03 February 2009

The Max train and me

God taught me a lesson through public transit tonight.

I'm living at home with the parental units and my brother, saving money on expenses like rent in order to be able to work for Lahash half-time unpaid. I have been scheduling meetings with people to ask them to join my support team (more about that another time, but if you want a meeting, just let me know!), and those meetings take me all over the Portland area. My parents and I are sharing a car right now, and it's basketball season at my mom's high school and they are loyal fans.

Tonight I had a lovely happy hour meeting with my good friend, Liz. In order to get home, I had planned a tightly scheduled transfer schedule of Max from NW Portland to Beaverton, then catch the last of the newly running WES trains from Beaverton down to Tualatin. When I left dinner with Liz, I realized I was a few minutes behind my intended time of departure. I started speed-walking toward the Max line, just to see my train pulling away in front of me. I saw another train behind me, so I sped up, kind of awkwardly running with two computer bags and my purse banging against my body whispering two or three word prayers. Maybe I was just seeing things, but when I arrived, panting, at the station, there was no train behind me. I waited nearly ten minutes, panic growing in my stomach, thinking of missing that last WES train.

As my Max pulled up to the transit center, I could see the WES train still at the station on the other side of the transit center. I jumped out of the Max at the same awkward, bumping run and rushed across to the WES train, rushing triumphantly onboard, plopping down in a pile of bags, just in time to hear "Thanks, folks, we're going to be heading out in about three or four minutes now." I had been perfectly on schedule the entire evening, but thinking I was behind, so I spent the whole time worrying.

I think it's a fascinating parallel to this season of my life. I have a set schedule, six months until departure for East Africa. That's the deadline, and I have a ton of things to get done between now and then. It's important to prepare, to have a plan, but if I spend the next six months so wrapped up in my plan that I can't even be enjoying the present, that's not healthy. In the book of James we're reminded that we aren't guaranteed tomorrow, and elsewhere in Scripture we're told that what God wants from us is faithfulness. What good is stressing out to serve God in September if I am not able to participate in the beauty of the present, the grace of every breath, and the joy of His presence in the present? Let tomorrow take care of itself.


Liz said...

that's the second time that projector was rustled that day, earlier i was running for a bus, but then had to stop when everything in my pocket went flying everywhere.
It was great meeting with you! i'm glad you made your train. i would have felt bad.

Liz said...

And i was glad you watched 'sometimes in April'. i think i may have seen that at the African Film Festival, but I can't remember. . .