Once, when I was younger, though old enough to know better, I was on a road trip with a large group and we took the BC Ferries over to the mainland. For some reason I had a pack of brand new Post-it arrows in my bag, exactly like the image above. And maybe it was all the fun and laughter we were having, or maybe it was the momentary thought of doing something silly and bad just to make my friends laugh, we started pulling out these little orange arrow sticky notes and placing them all over the walls of the ferry.
They were plain, small arrows, with no writing on them, and not stuck on the walls haphazardly, but with careful purpose to have them all lined up straight and orderly as if they were all directing people towards something.
Getting funnier? Hmmm…
Of course we had a few laughs as we walked around and saw people puzzling at these arrows that led to nothing. And later we heard from some others in our group that a ferry employee was walking around removing them after us. Luckily we were never caught putting them up but the thought of what we did still makes me smile.
Truly funny? Maybe not.
But I also think about that ferry worker, or the people who were confused by our directionless markers. Our actions certainly didn’t make them smile or laugh. And what a disappointment someone may have had to follow the arrows only to find them end or disappear, not to mention the possible danger if there had been an emergency and someone mistook our fake arrows for directions to safety!
It makes me smile but I also feel foolish.
Foolish that I was a young adult but still making childish decisions. And I wonder how I would feel, if I were following some interesting path only to have it be a joke or a prank or just dissolve into nothing.
Sometimes I feel like our actions imitate our lives.
I have felt at some points in my life like I was heading down a certain path, direction clear, roadway marked only to have the future suddenly look uncertain, and the path not as crisp and clear anymore.
But Post-its, I find, are probably not a good permanent source for leading someone on a path.
They are meant to be used as a reminder, a quick note, or as an afterthought stuck to the front of something permanent. Eventually they will un-stick, fall off, or be removed.
In life, I don’t want to follow a removable Post-it trail.
I want to put my faith, my trust and my effort into following something with meaning.
I want to have my steps count, my effort build towards a promising end, and my way set out with a purpose.
Sure, I may not know what that full meaning or purpose is all at once, but along the way I can find what I’m good at and use it to make the world a better place.
I can trust that, though the path is not marked like my silly little orange arrow Post-its, my feet are being directed the right way forward.
What are you following? Something worthwhile? Or something fleeting?
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