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Relying on the Kindness of Others

YESTERDAY I HAD TO GO downtown for a training session for my new job. I was not happy about it. Not only did I not want to give up my Saturday, especially the sleeping in part, I am not fond of driving in the city.

In fact, I can count on on hand the times I've driven into the city by myself. I usually let others drive. Part of the reason is that I'm so "directionally challenged." The other part is, Pittsburgh streets are just weird. And city driving in particular is challenging because there are all these other cars and all these choices of ways to go....

I actually got exactly to the right building I needed to (on the first try!!), using directions I got from Google maps. (Sidebar: did you know that they're doing this new thing now where they often include 360 degree photos of each intersection you turn at? It's VERY helpful.) The problem was, I couldn't find a way to get to a parking lot in the back of the building. So as I tried to make my way around to it, I found myself on a road I did NOT want to take, which lead me further and further from my destination. Eventually I stopped at a CVS and asked the girl at the counter for directions on how to get back the road I wanted.

She gave me very helpful directions (which I admire, because I usually flounder when people ask me). Unfortunately, there was construction on part of that road, so I had to go around. Eventually, I did find my way back to the Y building. I then made a second attempt to get to the parking lot.

In my opinion, there are far to many one way streets in the city. I don't understand the need for them. Anyway, the OW streets led me to another parking lot close by. I pulled in, just relieved to be at my destination. I just wanted to get there--I was already late, thanks to my detour. It was then that I noticed a sign saying "Unauthorized Vehicles will be towed at the Owner's Expense."

All through my training, I kept praying that my car wouldn't be towed. When we broke for lunch, I hurried down to try to re-park it properly (and make sure it was still there!!). It was there, but I still couldn't figure out how to get into the other lot. @#$& one way streets! Finally I saw a guy sitting in his car with the window down in the lot I was trying to get into. So I asked him, and he explained exactly what I needed to do to get in. I doubt I would have figured it out on my own.

After the conference, I met up with my friends Wendy and E at Whole Foods for a little organic shopping. But first, E had to talk me through the city. I had no idea how to get from where I was to WF.

All day, I had to rely on the kindness of others. I had to take a breath and ask for help. I had to admit that I was lost and ignorant. And you know what? People came through for me. I don't actually enjoy being at the mercy of others. I generally prefer to be self sufficient, if possible. I think a lot of people are like that. I often offer to help carry things, only to be told that whoever it is has "got it." I do the same thing.

I don't know what it is that keeps me from wanting to ask for help. But whatever it is, maybe it's the same thing that keeps us all from being a community. Because we want to be autonomous and self-reliant. We don't want to be beholden to anyone else--yet isn't that how we were meant to be? Connected to each other, leaning on those who have different gifts and abilities?

I am grateful for this humbling reminder that I am not meant to go it alone. I need the help of others. I feel compelled to say Thank You. Just to put it out there, for everyone who helped me out yesterday. And not to sound too cheesy, but actually, the biggest thank you goes to God.


Baby Steps

The other night, my brother pulled out a movie and stuck it in the player without telling us what it was.
"It's funny," he promised.
We were met with quirky music and images of a goldfish swimming around the main titles. Have you guessed it?
It was "What About Bob?" and though none of us made it all the way through, we did get some laughs out of it. One of my favorite things about the movie is the idea of taking "baby steps." Now, of course, Dr. Leo Marvin means it metaphorically; but Bob also takes it literally, shuffling out of the office and on to a bus, all while muttering "baby steps."

It's something I've been trying to apply in my own life, though not quite so literally.

I often get overwhelmed with all the things I want to do and need to do and things I want to change. I start making mental and physical lists, and the longer they get, the more frustrated I get. I start to feel like I'll NEVER get ANYTHING done, and then I end up feeling defeated before I even start!

So lately, I've been trying to shift my perspective. It started after I got back from Ireland, as I pictured myself returning there. I would daydream about what my life would be like there, and found that the Ireland Me was a different person from the Pittsburgh Me. And then I thought, why should I wait? If that's the person I truly want to be, why should I wait until I"m in another country to be that way?

So, I'm working on it. Some days it seems easier than others. And on the hard days, I just keep reminding myself: "baby steps." I'm trying to clean up my apartment, and get rid of junk I don't need. Progress is slow! Baby steps. I'm trying to eat better, to cook for myself more and not ingest as many processed, artificial foods. It's hard to do! Baby steps. I want to be more green--not because it's trendy, but because I truly think it's important for Christians to be serious and active about taking care of the earth. But sometimes it's not very convenient. Baby steps will get me there!

I have no idea what the future holds for me. Ireland? Maybe. Maybe not. Maybe it's further down the road than I thought! But step by step God leads me where He wants me. Sometimes I wonder if my interest in Ireland and the ministries there was just God's way of getting my attention for things He wants me to do here. I'm open to that.

I know I need change, and a lot of it. But big changes rarely come overnight, instantaneously. They more often come from...say it with me, now..."baby steps."