Holy Cartography!

Whether exploring new parts of the world or traveling up and down familiar roads and interstates here in the United States, carefully constructed maps can prove to be invaluable.

Recently my husband and I traveled to India and the Middle East. Our itinerary included visiting historic places like the magnificent Taj Mahal in Delhi and the ancient city of Petra in Jordan. I kept checking several maps to pinpoint where we were located and to see where we were in relation to other cities and countries. This was especially important to me when traveling through troubled parts of the world. At times, I was even able to consult interactive maps on the internet so that I could pinpoint our current positions and relay that information to family and friends so that they would know we were safe and well.

This month we took a road trip from Florida to Delaware & New Jersey and back. I can’t tell you how many times we have made this trip over the past fifty plus years. When we started driving up and down the East Coast to visit my parents in the mid-1960’s, the interstate system was not yet completed. I can remember driving many hours on two and four-lane roads in an unairconditioned car with little toddlers secured in primitive seat belts which they quickly figured out how to escape! I can also remember the hot air blowing through the car and at one point having one of the kids “sippy cups” flying out the window somewhere in the Carolinas. How did we ever survive those family trips!?!

Fast forward to 2017. During this month’s road trip, we were now visiting those little “toddlers” and their families. We were in Delaware for their childrens’ high school and elementary school graduations. Time flies! But I still rely on maps to help us on our travels. This month, my daughter taught me how to use the Google Maps app on my i-Phone. Now I can use these interactive maps to pinpoint my location at any given time. The app will also tell me exactly how many miles and how long it would take to reach our destination plus local restaurants, hotels and attractions. I still marvel at everything my smart phone can do. If I only knew how to use all its features!

Now that we are home, I’ve entered into a time of discernment, trying to figure out where my writing is leading me. Wish I had a map! As a journal prompt, I decided to check on “Seasonal Inspirations” from “The Way of Belle Coeur” by Sibyl Dana Reynolds…for June (p. 350):

“Before the invention of the GPS, a printed map was the primary tool for guidance from one place to another. There is a quality of mysterious beauty within the pages of a world atlas. Exotic names of faraway countries set atop the colorfully portrayed network of roads and highways assumes the appearance of a topographical crazy quilt, while an unfurled road map inspires the desire to set out for an adventure to explore new destinations and terrain. “

It goes on to read: “Belle Coeur spirituality…incorporates a circular form of cartography, a template with four pathways, four chambers, and compass at the center. Your sacred practices, life experiences, and relationships create your personal cartography. You are the cartographer of your life…. The invitation for June is to travel inward to explore the map of your life…. What map will you create to chart your course for the months ahead?”

These quotes are followed by various prompts and exercises to help me map out the way ahead. My goal for this summer is to practice “Holy Cartography!” Won’t you join me on this quest!?!