You can’t get there from here
A long time ago the places on the map that were unexplored usually had a picture of some type of monster on it. These were the unknown places and were thought to be dangerous. Anything could be there but for some reason people thought that’s where the monsters must live. They don’t live where we do so they must be in the places we haven't been.
No one had been there and no one should go there. It was a way to tell people:You don’t need to go there. People being people though, they went anyway. Something that is unknown is like a beacon to some people. Some came back with all kinds of stories that lead to other people going in search of the unknown places. Some people were never heard from again. Those people don’t usually make into the stories we are told. We like to hear the stories of the ones who made it. The success stories.Sometimes, though, turning back to where you belong is a success story too. Not everybody belongs in all places. I don’t, and now I know that.
People as a species are nomadic. We have spread out all over the globe and even further. We have been to the moon and back and pretty soon we might even get to Mars. It will probably happen in our lifetime if some people keep pushing it.
I’m not sure if we need to but that’s a different conversation. As people we usually go before we are ready. Sometimes it works out, sometimes not. It takes a lot of courage and faith to venture into unknown places. I’m an outdoors enthusiast and I like the wild places or the unfamiliar parts of the world.
Getting somewhere in a boat or a trail usually means picking a direction and going. You might have to find an easier path to follow but for the most part it’s as a crow flies: straight. We follow a built-in sense of direction or use a compass and a map. It doesn’t really matter if we have been there or not because we know the general location and direction to go. Getting there is the fun part.
The only place in the world I do have any difficulties getting to are places in cities. You have to follow a set path that was laid out by a city planner and is usually based on things like geometry and other things I don’t usually use in my life. I live by faith not math.
There might only be one actual way you can get to a place. They have streets that you are only allowed to go one direction on. Who comes up with these things? They’re streets not life paths.
Roundabouts are another nightmare for anyone who has not used them before. I have seen people do many extra loops in it trying to figure out how to get out. It’s like a clever designed mouse trap for the unwary traveler. Round and round they go trying to find a way out or they cause a wreck. Sometimes both. If it was supposed to make things easier it was a bad idea. There are a lot of them in cities, bad ideas. Personally, I think cities themselves are bad ideas but that’s my opinion and apparently not one shared by all the millions of people who live in cities.
That’s the difference in the world God made and the one made by people. God's plan works, people's plans have to have other adjustments added to them as time goes by to fix the things they didn’t think of when they came up with the plan. Rube Goldberg strikes again.
If you have ever needed to find somewhere you haven't been in a city, you only have two choices: use a street map or ask directions.
Street maps are as accurate as you can get on the layout of streets but they don’t account for any changes that have happened since it was made. They also don’t give you any traffic or construction information. You will eventually get to your destination but it might not be the quickest route.
Since most people are impatient and only want to be at their destination and not enjoy the journey, they ask for directions. Usually this is on google maps.
Google maps is getting better but if it is your only source of information and direction eventually it will take you to the wrong place. I’m not sure how it works exactly but it has given me directions in the complete opposite direction that I wanted to go and every time it updated it changed the course I should have been on.
Eventually I got tired of driving in circles and decided to just ask someone who would know: A local, or in this case, a gas station clerk.
I pulled into the first gas station I could find. I explained to the clerk what had happened with google maps and explained to him where I was trying to get to.
After a minute he simply said, “You can’t get there from here.”
I didn’t quite know what to say to that.
“How can I not get there from here? “
I’m used to places that might be hard to get to, but you can get anywhere from where you are in my world. This was the most puzzling thing I had ever heard.
I simply said, “Thank you anyway” and went back to my car. I would have to think about this for a minute or at least figure out who else to ask.
I could only come up with a few possibilities:
- He didn’t know how to get there either
- It was too hard to explain how to get there
- It wasn’t worth the trouble to go there
- The place didn’t exist
At this point I was leaning towards the third answer, maybe it’s not worth the trouble. There have been times in my life where the trouble it took to get somewhere really wasn’t worth it. There have been days fishing that I wished I had just stayed home. I try to not let spite influence my decision making anymore. When I was younger, I would have done it just to prove I could. I went fishing a lot in Spite of the weather too.
I’m a little bit smarter now, maybe not much but a little smarter. I’m smart enough not to leave the dock in the rain but wise enough to stay in it if they are biting. I just wasn’t sure how this destination fit into my rule book. The weather was fine, and I didn’t have anywhere else to be.
“I guess I’ll keep looking. I’ll also be smart and fill the tank since I have no idea how long it will take to find the place I’m looking for.”
I drove around for a while and still couldn’t get what that guy had told me out of my head. “How can I not get there from here?” Then I realized I’d been looking for this place for two hours now and I still haven't gotten there either.
All I could do was laugh.
I had found the one place in the world that is on the map but is completely inaccessible. There is no way to get there. I can pull up satellite images of it, I can see the roads leading to it from space but down here on the ground it’s not looking like that. “Google world and maps are liars.”
I pulled over to get my bearings and try to regroup and to stop laughing. I also wanted to make sure I hadn’t just had a nervous breakdown.
As I sat there wondering if I had just stepped into another world where nothing makes any sense, I heard a voice from nowhere that actually made me jump. “You OK.”
I was shocked to see another person in this land that was not on the map but there he was.
“I’m good just trying to find this place.”
He said he knew where it was and began to give me directions to it. It went on and on about a right turn by this tree and then went through two stops: take a dirt road, get on this road, go under that bridge. It all just became white noise after that. I just kept nodding like I knew where he was talking about and knew where all those things were.
I had no idea where any of that was.
My first assumption was wrong” The attendant knew where the place was and how to get there but there was absolutely no way to explain to someone who was not from there how to get there.” Even Google maps and satellites can’t really tell you how to get to this place. It really wasn’t worth the effort. You really can’t get there from here.
What the man had really meant to say was “YOU” meaning “ME” can’t get there from here but “I”, meaning “HIM”, can.
I got back on the main road and eventually headed home. It took me a while to find my way back, but I did eventually find home. I never found the other place and have never looked again.
What does that mean
There are places in the world that not all of us belong to. We could get there but it’s not really worth the trouble. What’s funny about it is that they are places created by People not God. People make things more complicated than they need to be. Even when they know how to get somewhere they can’t tell you unless you are already familiar with the place. That’s not exactly the world I live in or want to be part of.
I like the world that God created better than the parts of it that people create. I can get to any part of the world God created. It might not be that easy to get to all of it, but you can get there and get back home. That doesn’t mean I want to go to all of it either. Some parts have a lot of things in them I am not made for. Humidity and bugs and deserts and jungles are in some of the places I’m fine with not ever seeing.
For the most part I try to stick to my element. The outdoors, fishing, sailing, boats, camping, good food, good company, good people. These are my places. I don’t bother looking for those other places. I really can’t get there from here. God has other places I belong and I’m happy about that. I understand those places and those people.
The really remarkable part of it is that those people in the places I can’t get to from where I am could get to where I am: if they wanted to. It’s not even that hard. I guess they’ll have to figure it out for themselves. I hope they do. The world I live in is a good place to be. It’s not perfect but it will be one day.
I’m glad I didn’t find that place. I’m glad God decided to make a lesson out of it and to teach me something. He works in mysterious ways and is working all the time for and on all of us who listen. Even if we are hardheaded sometimes and make mistakes here and there, He still cares. I didn’t understand that lesson until a lot later but eventually I did understand. I hope everyone does . . .Eventually.