The tall corn has gone to harvest, but the lessons my sister and I learned in the flat-lands this fall are as fresh as the newly fallen snow. During our annual sister week, Cindy and I experienced a corn maze. We listened indignantly to the sweet cashier who sized us up and then oddly suggested we do the 30 minute kids’ maze as opposed to the adult version. With ample WV farm girl pride we paid for the grown-up tickets, snapped a quick photo of the map, and entered the sea of corn. We wandered around corner after corner admiring textures, colors, and patterns the liner stalks made in perfect rows. Crows dropped out of the blue sky to enjoy a quick snack in the tops of the corn before we turned the bend and interrupted them. Something you need to understand about Midwest farmers is they take their corn mazes seriously, often competing with each other; the best ones getting free advertising and a feature on the local news.
I’m almost positive it was thirst and hunger that caused us to become disoriented, but to our surprise we started recognizing the same cornstalks…or were they? Cindy’s instincts kicked in and she grabbed fallen stalks and began making directional arrows on the ground like they tell you to do on a hiking trail. Each time we left a corn alleyway, she’d make an arrow indicating we’d already tried that path unsuccessfully. Through gaps in the wall of corn we spied another group of wanders made up of two women, a little girl and a baby in a stroller. I told Sis we’d better not stray too far from them as I suspected there would be food in the stroller. We must have looked impressive when they came upon us, what with me holding out my phone map like a compass, and Cindy promptly falling to the ground and constructing an arrow at each turn. We conferred with them briefly and then parted ways but the little girl wanted to go with us instead of her mom and friend, whom she’d lost confidence in many tired steps ago. They repeatedly called her back but Cindy and I often noticed her trailing a few feet behind us, clearly having assessed her situation and decided the best odds of getting out lie with us. After more twists and turns and by Divine intervention, we ended up coming out the way we went in! We lost our pride in that corn maze but we learned a few things too: Two heads are not always better than one, but crazy loves company. Laugh at yourself and allow others to do the same. Confidence does not equate clarity, so seek guidance humbly. And it bears asking, are the people we hang with leading us in the right direction? Leading us out of confusion and into freedom or down a dead end? Kids often know the difference and we should too.
It’s important to know where we are. I love the map at the mall with all the stores listed and a large red “X” stating YOU ARE HERE. While it can offer us a known location, X also can represent the unknown like in a math variable X-2=4. If life were a math problem, I see only one viable solution…a known variable named Christ, who incidentally is sometimes identified by the Greek letter X!
My new year's wish is for anyone who feels confused, like they are going down a dead end path, or have wandered a little in the wrong direction. May your hope be renewed because Christ knows where we are and is trying to lead us to freedom if we just follow Him. “Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you saying, THIS IS THE WAY, WALK IN IT.” (Isaiah 30:21) Isn’t He a-mazing!!
Janet Cowger- Fliegel