Friday, September 9, 2016

Garbage In, Garbage Out by Marcia Lee Laycock

"You have arrived at your destination." The woman's voice with a slight British accent sounded confident and convincing. But I looked around and sighed. I was on a bridge over the Bow River in Calgary, Alberta. There was no church in sight. A lot of water but no church. I reached the other side and the lovely voice told me she was "recalculating." Then she told me to make a U-turn and go back to the spot where she thought I should be. I pulled over to re-enter the address into the GPS. Again.

I knew approximately where I was going, but this part of the city was new to me so I had decided to rely on the GPS to get me there. I had less than thirty minutes to arrive at the venue for the writer's conference where I was scheduled to teach a workshop. This time the voice coming out of the electronic device took me in a full circle and I once again despaired of finding the place in time. One more try, I thought, then I'd have to call someone for directions.

"Come on, Lucy" I whispered. (Yes, I'd given her a name). "Get it right this time."

As I typed in the address once again I realized I had been making a spelling error. When I corrected it the GPS gave me two options for the same street in different quadrants of the city. Fortunately, I knew which one I wanted. I tapped the Go key and Lucy confidently guided me directly to the church. I arrived with about ten minutes to spare, glad I had given myself lots of time.

As I drove home later (with Lucy guiding me around the rush hour traffic), I thought about that small spelling mistake and how it had resulted in so much confusion. It reminded me of that old saying, "garbage in, garbage out." Then I smiled as I realized the irony. Part of my presentation that day had been about clarity, about avoiding rabbit trails and keeping our writing focused. I also thought about the things we feed into our minds and hearts - things we watch on television, things we read that aren't always worthy of our time - and how that affects the direction we may take in our lives. Indeed, it will affect everything we do, including the writing we produce. "Garbage in, garbage out."

A good thing to remember.

Here’s another way of putting it: 

“Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is noble, whatever is right, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is admirable – if anything is excellent or praiseworthy – think about such things” Philippians 4:8. 

Marcia Lee Laycock writes from central Alberta Canada where she is a pastor's wife and mother of three adult daughters. She was the winner of The Best New Canadian Christian Author Award for her novel, One Smooth Stone. The sequel, A Tumbled Stone was short listed in The Word Awards. Marcia also has two devotional books in print and has contributed to several anthologies. Her work has been endorsed by Sigmund Brouwer, Janette Oke, Phil Callaway and Mark Buchanan. 

Abundant Rain, an ebook devotional for writers can be downloaded on Smashwords or on Amazon. It is also now available in Journal format on Amazon. 

Her most recent release is a devotional book for travelers: A Traveler's Advisory

Sign up to receive her devotional column, The Spur

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