Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Subway or...

I keep making this analogy of a subway, but thats wrong. The subway (specifically in Paris) was dirty, crowded and smelled like pee. I always felt like I needed a shower or two after riding the subway. Aside from that, the subway system is very easy to use and navigate the city, there are maps everywhere, they are very easy to follow, you just pick your color line and follow it around. However, the train station on the other hand...well that is entirely a different animal. I found the Paris train station to be, confusing, very confusing and I speak French, conversationally. One of the stations I was in was multi multi multi leveled. The platforms have no signs, the times are weird, at some places you can buy a ticket, but even then you need a reservation. Even if you buy your ticket in advance, you need a reservation. If you dont have a reservation, you might as well not even have a ticket. It was really hard for me to tell, am I on the right train? Oh yes and another really weird thing about the trains, your train could actually stop at another train stop, be disconnected from most of the train and attached to a completely different train going the opposite direction, all without you knowing it. It makes for a very confusing time. Even speaking my bad french, which got me everywhere in France, EXCEPT around the train station....getting frustrated, trying to start speaking in English and the people wanting me to continue in bad french even though I was making no sense Im sure.

Aside from feeling lost and aimlessly wandering the train station, the trains are clean. Really clean and quiet. First class and second class really have minor differences. Its quiet. You barely feel like you are moving, even riding on the super crazy fast high speed trains. A guy comes around and checks your ticket AND reservation. I wondered what they actually would do to you if you screwed up your reservations. Make you get off at the next stop? Kick you off? Ban you? They look mean, the train people. Im sure they arent but they look like they are. The ticket checkers remind me of military guards, not really a nice thought, but true nonetheless.

Now, take into account that I am definately the most directionally challanged person in the world.... (I got lost and ended up in Georgia once...and I lose my way home from the Maitland art center every single time I go there...which used to be about once a week...every time...even with a GPS...)

But I think that is what I feel like..every day...that I am here at the train station confused, not sure where to buy a ticket, make a reservation, wandering aimlessly around the train station...knowing where I need to go.. 100% positive of my destination...but still confused on which route to take and will the mean train ticket takers kick me off half way there...will I screw something up? Looking around and being perplexed by how I even ended up at the train station in the first place...

The only way to get to said destination is in fact, the train...the subways dont go there (and did I mention they smell like pee??) but even so..you cant easily navigate there. The ironic thing is, yes, the stranger in a strange land will unequivically have issues, feel lost and have questions, not be understood....but even the REGULARS...the native speakers...the people with maps and GPS's have problems...they still get thier ticket checked and probably screw up thier reservations...they still have questions and sometimes wander aimlessly...

Maybe God will start putting up teleportation devices..that would make things sooo much easier...but then we might all end up like Mike TV in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate factory...whizzing above everyones head in a million pieces, ending up smaller than we are by trying to take the short cut...




So maybe part of this whole thing is all feeling lost, but at some point realizing we arent really lost at all...we are where we are supposed to be at any given moment...we need to breathe...look around, help a person or three along the way...know that even though we feel lost, we arent at all, because if God knows where you are at, are you really lost if He put you there in the first place? And maybe we dont need a ticket at all, because Jesus already paid in advance. Maybe faith is just putting on foot in front of the other, one step at a time toward this destination even though we might screw up our tickets and reservation along the way, but knowing noone will kick us off and we will get there eventually.

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