This weekend I’m helping a friend out and watching her dog while she and her husband are out of town for a family wedding. I love pet sitting for people because it gives me a different setting from where I usually spend my time—a mini vacation so to speak. And keeping Niko company is the best because his owners live only a couple houses down from me so I can return to the real world whenever I’m ready (or escape it whenever I feel like it).
Okay, that was a long explanation that really has nothing to do with where I am going with this post and isn’t even the shift in perspective I want to talk about. In the guest room at Niko’s house is a caricature that was drawn at Fisherman’s Wharf in San Francisco, California. I was looking at it this morning and remembering my adventure the one time I’ve been to that part of California.
A few years ago, the company I work for flew me out to work in our California office for a few days to learn a procedure that out corporate office would be taking over (incidentally, that plan never came to fruition and the procedure is still handled by the CA office). I flew out on a Sunday morning and would fly back to Nashville on Wednesday. Since I would be working Monday and Tuesday, I knew I would have very little free time to experience the area, but I’d never been to San Francisco and I was so close. So, once I settled in at the hotel. I decided to be brave, take the train into San Francisco, and at least visit Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf before returning to the hotel and getting some sleep before heading to work the next morning.
I did a little research before I had flown out there. Everything seemed pretty easy. Take the hotel shuttle to the train where I would ride into the city, hop on the trolley—which picked up right outside of the train station—and take it to Pier 39. Easy, peasy, right?
Things were going great until the trolley reached the end of its route and the drive told me I had to get off. We were nowhere near the pier. As it turned out, I caught the correct trolley heading in the wrong direction. Still determined to sightsee, I got off and decided to walk for a bit—I had been traveling all day so stretching my legs seemed like a good idea. Plus, I know knew what trolley to look for and I was on the side of the street where it would pick me up and take me to Pier 39.
After a mile of walking, I got on another trolley. We made it several blocks past the train station that I had been in when I first arrived in the city when the conductor (is that what the drivers of the trolleys are called) got on the loudspeaker and announced there was an accident ahead involving another trolley and he had to turn around. We all unloaded from the trolley and headed our separate ways.
Undaunted because I could now see the piers a couple of blocks over, I came up with a new plan. I would walk to Pier 39. So, I began to count. I started at Pier 1 (not the home goods store). When I reached Pier 10, I began to doubt my plan. It would be dark soon, and I was in a place I’d never been before. I still had to return to the train station and get back to my hotel. And I had to go to work the next morning. Common sense prevailed and I gave up on visiting Pier 39 and Fisherman’s Wharf. At least I had an interesting story to tell—and I had seen some of San Fran.
This morning, when I looked at that cartoon hanging on the wall, a thought entered my mind that never had before. Since I couldn’t shake it, I figured I’d write about it. Are you ready? Here’s the thought I had never even considered until today:
What if I had gotten on the right trolley and it had been the one in that accident? What if getting on the wrong trolley was God’s plan to keep me safe?
I was in a city where I knew no one—even my hotel was a thirty minute train ride away. My boss and coworkers knew I was there but the trip was so last minute, I hadn’t even had time to call my family and let them know I was going out of town (I’m in Tennessee and they’re in Washington so that’s why they weren’t called immediately). Maybe, just maybe, my good story was even better than I’d imagined because I walked away from San Francisco that day.
All of those thoughts then let me to wonder how many times in my life God has chosen to protect me by altering my plans—something going awry in the morning that made me leave a little later for work or a wrong turn leading to more scenic than direct drive to my destination. I’ll probably never know if that accident was one I might have been a part of but perhaps I won’t be so quick to bemoan my bad luck the next time my plans don’t work out quite the way I thought they should.