I’ve gotten pretty good at waiting for time to pass. I’ve spent countless hours on trains, ferries, and busses as well as each of their respective terminals or stations waiting. My Sudoku puzzle book has kept me company, I have read one book (well almost – I wasn’t that interested and mailed it home with two pages left to finish), written blog updates and journal entries, listened to my iPod, slept, and of course, just stared out the window. I’m used to waiting and with travel, waiting is pretty normal. It’s not my favorite thing to do of course, but I am ok with it – unless there is a way I could not be waiting.
I went to the train station yesterday to ask how to get from Athens to Nafplion today. I was told there were trains at 9am, 1pm, and 5pm and it would take me 3 hours to get there. I decided to take the 1pm train so that I could sleep in a little this morning. I arrived at the train station at 12:20 and confirmed again which train I needed to take. I was told track 2, line 2. Ok.
At 1pm a train arrives and I asked another woman boarding the train if it was correct. She wasn’t so sure that it was, but I looked at the map inside the train and it was stopping in Corinth, so I knew I’d at least get to the Peloponnese. The train ended in a town called Kaito where other people that I overheard talking seemed to suggest was where all the connections to the Peloponnese took place. So, I rode to Kaito, got off and asked the ticket agent where to go from there. I was already a little frustrated that the first woman hadn’t told me that I would have to make a connection, but such is life – it’s an adventure right?
I quickly learned that I should have gotten off the train in Corinth to make my connection. Luckily the train I had just arrived on was headed back to Athens. I caught it in the nick of time, just before the doors closed. I settled in, had my yogurt and arrived in Corinth 40 minutes after I would have if I had known I was supposed to get off there in the first place.
At the ticket counter in Corinth, the flirty old man informed me that the next train to Nafplion was at 6:23 – a 3 ½ hour wait. I had missed the last train (which left at 4:23) by about 50 minutes. Lovely. Why couldn’t the lady in Athens have told me I would need to change trains? I obviously didn’t know what I was doing and more information is always better than not enough right? Ugh. So, here I sit, frustrated and waiting for time to pass once again.
Ironically the sermon I listened to yesterday was about waiting and being inconvenienced and dealing with things beyond our control. The pastor talked about learning to be patient and understanding and accepting that God has a plan and is in control and has a purpose for these things. Sometimes things are easy and sometimes they are hard, but in all things we should not be bitter. He used extreme examples quoting Dietrich Bonheoffer when he was in prison waiting to be sentenced for his failed attempt to assassinate Hitler. The pastor also talked about Paul and his false and unjust imprisonment and eventual martyrdom. Both suffered terribly and both found a way to praise God in their circumstances.
I shouldn’t complain that I have to wait. I shouldn’t be mad at the lack of information given to me. Instead I should trust in Him and enjoy the down time. I will get to Nafplion when I get there and hopefully it won’t be too dark for me to navigate the streets and find a hotel. I have learned a valuable lesson to always ask too many questions before getting on a train or bus – but also to remember that it will all be ok. God is in control and though I may have to wait a little longer, waiting isn’t going to kill me. It’s just more time to read, journal, blog, listen to music, or even just stare out the window and reflect.