Tuesday, January 28, 2014

Staying Connected With More Than .COM

A while ago I was talking to my kids about...I don't even remember what. Sometimes we just talk,laugh, argue, and disagree. Sometimes they ask me the wildest questions.
"Mom, What will I be next year besides older?"
"How do they get the corn off the cob without smashing it?"
"How far away is the closest star?"
It never ceases to amaze me what they wonder about. When I was there age I wondered if my brother would have the remote when I got home from school, and if I'd have to watch something stupid if he did.
Perhaps because the internet wasn't around, or because I had to look things up in books all the way at the Library, my mind didn't function on the same level that my children's' do. Perhaps because the biggest problems I had back then had more to do with my homework and chores than they did about Who I was going to be in a year.
The more I thirst for knowledge, learning and experience; the more I understand that I know nothing.
The less I see with my eyes the more I see with my heart. A great blessing my Father-In-Heaven has given me.
A few years ago I worked for a telemarketing company named Western Watts. It was located on Center Street in Provo, Utah. I don't know if they are still there, but at the time, it was a job I could do with magnifiers and my limited sight. I'd moved to Provo after losing my eyesight because I decided it was time to make a life for myself, by myself, not living off of my mom.
I moved in with some friends, found this job and arranged for a monthly bus pass to get around. I was on top of the world.
Unfortunately my expectations did not include the winter weather in Provo.
Living in Southern Utah, on the edge of The Mojave, my experience with snow and ice was limited. I lived in Mew York for a while and was familiar with winter, but this was my first blind foray into a world of white.
One morning in early February I had to start work at 7 in the morning. This meant I had to catch the 6 o'clock bus downtown.
I trudged through ankle deep snow in the middle of a storm that had been blowing since 5 that morning to get on the bus only to discover my bus pass expired at the end of January. The bus driver told me he'd let me ride that morning, but he confiscated my pass and said I needed to pay on the way home. I wasn't too worried about it. I could go to the ATM outside my work and get cash for the return trip.
It was still dark this early in the morning so when the bus driver dropped me off at the stop 2 blocks from work, I wasn't surprised that I didn't recognize anything. It was either pitch black or hazy, blurry shapes coated in white. With my cane in one hand, I set out down the sidewalk, counting on my familiarity with the sidewalk between the bus stop and work to help me navigate the shapeless white blobs all around.
After walking in the "blizzard" for the requisite two blocks, I discovered I was not in front of my building. I backtracked to the bus stop, concentrated and made the trip again. Now keep in mind, it is like 22 degrees, a snow storm howling all around me, and the entire city was blanketed in snow. I of course assumed I had gotten lost.
I needed to figure out how lost I was.
Now, you would pull out your phone and call someone, but then I didn't have a cell phone. People with cell phones also had backpacks to haul them around. If I'd had my bus pass, I could have gone back to the bus stop and gotten another bus to help me. I probably should have done that anyway, but I didn't go back and re-connect with the bus driver because he'd chastised me for not renewing my bus pass and I didn't want to beg him to let me back on the bus. There's a huge lesson to be learned here about swallowing your pride, but that's another day.
Instead of trying to find anyone I could ask, or could guide me, I huddled in a storefront and tried to figure out what had gone wrong.
Now to my credit, It was before dawn, all the stores were closed, and the traffic in the snowstorm was nil. It wasn't like I had a lot of options. By the time I figured out where I was it was beginning to get light out, the sunrise reflecting off the snow and making my limited sight worse. I did manage to find some numbers engraved on a doorway telling me the address where I was. With my frozen fingers I learned-Instead of letting me off at 400 west, the bus driver had let me off at 400 east. Over 8 blocks from where I needed to be.
A sighted person could have jogged that 8 blocks in about 5 minutes, but for me in the snow and unfamiliar territory it took me almost 3 hours to figure it all out, go in the right direction, and stay on track until I got to somewhere familiar.
When I showed up my feet were coated in snow because I was a desert girl, I didn't own boots, my whole body was one giant block of ice, and my boss was ready to fire me.
In hindsight I can see every moment I came to a decision and made the wrong one. Looking back I can tell I wasn't connected to anything real. Blinding snow flurries, Camouflaged buildings, and unfamiliar streets, but nothing that held real answers. Oh the answers were all around me, I just wasn't asking the right questions. Or, asking the right person.
When I finally prayed with every breath I took, I was led to my destination. Maybe if I'd of had access to google instead of God I could have found answers. The truth though is:
Even with modern technology, satellites, and the internet, I would still have had to trust my connection with The One who could see everything to get me down the road.
My son likes to tell me I ask too many questions now. Where are you going, How long will you be gone, Who are you going to be with? I learned though, if you aren't connected with the people who love you and want your success, you might as well wander alone in a snowstorm.
I'm not great with the computer, but I enjoy being able to connect with people via, facebook, twitter, and my blogs. When it all comes down to it though, I never feel better than when I turn the computer off and find solace to connect with God. Plus its mush simpler, I don't have to remember to include .com.

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