps, like road maps, are easily available and hugely helpful. But there are some maps we just have to make for ourselves. Say we need a new toy or a bicycle like this very little boy. And our parents say, “Well, we will help you but you need to find a way to earn some money.” So you figure out how you will get some money to buy that new toy.

In our adult lives, we set a goal. Sometimes even setting a goal needs a map as we strive for clarity about our final destination. And then we need to figure out how to get there. We can’t just go to the local gas station and buy a map! And Siri truly doesn’t know everything! Maybe we can read a book or consult with someone who knows the way. Sometimes we can find our map in an external place and sometimes we have to gather the information and just make up our own map.

And then there are surprises along the way within one’s carefully crafted map and journey. Elements that say “Detour: Road closed.” Or, we get distracted and travel somewhere completely different and wonder “How the heck did I get here?” Or, someone says “Try this route. You will find it interesting.”

When something is really important, one will be like this little boy and say “No, I just really want . . . ” That represents clarity and determination.

Map is such a simple word. There is a lot to unpack around it.

Happy Trails to you!

Day 117 of #the100dayproject

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