A data plan could change my life.
Last weekend I had the joy of leading an Ending Poverty Together workshop in Ottawa, a city I had never been to. I spent a grand total of 28 hours in our nation’s capital, nine of which were in the seminar, and then flew to Toronto for meetings. It didn’t leave a lot of tourist time.
I hopped in my rental car at 4:30 Saturday afternoon and headed on the route described to me as “Ottawa’s must see” places. I took a few detours amidst perpetual construction zones preparing the city for next summer’s 150th birthday celebrations, but eventually enjoyed seeing the Ottawa River, 24 Sussex Drive and our Parliament Buildings.
Then, as I rounded a bend, a large Y intersection quickly approached. Once again the signage proved unhelpful and I gave it my best guess and hung to the right. The road quickly became a bridge and halfway across a small plaque read, “Quebec”.
“Not the Quebec”, I thought. “Surely I haven’t driven out of the province!” But, I had. With that short drive, all signs went from two languages to one – French. I decided against a prolonged tour and the possibility of having to ask for directions, so made a U-turn.
I know that the Ottawa River separates Ottawa and Gatineau, Quebec. Going across that body of water logically meant arriving in a different province.
I’ve been chuckling about the experience this week but also pondering the parallels to life. During my drive I spent so much time looking for the immediate signs to give direction that I lost sight of the big picture. Similarly I find myself asking “Where is my focus today?” and “Am I getting so caught up in the details of life that I’m missing a higher story?”
But that wasn’t the end of my driving escapades. After I found myself heading east on Toronto’s 401 at the height of rush hour (when I needed to be going west!) I decided to buy a one-day data pack. It changed my life.
Okay, not really. But the difference of experience was profound. Instead of straining to read upcoming signs I could relax into knowing that Betsy, my phone co-pilot, would announce where I needed to go with ample warning to get there. She did a great job.
Have you been crossing bridges you didn’t expect recently? Heading east when you wanted west? I know that my path becomes clearer and my confidence stronger when I reconsider the big picture—and I don’t need GPS for that.
With love and gratitude,
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In The Midst