The Road To ‘Anywhere’ Is The Road To Nowhere!


In the fall of 1974 I enrolled in college. The evening before the first day of class, the college held a freshman social in a canyon, which was located some 20 miles from the campus. I didn’t know anyone except Rusty, a friend of a few days. He had a car and offered to drive me to the social. I accepted and went with him. It was around dusk when we arrived and there were many students mingling about. After a short time, we became bored and decided to go back to the college campus. As we hopped in our car, two girls came up and asked if we were going back to the campus. When we told them that we were, they asked for a ride, which we were happy to do. Since all of us were new to the college and the town, we got lost on the way back to the college. We drove around for some time, and none of us could figure out where we were. Eventually, we came out onto the freeway and started driving. We soon saw a road sign that indicated that we were headed in the wrong direction. We were headed for another college which was over 220 miles to the north. Rusty said, “Hey we should just drive to that college town. Do you know anyone there?”, he asked. I replied that I did and that I thought it would be fun. The girls, who we didn’t know at all, both giggled and said they had friends there and would love to go. So off we went. Nothing prepared, just on a whim. To this day, I have no clue as to why we went. We arrived in that town at about midnight. We dropped the girls off at some house. I ended up sleeping on the floor of a friend who lived in the college dorms. Rusty ended up sleeping on the side of a hill, roadside. Nothing was accomplished except missing the first day of classes. I am sorry to say that I participated in this type of mindless activity throughout that semester. As you might gather, my grades were not of a “stellar” nature. This aimless attitude later came back to haunt me when I returned home from my mission a couple of years later and wanted to transfer from that college to another university and was denied.

The point is that when you have no direction in your life, you wander aimlessly and usually accomplish nothing of value. Thomas Monson related this story:

“I remember a time when driving to my home years ago, I approached the entrance to Interstate 15. At the on-ramp I noticed three hitchhikers, each one of whom carried a homemade sign that announced his desired destination. One sign read “Los Angeles,” while a second carried the designation “Boise.” However, it was the third sign that not only caught my attention, but also caused me to reflect and ponder its message. The hitchhiker had lettered not Los Angeles, California, nor Boise, Idaho, on the cardboard sign he held aloft. Rather, his sign consisted of but one word and read simply “Anywhere.”

Here was one who was content to travel in any direction, according to the whim of the driver who stopped to give him a free ride. What an enormous price to pay for such a ride! No plan. No objective. No goal. The road to anywhere is the road to nowhere, and the road to nowhere leads to dreams sacrificed, opportunities squandered, and a life unfulfilled.

Unlike the youthful hitchhiker, you and I have the God-given gift to choose the direction we go. Indeed, the Apostle Paul likened life to a race with a clearly defined goal. To the Saints at Corinth he urged: “Know ye not that they which run in a race run all, but one receiveth the prize? So run, that ye may obtain.” (1 Cor. 9:24.) In our zeal, let us not overlook the sage counsel from Ecclesiastes: “The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong.” (Eccl. 9:11.) Actually, the prize belongs to him who endures to the end.” (Which Road Will You Travel?)

Ironically my experience was on Interstate 15, the same highway Thomas Monson saw the hitchhikers. I have found out that the counsel of Monson is true. Opportunities will be squandered, and our lives will go unfulfilled unless we have a plan. It is a great blessing to know of our eternal plan and the “destiny” of our ride.

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