Over the past several weeks I have spent an inordinate amount of time helping to develop step-by-step instructions for a computer program at the McCook Daily Gazette that allows paginators to send their page directly to the platemaker, a process known as CTP.
I say an "inordinate" amount of time because I have been working in Quark since 1998 when the Gazette first brought desktop pagination to the newsroom. Therefore, I thought we could easily devise the proper path to success in this endeavor. Not so fast. There were more than a few roadblocks along the way. Eventually we overcame the many obstacles and worked out the various bugs that rear their buggy little heads anytime anyone tries something new. Then it was time to write the procedure down so that others could incorporate the skill set.
Using notes scribbled throughout the trial and error process, I started at step 1 and tried to include every step necessary, even the ones that have become second nature. Then I handed those instructions to two in-house guinea pigs, to see if they could end up with the desired results using the directions provided.
Thanks to their participation, and the changes made based on their recommendations, we now have the step-by-step instruction sheets.
Apparently, every journey in this life involves twists, turns and frequent back-tracking, sometimes all the way back to Step 1.
During the short time that we lived in Worland, Wyoming, we became friends with several couples in our age group, some married, some not. Since we were the only parents in the group, our little alley house, and later our two bedroom apartment, became the evening hot spot for frequent impromptu dinners and rousing games of "Life," "Monopoly" or "Uno." (Television reception without cable consisted of one snowy channel from a translator station in Thermopolis. And at $7 per month, none of us could afford cable.) The Game of Life, from Hasbro, now more than 50 years old, was not a linear experience, with many setbacks along the way, kind of like the adult version of the children's game, Chutes and Ladders.
As a child who longed for an organized, un-chaotic life, I entered my adult years sure and certain that if I just followed the appropriate directions, kept all of the rules and never veered from the prescribed course, my life would be peaceful, serene and above all else, successful. Instead it has been more like "The Game of Life."
My faith journey has followed a similarly convoluted path. The lyrics to the Beatles hit, "The Long and Winding Road" from their Let it Be album released in 1970, could be the theme song for that journey as I take this sometimes long, winding road to the door that leads to the throne room of the One who has loved me from first thought. Just when I think I have everything figured out, the path circles back -- perhaps to a missed lesson or to a moment of significance left undiscovered until it is seen again with eyes sharpened by experience -- and sometimes, all the way back to Step 1.
Before the first bore of the Eisenhower tunnel opened in March of 1973, mountain travelers had to navigate U.S. Highway 6 over Loveland Pass, a route that included numerous hairpin curves and the dizzying view of treetops beneath the travelers. One night after work, Danny and I drove through the tunnel shortly after it opened, turned around and drove back home. We were suitably impressed with the engineering and the brightly lit two-lane, two-way road in the tunnel that bisected the mountain. It didn't take long for the newness to wear off, even after they opened the second bore in 1979. Years later, during one of our then fairly frequent trips over the mountain between Denver and the high country, we decided to take the old highway "just for old times sake." We never did that again. We had forgotten just how perilous those high mountain passes can be and just how long it can take to navigate them safely. Certainly, the highway over Loveland Pass would qualify as a "long and winding road."
Switchbacks, steep grades, crumbling shoulders and bad weather notwithstanding, I will remain on this long and winding road, singing along in my memory with Paul McCartney, "Many times I've been alone, and many times I've cried. Anyway, you've always known the many ways I've tried. But still they lead me back to the long winding road ... that leads to your door."
"I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, I have kept the faith." 2 Timothy 4:7 NIV
I don't have all the answers, but I know the One who does. Let's walk together for awhile and discover Him; together.