“Stay on the path and follow the signs,” the attendant said as he opened the gate to the corn maze. My girlfriend Emma looked at me and smiled, this had been her idea. Together we stepped across the threshold and onto a path lined with golden brown corn. I had this inkling that I had just become a rat caught in a maze.
The first part of the maze was easy and wide. Holding hands we maneuvered the corners and easily made the right choices. While no one else was in sight we could occasionally hear the laughter of others over the dry rustle of the corn. “Are you having fun?” Emma asked. I nodded. It would be fun if it were pouring rain and the path was ankle deep mud if I was with Emma. But I didn’t say that outloud, it would be too, pardon the pun, corny.
We continued to walk along, sometimes needing to backtrack, sometimes intentionally going the wrong way just to see was was there. About half way the path suddenly got narrow, too narrow to walk side by side. We continued along, Emma taking the lead, until we reached a large open spot with two gates. The signs hanging on the gates said “Right Way” and “Wrong Way.” looking at each other Emma reminded me what the attendant said, “follow the signs, I guess we take the right way?”
“Ok, but what do you think is behind the wrong way?” I asked.
“Probably just another blind alley, let’s go this way, I’m getting hungry.” I looked at my feet for a few moments, I really wanted to see what was behind the wrong way gate.
“You go ahead, I want to check out the wrong way.” I suggested. “It will only take a minute or two and I’ll be right behind you.” Emma smiled, nodded, and ran to the right way gate. After entering the path she waved and said, “have fun!” I walked up to the wrong way gate, opened it and looked in. I expected to see a small room, instead I saw a narrow path that curved to the left.
As I followed the path it seemed to close in behind me. The corn was taller here and created a canopy darkened the path. Where other parts of the maze had a crisp autumn feel this part was grey and depressing. I thought about turning back but I was desperately curious to see how this ended. Soon the path became so narrow that there did not seem to be any path at all, simply a way that seemed easiest. At one time I did turn around but when I did I could not see a path at all. “Ok, this isn’t fun anymore, how do I get out of here?” I said to myself. At that point a breeze shifted the corn and I could see a small opening between the stalks. Stepping through I found a small space with an battered old trunk. The room looked like the end of the line, the stalks closer than ever with no discernable path forward. My only option was to open the trunk.
As I lifted the lid it creeked in an eerie kind of way. Inside were stacks of paperback Bibles, New Testaments to be specific. Inside the lid of the trunk there was another sign that said – “Take one and read the note!” I picked up one of the New Testaments and opened the cover. There were two handwritten words, “yell help.” So that is what I did, I yelled help as loud as I could. Within a few seconds one of the walls of corn swung open and I saw Emma standing in the sunshine laughing at me. Then the attendant poked his head around the corner, “come on young feller git on out of there. Since you don’t follow signs so well you’d better keep that Bible.”
Emma stepped forward and took my hand, “Come on silly. Let’s get some cider donuts.” Walking with her to the donut stand I considered my little adventure and how it was like life. Sometimes we intentionally go the wrong way. At first being our own person and making our own choices is fun and adventurous. But eventually we become lost, alone, and scared. When we find ourselves in that place we only need to turn to God and yell for help to be shown the way out.