Reflections on a Wandering Life.....

Saturday, February 19, 2005

I'm standing on a platform in an empty countryside rest area a few miles outside of Palm Springs, scribbling in my notebook. It is just after midnight, and I have been staring into the night sky and pondering the bizarre set of events that put me in this place.

The whole problem started when I got to Bakersfield yesterday. I went over to get on the Amtrak bus to Los Angeles, so that I could catch my train to Phoenix. But the bus driver said that everyone going to Phoenix was supposed to get on the bus going to San Bernardino. I went over to the San Bernardino bus and asked what was going on. The driver told me that everyone going West was being taken to San Bernardino to catch the west bound train. This didn't seem right to me, because my train wasn't scheduled to leave LA until 10:30pm, and I had plenty of time to get to LA by then if I took the Los Angeles bus. But I asked him about it twice, and he assured me with emphasis that I was on the right bus.

When we got to San Bernardino, it became quite obvious that he had no idea what he was talking about. There is no Amtrak station in San Bernardino. There were six of us getting out at San Bernardino. Five of them were going to Chicago, and I was going to Phoenix. They had already missed their train, and furthermore, there was no train station anyway--it was a really crazy situation. The Amtrak bus driver wanted to leave, but I told him quite firmly that he couldn't just leave us there. Several folks had cell phones and they started calling Amtrak. Finally, the Amtrak decided to send some taxis to take everyone back to LA to a hotel. I was not enthusiastic about doing this, because my train still hadn't left LA, and I really wanted to see if I could catch it. I managed to talk to an Amtrak person who told me that if I could get to Palm Springs by 1am, I could catch the train there. The bus driver was taking a couple people to Palm Springs anyway, so I asked him if he thought he could get to Palm Springs by that time. He seemed uncertain, but one of the passengers told me there should be no problem. As the taxis were leaving, I asked the Amtrak bus driver again very specifically if he knew where the Amtrak station in Palm Springs was. He said, "No, I have no idea." I borrowed a cell phone, called Amtrak and verified that his dispatcher had directions to the Amtrak station in Palm Springs, then told him to call his dispatcher, an initiative he should have taken, but seemed not to posses.

So here I am. And what does it all mean. As I contemplate the whole situation, what keeps coming back to me is that God leads us through whatever circumstances come our way. No matter how hard we try to plan everything out, it is God who leads us. No amount of planning and/or preparation can free us from our need for his tender hand.

He leadeth me, O blessèd thought!
O words with heav'nly comfort fraught!
Whate’er I do, where'er I be
Still 'tis God's hand that leadeth me.

He leadeth me, He leadeth me,
By His own hand He leadeth me;
His faithful follower I would be,
For by His hand He leadeth me.

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