When we moved to northern Lancaster County, I loved the wide open vistas.
After the crowded conditions of northern Delaware, it was like a breath of fresh air (albeit, manure-scented fresh air).
You can see the variegated fields; the farmhouses, barns and silos; and the rolling hills off in the distance. Maybe a buggy appears on a far-off road. It’s exactly the peaceful scene people expect for Lancaster County.
But this is also corn country. And so as we arrive at the fourth of July when the corn is supposed to be “as high as an elephant’s eye,” things change a bit. High corn on both sides of the road makes you feel like you’re in the middle of a maze. (Maybe that’s where the corn maze idea originated.)
Corn planted right up to the corner of a road produces a blind intersection. It can be frightening to approach a corner where in the winter and spring you can see a vehicle approaching from your left for quite a distance but now you won’t know the car or buggy exists until it’s in front of you.
Your only recourse is to creep out into the intersection, hoping to reach the point where you can see around the corn. And you hope a car isn’t traveling so fast that it can’t avoid your front end sticking into the road.
Sometimes life is open views and clear sailing. You know exactly what your calling is, where you’re headed and what the conditions of life are that you’ll encounter on your travels. And it looks pretty peaceful.
But then the corn grows. Fast. And the path that looked clear begins to be obscured. What do you do when the corn blocks the intersections of your future?
Same thing we do here in Lancaster County:
- You slow down. An open view makes driving here easier. It’s a lovely country drive. But when you can’t see, you must slow down. You need to reevaluate the situation and ensure you are making the right choice.
- You don’t assume conditions are what they were. What’s on the other side of the corn? You don’t know. So you can’t just move forward believing nothing has changed.
- You creep forward until you can see what to do next. When I encounter a corn-obscured intersection, I can’t just sit there and wait. The corn will be there for months now. I have to move. Yes, I move with caution, but I must move, or I might not be home until Christmas. You must keep moving, too, but not recklessly.
- You listen. Sometime I can hear the motor of a car I cannot yet see. Or maybe it’s the whine of a motorcycle. Or the clip-clop of the horse’s hooves as it pulls the buggy. When your future becomes muddy, it’s time to listen. First to God and what he’s trying to tell you in this moment. Second to others who can help you understand what is going on around you and give you clues how to circumnavigate the problems.
- You proceed with caution. Once I’ve crept forward enough to see the road and it appears clear, I take a second look, and then move on out. Progress comes when we continue to move forward as soon as it’s safe.
- You remember your destination. In the corn maze and haze, I don’t just decide my destination isn’t worth it. I know where I’m going and why I want to get there, so I make the effort to make it work. Know your calling. Know why you have that life destination in mind, and do the hard work to get there, even when it’s not as easy as you once thought.
Is your view open or obstructed today? What step do you need to take today to get to the future, to live your calling?