Monday, April 3, 2017

Train of Thought—Not!


Got to the train station in time and felt confident about which train to take and when. Five classes of kids from 4 years old to 4th grade waiting for me at the Munich International School. While waiting for the train, I got absorbed in some body percussion pattern I was trying out for the class and when a train came on the track behind me, I jumped aboard quickly without thinking. Don't ask me why. Then asked a boy if it was going to my destination. “No,” he said, pointing to the tracks on the other side. So I tried to get out, but the door was locked. 

Dang! Well, I had hopes that after going the wrong way one station, I might run across the platform to the right train. And sure enough, as we approached the next station, there was my train poised to go the other way. My doors opened, I stepped out and— it left before I could take the ten steps to board! Double-Dang! So now with no i-Phone and someone waiting to pick me up at the other end, I was going to have to wait 20 minutes for the next one and hope she’d wait for me.

It came, I boarded and after 20 minutes of self-scolding about my own stupidity, I finally relaxed and let it go. And then I noticed it was close to the time I was supposed to arrive. There we were at Stanberg Nord, but I had Stanberg in my memory so stayed on and got off the next stop. Out I walked and my ride was… not there. Had she left because I missed the first train? I saw a cafĂ© and went to check on Internet connection because Mr. Proud Luddite has refused an i-Phone, but there was no connection to at least write a quick e-mail asking where she might be. But I did have the good sense to double-check her directions and saw that indeed it was Stanberg Nord that was the agreed-upon stop. Now 15 minutes before my class was to begin, things were getting tense. But I thought it would be simple just to go across the tracks and grab the next train one stop back. You would think it would be that simple.

But no. One came quickly, I jumped on board but noticed it wasn’t stopping and some stations were whizzing by. Fate placed a conductor in the same car as me and he confirmed that this was a different train that didn’t stop at Stanberg Nord and indeed, wouldn’t stop until 6 stops below that. Okay, this was suddenly not so charming or funny. Since he was looking on his phone for the next train back the other way, I asked if he could call the person waiting to pick me up. He did, I explained, she promised she’d wait. So I got off the wrong train finally, waiting five minutes, back the other way on the right one and then–miracle of miracles—got off at the right place and met the right person! But at the wrong time. I had missed the 4th grade class that was the first of the day.

How embarrassing! How stupid I was! Twice!!! And then I got thinking about how much people scold themselves for bad decisions and how long they hold on to it and so on. It made me wonder whether Jesus ever had small or big regrets: “Dang! I never should have accepted Judas as a disciple.”

Well, they did manage to re-schedule my missed class in a later break I had, so no big harm done. And I got a story out of it. In fact, a story I told the 4th grade and they were riveted and probably secretly pleased that an adult could be so foolish. They forgave me quicker than I forgave myself and my day with some five classes of kids swept away the cobwebs of my train-fogged mind.

But wasn’t it perfect that on the return train ride I slept past my stop. Yep! Really! Just one station and managed to get back again.

Wish me luck tomorrow!

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