We Have The Answers in our Pocket!
We Have the Answers in Our Pocket -
We flagged taxi after taxi. Not one would stop. Actually, it appeared as if the drivers would speed up to get away from us. I’m sure we were a sight. We had just enjoyed a beautiful dinner cruise on the river Han in Seoul, South Korea and although it was after 9:00 pm it was stinking hot, 95 degrees with 87% humidity. Soupy weather.
We had walked in the direction of our hotel for over a mile, trying to hail a cab. I’d love to say that I was glowing, but nope. I was a melted pile of menopausal human flesh, barefoot carrying my heels in my hands. After an hour, Jody and I were beginning to turn on each other. We needed a taxi cab and the Korean-English taxi company we had used during most of our stay wouldn’t cross the river to pick us up. Ugh!
It was getting late, the hotel was another 8 miles away and I knew my husband, “never surrender” Jody, would be fine if we just walked the entire way. 😫 I saw a concierge at a Korean hotel whose name I could not begin to pronounce and much to Jody’s chagrin I stopped our death march and asked for help, apologizing for dripping sweat on his beautifully polished marble floor. The Korean gentlemen smiled, well politely smirked, but couldn’t speak English. We both could greet each other in the other’s tongue, but after the hellos, the conversation died quickly. I pantomimed what I wanted pretending to drive and lay my head on a pillow. I can only imagine the spectacle I was making. Jody had stopped sweating and was turning the most amazing shade of red. After several repeats of my poor pantomiming performance, the concierge did come outside with me and tried to demonstrate how to hail a taxi. Green light means responding to a request, blue light occupied, I deduced as he pointed them out and shook his head “no” to my attempts to hail said taxi as it passed. He may have been trying to shake us, but I was unshakable. I had made contact and this gentleman was our best hope. 😊
Now, I have hailed cabs in many cities in the US and abroad, but something was failing in translation. I had both Uber and Beat apps on my phone, but no taxi would respond to this area. No one wanted to give us a ride. Instantly I felt the plight of second-class citizen or marginalized people everywhere. The agony! 😊
The concierge, was shocked with our predicament as he watched white lighted “available” taxis speed by. Within a few minutes, he shooed us away, out of sight of the drivers and he hailed a cab. As soon as the taxi stopped and the door opened, Jody and I rushed over and slid in- the driver looked at us and audibly sighed! His sigh needed no translation. We were not the expected passengers and he did not hold back his disappointment.
We greeted him with our friendliest “anneoyng haseo” accompanied by a quick head bow. We stated where we needed to go in English. The cabbie was not impressed and he did not start moving the car. He shook his head violently and said what Jody and I both interpreted as “tell me the location in Korean or get out.” I was finally off my feet, cool and enjoying his AC- and I was resolved never to leave this cab of happiness. The man was small, I was sure I could take him. Do not separate a menopausal woman from her AC.
Jody and I both got flabbergasted. We could think of no Korean words- other than “oop tee lah” which I am not even sure what it even means, but it usually gets a Korean smile. After several futile attempts to communicate Jody reached for the door handle to get out of the cab. I believe I growled “no!” I was not letting this taxi go. I would not budge. If we had to live in this man’s back seat, I was ok. But I was not getting back out into the hot soupy dark night where the English speaking taxis would not venture after dark. Not this girl, no way. Jody looked totally lost and stuck between two worlds. Reality and mine.
And in that very moment, when I felt Jody slipping away, I had an idea- I remembered the show Who Wants to be a Millionaire and I thought- “phone a friend!” I called the dispatcher of the cab company I had spoken to a few dozen times that week and had him translate. I knew he spoke English and Korean and I knew he was at work since I had just threatened him with physical harm an hour earlier when he stated his drivers would not come to that part of town to get us. 😊 It took some persuasion, but after some tears, he helped us out! He would tell the driver where to take us. I handed the phone to the unimpressed cabbie and they exchanged pleasantries and a game plan for what I’m sure was how to get that sweaty crying woman and the red faced old man out of his cab! The cab began to move and within 10 minutes we were back inside the safety and security of the Dragon Hill Lodge on US property. Hallelujah! We gave the taxi driver the tip of his lifetime and I tried to dry the seat with a dry portion of my dress as I slid out of his cab! What a night! I can only imagine his version of the story he told to his wife later that evening! LOL
When Jody and I had cooled off, showered, consumed an ocean of water, we practiced a little repentance and forgiveness. I forgave him for wanting to walk in the heat instead of searching for a cab and he forgave me for the spectacle that is, well, me. My poor introverted perfect husband and his highly extroverted, never met a stranger, life with crazy me! After kissing and making up, not making out, mind you- I’m not that sanctified yet- we began the after-action review (or AAR for you military types). We discussed what had gone wrong and how we could have better handled this crock of kimchi 😊.
First, we decided we had become over confident in traversing this major world city and mistakenly thought we were world travelers and not just too middle-aged Americans from Alabama on a wild adventure. Secondly, when trouble struck, we had panicked. We had forgotten our ninja training and forgotten to lean on our resources. Turns out we had the address to the hotel in Korean script twice in my backpack- on our hotel key card and on a translation card I had clung to earlier in the week on every outing. How stupid we felt as we discussed the events of the evening.
We had the answer to our dilemma all along… right in our pockets! In our over confident arrogance, we forgot how to use our travelling tools including a translation app on my phone – ugh! Most importantly, our biggest mistake was that we had sadly thought we belonged in this beautiful exotic place, and forgotten that we were just travelers passing through.
Isn’t this like us as Believers. On Sundays we sing about the truths of God’s faithfulness, Jesus’ love and the comfort of the Holy Spirit. We hear the pastor open God’s word and explain the truth of the gospel to us. We leave on a spiritual high. On Monday we cling to these truths as our life line, but as the week progresses, we begin to think we have things under control. You know the drill. It’s often a slow transition but by the end of the week we have slipped back into our independent ways. We’ve got this week, we’ll give God a break, “He’s got more important things to do” kind of arrogance. Then when the first wave of trouble slaps us in the face, we panic and allow despair to engulfs us. Unable to solve the problem on our own and wrongly assuming all is lost, we spiral down. What happened to that hope we sing about each Sunday, study and meditate on each day? Where is our faith? It seemingly vanishes into thin air. I am thankful for my husband and our marriage. Because always in the midst of the trouble of the day, one of us remembers our identity in Christ and starts to speak truth over the situation. All is not lost- because we love Jesus, we are overcomers. (1 John 5:4-5) We then sharpen each other’s faith and use the tools God gave us!
And like in my crazy, and sadly true story, most of us have the answers right in our pockets too. I have 8 translations of the Bible on my phone. I am never without my phone, so I am never without the answer to every question to every situation life throws at us. No need to panic. I just need to phone a friend; dial up my friend Jesus in a quick prayer and wait for the Spirit’s peace to flow. Then look at the map He left us in His Word.
I also must remember that we are only travelers here- our home is in Heaven with Jesus. The world is not ending. I am not shaken- my eternity is locked in with the King of Kings. (John 3:16)
And in the midst of trouble I must also remember to not bite off the head of my fellow traveler, sweet Jody, but be patient with him even when the temperature is high! We are both learning to be more like Jesus even though some days that destination is just farther away than other days!
And, hey- also remember – don’t go to Korea in August… it’s just too stinkin’ hot!
Keep reading and stay washed in the Word.
“These things I have written to you who believe in the name of the Son of God, so that you may know that you have eternal life.
This is the confidence which we have before Him, that, if we ask anything according to His will, He hears us.
And if we know that He hears us in whatever we ask, we know that we have the requests which we have asked from Him.”
1 John 5:13-15 NASB