The end of August finds us moving into a new rhythm as much of our summer was poured into the pioneering of youth and children’s ministry for a Nepali congregation here in Pittsburgh. Molly and I were able to spend hundreds of hours in the homes of new believers and that has established such a broad base in terms of relationship. If it were up to me, I’d spend all day every day doing just that. But this next few months has me balancing a lot more things – continuing education, discipleship curriculum development, admin sort of assessing what we’ve learned so far, as well as continuing on with hospitality and visitation.
I had just finished a video meeting this morning with ITeams workers in Ukraine, the Middle East, South Africa, India, and the US when I decided to visit some friends that I am close to about 30 minutes’ walk from here. The route is pretty straight forward but things didn’t go exactly according to plan. I haven’t posted much on blindness and travel lately so here we go. . .
I headed down Brownsville Road (the main corridor in our neighborhood which has pretty heavy traffic) and people were out and about. A lady on her steps early into my walk greeted me and about 10 minutes into my jaunt, another woman ask me to come over to her. She asked me for 2 dollars so she could take the bus and I responded that I didn’t have any cash on me. I’m all about the blind and independence but with a 70% unemployment rate among the blind I usually chuckle when I get hit up for money. 
So I continued on when a few minutes later two construction workers stopped me telling me I couldn’t walk down the sidewalk any longer. I assertively told them where I needed to go and these two dudes walked me across the street amid busy traffic, got me past the construction, and got me back on the path on my original side of the street. I couldn’t have asked for more understanding people.
I have several apps on my IPhone that I use to alert me to where I am. I knew the address where I was going but I had actually forgotten the name of the cross street. I don’t like to use GPS as it runs my phone battery down and it doesn’t really teach me to navigate. I simply asked Sire on the IPhone what my location was. I needed the 200 block. I asked Sire at 551, 315, and finally she told me that 220 Brownsville was on my right. I turned the corner and went to my friend’s house whose entrance is on the backside of that block. I found their door just fine but no one was home. Yep, 32 minutes of walking but not so much success. I tried to get a hold of them to no avail. I stayed for several minutes in front of their house and prayed over the family and home.
I started my walk back and I came upon a funny intersection and without knowing it continued down the wrong road. By the time I realized that I had obviously made a mistake I was several blocks off course. I got my cross street coordinates, I had never heard of either of those roads. Again, I didn’t have a ton of battery so I didn’t do GPS just to float me back home. I listened for the loudest traffic I could hear, assuming that traffic was Brownsville Road. I made a couple wrong turns away from the traffic but finally I got to a somewhat busy intersection and got my coordinates again. One of those roads I was familiar with but the cross street normally runs parallel with this road I was on, not crossing it. SO yeah, that was freaking confusing but I kept following the steady flow of traffic and got back up to Brownsville Road.
I am talking pretty chill about this right now but when I get lost (which certainly happens from time to time) I go through a few emotions. The first is usually frustration. I start asking myself, “why in the hell does this have to take so long? Can my life be simpler? Can I just go visit someone?” Then, if I can’t figure out my way out of the situation quickly, my emotion can progress to fear. Half the time when I ask people for directions they give terrible clues and when I need help the most, there usually is no one outside. Having coordinates that I can’t really assess don’t really help. So yeah, there definitely is a level of fear. This can then be followed by determination mixed with anger and usually is ensued by me saying a bunch of crap to myself that shouldn’t be repeated.
I have never gotten so lost that I couldn’t find my way again. Today was no different. My walk home took over an hour when it should have taken 30 minutes. But once you can learn to problem solve (not simply go from point A to point B) it gives you a lot more confidence the next time you get turned around. There is also a sense of accomplishment and joy that comes with getting out of a tangled mess. So once I got back up to Brownsville Road, I could sort of continue on with a much better attitude of prayer that I had for the previous 45 minutes I was walking around.
The moral of the story is that it is not the worst thing in the world when you get lost. I had a text conversation on the way home with Molly and Charity that was humorous. And the many people I got to pray for because of a longer walk today was well worth it. Many have asked how I get around or what travel entails so I share this one with you. No need for sympathy or commendation . . . it’s just my life. 
The bigger story within the story is how easily rattled we all are by pretty mundane things. Annoyance that my friends weren’t home. The lady begging for money. Getting turned around in the hood. These don’t need to be meltdown moments. Exercise is good. Prayer is even better. Take it down a notch Trotter and try again.