Saturday, February 15, 2014

How To Make Decisions - HAHAHAHHAHa

There is nothing quite like a trip away from the familiar to bring a bit of clarity.  Stripped of those surroundings that we fall back on for comfort and security, it is easier to see the big picture I think.  A series of buses brought me here to the shores of the Aegean for a 3 day holiday and some time to recuperate, pray, seek wisdom and counsel, and ultimately, to make a decision about at least the next 2 1/2 years of my working life.

The old cliche' goes like this:  "If you want to make GOD laugh, tell Him your plans."  And so it goes.  I am sure there has been some chuckling going on of late, between the creator of the universe, my Lord, and whomever guards me as a holy assignment.  (my angel).

I currently find myself in a quandary, a dilemma, smack in the middle of a muddle.  I was depressed about it last week.... and angry, but thanks to prayer and intervention, I am out of that dark storm.  And oh so grateful for delivery.

I boarded first the DT2 last night at about 8:00 PM heading to Besiktas, where I boarded a slightly smaller service bus heading to the gigantic OTOGAR where I boarded a third bus, a double decker and largest of all, bound for Greece.  What an interesting cast of characters choose to ride a red eye bus from Istnabul  to Thessaloniki and points in between.  Large gravelly voiced women, pierced youth, covered ladies, hip young Turks, groups of smoking Greek men, a be-furred haughty stylish woman with heeled boots and chic shopping bags from Istanbul's finest shops, an insane driver, and me.  How would one of these travelers describe me... a seemingly confused yabangi (Turkish term for "foreigner" used most often disparagingly) knowing not where she is headed, but sitting in the best seat on the bus.  I booked in person with a nice Turkish agent who smiled kindly at my broken Turkish and gave me seat #1, up top, in the front, near the stairs to exit.

The weather had turned unseasonably cold the day before.  Bitter cold.  Not good news for border crossings.  Collect the passports.  Return the passports.   Get off the bus, stand in line outside having your paperwork checked and stamped.  Get on the bus.  Drive 300 meters, get off the bus, repeat.  Drive 200 meters to the duty free shop.  Get off the bus again, because who can pass up the opportunity to purchase cheap alcohol and cigarettes?  Get on the bus again.  Sleep.  And then... at just about 4 AM I wake to the announcement that we have arrived in "Dedeagac"... the Turkish name for Alexanderoupolis.  I grab a taxi and head straight to the Alexander Beach Hotel... the same place I had planned on staying in on my ill fated October trip that ended up being not so ill fated after all.  (Refer back to Bulagria blog).  The room has a beachfront balcony, though I cannot see it yet as first light has not dawned, but there is a bottle of Greek wine and a fruit plate waiting for me, compliments of the hotel.  Now I know this may seem odd, but I have a glass of wine at 4:30 AM to help me fall asleep for at least a bit before I begin my Greek respite.

I wake up about five hours later, a bit groggy, but anxious to start my day.  I pray through my morning devotions.  GOD knows I am here to make some decisions, and I need all the help I can get.  The only message I can discern is to chill.  He is in charge and has the next step all worked out.  Well ok.  I still check my e-mail... repeatedly, to see if anyone has mailed me with an offer to interview.  In a pique of anger and sorrow, I had applied to a school elsewhere.  One I had wanted to work for, but had planned on finishing 2 more years with my current school before trying to move on.  My situation seemed to be pushing me earlier than I had planned and that same school had a plum opening.  One I would be very good at.  Alas... no communication from them.  Time for breakfast.... which is stunningly, fat Greek, HUGE!  No kidding... 2 long banks of eggs, bread, cakes, fruit, cereal, pastries, jams, cheese, meats, on and on and on.  In addition to this, there was a hot station where you could order omelets, crepes, and espressos.  My oh my.

After this repast, which includes REAL FILTERED COFFEE, I head back to my room to just sit on the balcony and stare at the Aegean which in spite of being gray on this overcast quite peaceful and begs me to come explore its shores.

It is a slightly blustery day, and the chill is still in the air, so I dress warmly and head out to explore and walk the beach as far as I am interested. The area in front of the hotel is rocky, but the water is pristine and clear and I so wish I were able to swim it now, but I shall have to return when heat of the Mediterranean begins to become unbearable in Istanbul.

Beach walks are always good for contemplation and decision making.  There is just something about the waves slapping up against rock, breaking it down into smaller parts, wearing and working chunks into stone and pebble and eventually sand.  That process is such a metaphor to the ego. The water is blue, in spite of gray sky, and the rocks and pebbles are stunningly beautiful.  I love beach rocks and beach glass.  As I silently explore my tiny bit of Alexanderouplolis shoreline, the only sound accompanying me is wind whipping about, the slap slap slap of water, and the occasional gull cry.

Though the sun is not shining, and there is a decided chill in the air, I am at peace here.  I do not hear answers thundering through my mind.  There are no huge revelations that occur to me.  GOD does not shout down from the heavens..."Do this...." or "Do that..."     no.... I hear nothing. But I do spy a curious looking monument on a cliff near this beach... it is painted the typical whitewashed color with blue trim, and has been there quite a while obviously.  As I snap a picture of it, I almost feel that I have violated some private thing by taking a picture of it.  Some kind of grief.  And as I look closer, I see that beyond the tiny door covering the main housing, there is a candle.  Of course.  This is the Greek version of a cross on the side of the road (beach).  This is where someone comes to pray for, light a candle for... a beloved that has moved on to another place.  It occurs to me how
fleeting life is.  In some ways... my decisions are inconsequential... yet... in others... they are of eternal consequence.

Where will my next steps take me?  Where are they meant to take me?  I suppose for some, there is no question of "meant".  No thought of a divine order to the universe where decisions and movement of one's feet impact anything at all.  But I am not one of those.  I am certain that all of our decisions have purpose and meaning.  Still... perhaps the only answer to my quandary is to put one foot after the other in a forward directions and MOVE towards whatever is next.  Perhaps the answer falls within the realm of surrender. Perhaps.


    How will I order these bits of my puzzle ?

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