Straight Lines

A line in a recent science fiction movie, Prometheus intrigued me. As the human explorers descended their spaceship to the surface of a distant earthlike planet, moving past mountain ranges, dune filled deserts, and curving rivers, in search of mankind’s ultimate ancestors, one of the crewmen spotted what looked like an alien landing strip. “God doesn’t make straight lines,” he uttered. Fascinating. Continents, ice flows and fjords are all curved and seemingly random. Nothing takes a straight path.

OK, I thought. What about a straight line from the sun to the earth? What about the side of a crystal? What about the ordered progression of digits? Then I started thinking about exceptions to the rule, curved space, fractals, and chaos theory and my mind kind of short-circuited. I needed to keep to the plan.

You may protest. “…and He will make your paths straight.” But isn’t that a metaphor for a life lived toward an ultimate purpose and within certain bounds? Is the metaphor speaking to a life without stop signs, detours, directions to yield, annoying jams, or traumatic wrecks? I don’t think so. I don’t think God necessarily gives us the straight road that allows us the freedom to relax, take our foot off the brakes, lean back, and look around at the scenery.

Yet we keep trying to map the road, to outsmart the traffic and take the easiest path we can.

 

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