September 30, 2015
Last Thursday I saw Vlad’s photo of Niagara Falls on Facebook (we’re friends). It was curious. Why would he post a photo of Niagara Falls …unless he was “here”.
I commented on his photo with a question, “Are you in the States?”
Through an exchange of messages that followed, I found out he was in Toronto for work. He was “here” until Saturday late afternoon. He had Saturday free. He thought it would be great to get together, but saw a problem. He asked, “But aren’t you in Minneapolis?”
We worked on various scenarios. I checked flights – too expensive with the “now” departure date (I could fly to Russia next month cheaper). Trains don’t go there. Driving – too far, too long, too short of time. Gave up. Went to bed content with nothing working.
Woke up early Friday morning. Was not content with nothing working. Looked up hours for driving – 15. Did some calculating allowing for time change, for hitting Chicago rush hour, for sleep. It seemed I could conceivably get there by Saturday morning, but…
The thought of 15 hours on the road driving made me tired and I hadn’t even left. Then there were all the other questions: What to do with Xerx? What about the things I was planning on doing? And was taking the time for such worth it? Was this God’s idea or mine?
Was talking myself out of it when I noticed this song on the top of my screen. The song is from the movie Anastasia – Russian. I haven’t seen the movie and am only vaguely familiar with the story. I don’t know how these words fit in the movie, but they fit so well with what was going through my mind:
People always say, “Life is full of choices”
No one ever mentions fear
Or how the road can seem so long
How the world can seem so vast
Courage, see me through
Heart, I’m trusting you
On this journey to the past…
The road to Toronto was long. Going would be a journey. And it would be a journey to the past – my past times, life, in Siberia, Russia. It was how I met Vlad. We became friends for whatever the reasons people become friends – same interests, personalities, humor, whatever. I would make an effort, when in Novo, to get together with Vlad. We’d share our lives, what was happening, what we were learning about God.
One time when I was in Omsk, Vlad took the train from Novo to Omsk – an 8 hour train trip one way – to spend a day with me. I was surprised anyone would do such. Was it now my turn?
I thought of the line “Life is full of choices”. I thought of the choices before me. I thought of how God has led me in the past. I decided to trust Him. I decided to go.
There was, however, a problem with my calculating of the time needed to get there. What Mapquest did not say is that the road to Toronto was lined with orange cones – road construction cones – 5 quadrillion of them. I realized it in Wisconsin where the interstate traffic came to a halt. Then I hit Illinois road construction and added a missed turn to the equation. This was followed by Indiana, Michigan, and Ontario road construction and more missed turns – the orange cones do not always line up with green signs. I had to backtrack to Canada. Google maps landed me on the wrong side of the airport in Toronto.
Fifteen hours drive time swelled to 20 hours. I prayed for sleep without having to sleep. God was good. I got to Toronto 21 hours after leaving Minneapolis with 1 hour of sleep.
Vlad was waiting.
(to be continued)