Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Finding My Way

I found myself lost again today as I made my way around London. No big surprise to those of you who know me.

My plan was to find St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church and -a quiet place to read. St. Martin's Church, with its columned portico, towering spire, and white/walnut/center-aisled interior, is the model for many colonial-style places of worship in the U.S.

Yes, I had a map. Well, it was a subway map with some notes scribbled on it. Maps are a lot like dictionaries. They are most helpful when you already know where you are and where you are going. I think I was reading it upside down.

So I had another first-in-a-lifetime experience. I swallowed hard, stepped to the counter, ordered a venti Caramel Machiatto (I think there was some coffee in it), and read my book at a Starbucks. Not my first trip to the store, just my first time to sit down, monopolize a table for and hour and a half, and nurse a hot beverage. All in all, not bad.

Yes, I've asked for directions. The first person in London from whom I sought assistance turned-out to be a deaf mute. Later, a gentleman listened patiently, nodded politely, and smiled warmly before responding a some central European dialect. Then I found someone who spoke my language in a dialect I could understand. He was from San Francisco and was as lost as I was!

Fortunately, I didn't encounter any danger in my wanderings... except for one near-miss at an intersection. I keep looking the wrong way for on-coming traffic.

I kept thinking that what I needed was an interpreter for my map or a companion who knew his way around. To be most successful on my journey I needed a guide... someone who knew his way around, had first-hand knowledge, and maybe even cared that I had a positive experience on my journey.

Everyday we encounter folks who have lost their way on life's journey or maybe they've ended-up somewhere they didn't intend to be when they hit the sidewalk. Maybe they just need a guide... someone to interpret the instructions, share their experiences, and lend a caring hand.

By the way- I did find St. Martin-in-the-Fields Church and found it to be the place of beauty and worship I had hoped... and needed.

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