A month ago I posted Jesus, The Spiritual Roadmap in which I accused younger folks of not knowing what a road atlas or accordion-fold highway road map looks like because they simply plug in an address on their cell phone GPS, hit start and go where the cute voice tells them to go. Well, today, the hand that had one finger pointing and poking fun at their dependence on technology had three fingers pointing back at me.
I spent Friday and Saturday helping my daughter relocate to Nashville, Tennessee, from Memphis, hauling her furniture and other belongings to her new residence. Then, this morning I left Nashville to drive home to Ohio.
Before leaving her house, I checked the app MassTimes.org to see if there was a church nearby where I could attend mass before getting on the road. Today is the Solemnity of the Most Holy Trinity and I didn’t want to miss mass. All of the nearby Catholic churches had mass times at 7:00, 8:30 and 11:00 a.m. It was currently 9:10 a.m., so I decided to not wait until an 11:00 a.m. mass, thinking I’d find a convenient one somewhere between there and home.
Around Bowling Green, Kentucky I checked the app again and found no convenient masses near there. I checked Elizabethtown, Kentucky and, Aha!, I found one just eight miles from Elizabethtown. St. John the Baptist Catholic Church advertised an 11:30 a.m. mass. The app lets you get directions to the churches so I tapped on that and discovered I could get there about ten minutes early. Perfect!
I took the exit off of I-65 just as the cute little voice told me to do. I made several turns and with each one I seemed to be getting further into rural Kentucky. Eventually, the GPS told me I had reached my destination. I stopped on the narrow country road and looked to the right where “she” told me the church was. Miraculously, St. John the Baptist Catholic Church had either disappeared or became transfigured into a nice pasture of healthy looking angus cattle.
I drove another mile down the road and turned around. Coming back, the voice told me my destination was on the left. Still nothing but cattle. I went on down the road a couple miles to a convenience store/gas station and pulled in. I put in the actual address of St. John the Baptist Church and, lo and behold, it was about four miles further down the road. I concluded that somehow someone loaded the wrong X:Y coordinates of the church in the mapping program.
I thought, if I hurried I might be able to make it before the Gospel reading. It was then that I noticed the time on my phone said 12:31 p.m. And that’s when it hit me: the time zone line between Eastern and Central time runs along the western and southern borders of Hardin County in which Elizabethtown sits. St. John the Baptist Catholic Church was just inside the eastern time zone line…and mass was just ending!
I couldn’t help but laugh at the situation. I’d added at least a half hour to the day’s drive time and now, once I got home, I’d have to drive another half hour each way to St. Mary’s for 6:00 p.m. mass. I thought, okay, if that’s what God wants me to do, then that’s what I’ll do.
Before putting my truck in drive I checked my fuel gauge and saw that I was nearing empty. That’s when I noticed the price of gas at the station where I was parked was $2.99 per gallon…40 to 50 cents per gallon cheaper than any prices I’d seen along the interstate. My truck has a 32 gallon tank. I chuckled when I thought how divine providence may have just rewarded my unsuccessful effort to attend mass by saving me $15.00 on a fill-up.
“Heavenly Father, once again my plan was not Your plan. You had a better one that resulted in me not only saving money at the gas pump, but by allowing me to attend a beautiful mass where I ran into a friend who needed to talk to me about some matters. You saved us a phone call. Thank you for Your providence! Amen.”
(Roadtrip Reflections: Technology and Time Zones was first published on the blog Reflections of a Lay Catholic)
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