Today was day 1 in New York City. I had planned to end the day visiting a local sukkah. I have the list of sukkah’s that are open to the public. My friends who are here with me were ready to go. Instead I got a lesson that the Lord has been teaching me for years emphasized. It has to do with time, and how much we are not in control of it.
Where I live it’s pretty easy. You drive everywhere. There is a light rail and I’ve taken it a few times if I’m going into downtown Phoenix for something, but you drive to get to it and park in a lot nearby.
Today I rode the NYC subway for the first time.
Overall it was pretty easy to figure out. Incredibly user friendly. Lots of people who work there and other riders who are willing to answer questions. It just takes time. More time than driving yourself. More time than if I were able to control the means of transportation and take myself there.
Of course that would lead to parking issues and it’s still more complicated. My Uber driver tonight was saying some nights he just sleeps in his vehicle because he can’t find parking anywhere close to his home. He would even park in the spot next to the fire hydrant and get the $125 ticket because it’s worth it to not walk as far as he’d have to but someone is always parked there already. When my friends got into town last night they circled so many times they eventually found a parking garage and then took an Uber to the place they were staying. This morning they managed to get a really awesome spot in front of their building and we took public transport all day so they wouldn’t lose it!
Riding on the subway is an interesting combination of things. One is zoning out and doing nothing (and by nothing I mean knitting/crochet, looking at your phone, enjoying the spontaneous poetry or serenading that comes with a request for payment for said entertainment, or, as the day wore on, staring blankly ahead and trying not to fall out of the seat or fall asleep). The other is paying very careful attention to what exit you’re at, what exit you’re trying to reach, and whether or not you accidentally got on an express train or the correct one. Mostly it is the strange awareness that you are not in control of things.
The people coming on and off are random to you.
The lurching and swaying are random.
The stops are predetermined and not always at the streets you would like.
Riding the subway was an interesting lesson in being content while being the one not in control.
I appreciated it immensely.
It’s not like I’m a control freak, or like my life doesn’t have a layer of chaos running under and through it. It’s just that I’ve structured my life in such a way that the chaos is in areas that I have chosen or that I’ve created structure around so that it doesn’t impact me as so much chaos. Except one area of my life that I must admit has driven me crazy. I was thinking a lot about that, and my feelings about it, before my trip so I’m not surprised God’s teaching me some lessons about it. In fact, I expected it.
After today I’m looking at it a little differently. I think I’m going to go home and be more focused on my own reaction and less focused on this aspect of life that isn’t mine to control. I’m hoping it will be easier.
The thing about this temporary inhabitation of these temporal bodies is that it’s temporary. This isn’t our final destination and we don’t control so much of what goes on around us.
People come and go from our lives and so much of that is out of our control.
Our life lurches, rocks, sways and halts at the places it does and we can’t control it.
The stops aren’t always where we would like them to be.
And there are lessons to be learned before we go to our eternal home. One reason we are in these bodies in these lives is to learn things we need to learn. The lessons are things we need even if they aren’t always things we want.
Really any thought we have of control is mostly an illusion. We can control ourselves, and our choices. We can control whether we stay or go and how we act and react. Other than that, it’s not for us to control
I used to struggle with this reality. As I’ve gotten older I’ve been moving to embrace it. A day on the NYC subway and I think I’m a stop closer to really getting the lesson. Now let’s see if I can apply it!