A few weeks ago I flew across the country to see one of my best friends get married. The ceremony – which had to be moved indoors due to rain – was beautiful and, more importantly, I got to meet her husband-to-be for the first time (even though I didn’t get to approve of him before the wedding…), and somehow managed to catch the bouquet (which, considering some conversations I had with friends shortly before the toss – you know, about being satisfied with singleness, at least for this phase of my life – was beyond ironic). All told, it was a busy but wonderful weekend – the best part being that I got to see my old roommate after more than a year of distance, happily embracing the man of her dreams.
The only part of my trip I’d neglected to plan for was a ride back to the airport. Turns out, if your flight home isn’t for a full 24 hours after the wedding, chances are everyone you know will be gone and you’ll be left to fend for yourself. So I looked up directions from my hotel to the airport – 4 miles. Not too bad, really, especially considering that I had most of the day to get there. Sure, I could have called a taxi but where’s the fun in that? The aspiring missionary in me could only see the hike as a grand adventure – some “urban-backpacking.”
So, directions in hand and lugging my heavy backpack and messenger bag (carry-ons for the flight) I checked out of my hotel at the last minute and set off for the airport, planning on stopping at a coffee shop for a few hours along the way to wait out the rain which had been forecast for that afternoon.
About two hours later I wondered anxiously when my next turn would appear. According to my directions, I was to go 1.8 miles on Jefferson – and I’d been on in for an hour and a half. Now, I knew my luggage was slowing me down a bit – I certainly wasn’t walking at 4 mph as I normally would – but I should have gone more than 2 miles in an hour, let alone an hour and a half.
Panic setting in, I rechecked my directions. Right on Old Oyster Point Rd. Check. Left on Oyster Point Rd. Check. Right on Jefferson.
Right on Jefferson.
I racked my brain, trying to remember which way I’d turned onto Jefferson. Was it right? No – I vaguely remembered turning left….
I turned around and went into a nearby store to ask for directions, awkwardly carrying my bags – which were starting to feel very heavy – inside. Sure enough, the street I was looking for was quite a ways off – in the opposite direction.
Sighing, I turned around and backtracked, mentally preparing myself for the rain which I now wouldn’t be able to avoid considering that I’d just added three full hours to my hike.
Urban-backpacking… whose bright idea was that?
When the sky started to cloud over, I begged God to hold off the rain for just a few hours until I could make it to the airport. But the forecast had predicted two full hours of rain in the afternoon and, though I had no doubts that God could hold off the rain, I wondered if He would, just for me.
And it did rain – lightly for about 5 minutes, hardly more than a sprinkle.
I guess that’s what I get for doubting the power of prayer.
And just in case you’re wondering how long my detour actually was, I looked it up on google-maps. I walked 3.7 miles in the wrong direction before I realized my error, making my total 4 mile walk into nearly 11 miles.