By Jonathan David Faulkner
It is 12:15 in the afternoon on a Monday and I am sitting on the patio outside the cafeteria talking to my brothers and sisters in Christ. But in the back of my mind I am slowly driving myself crazy. This all started a few weeks back…(cue flashback music)…I had just returned from a trip to Northfield Massachusetts after one of the best weekends I have had in my life and I had no way to get back from the Bus Station in Boston. I had requested a ride from my brothers and sisters at the Seminary but class schedules seemed to make that impossible.
On top of that I do not drive, so I had been talking to the associate pastor and my mentor about finding a ride and freaking out because people at the Seminary were telling me to use Public Transit and people were sending me maps that I could not read and I could not get people to understand that for the visually impaired this was a near impossibility without a guide the first time and I was going to have to do it sooner rather than later anyway because of upcoming trips. I mean, what if I got lost? What if I did not know where to get off the train…I knew nothing about Boston Transit, though I had lived in the North Shore for nearly a year. What was I going to do?
Finally, a brother from the Seminary came down to get me (Thank the Lord because I was seriously concerned I was not going to be able to get home and have to stay in Boston and become a street musician or something. Which you know, I could do, I had my guitar, I’d lived on the streets before (voluntarily) and so I knew how to survive, but doing it for a long period of time?
Okay, okay, sorry, so now back to Monday (Music back to reality). My pastor and I had agreed to go down to Boston so I could learn the transit system. So here I was, sitting outside the cafeteria with friends silently freaking out about the afternoons adventure. I mean, I had mastered the Denver transit system, after getting lost about 20 times, but Denver is not as big as Boston and not as busy. I get it, okay, suck it up Jonathan, you are a 25-year-old grown man who needs to be able to be independent. You need to learn how to do this and you won’t be alone. Pastor Kevin will be with you and God will be with you.
Okay, okay, we can do this, Pastor showed up and we headed for Boston North Station, stopping for lunch and then at the train station so I could look at the departure and arrival times for my respective trips into and out of the city. Learning how to read the board with the help of Pastor showing me how to read the times. Then we headed for North Station and did the same thing, looking at the “Big Board” of arrivals and departures with my magnifier, flying my “I’m visually impaired banner” with great pride and dignity. We then talked to a kind gate agent who informed us that there one can get disability passes that allow you and a guide to travel for free but you have to jump through 20 legal hoops to prove you are disabled (cause you the magnifier doesn’t give it away). But that was really helpful because it would save this poor seminary student money and help me get around the city a lot easier and rely less on people to drive me the hour into Boston and pick me up afterwards.
Alright, I can do this, I can master this system and I can get myself and my girlfriend around the city without fear…I can do this…I mean…I can right?
We purchased our Subway Tickets and headed out the doors, down the sidewalk, across the street and down to the Orange-Line Station. I was still alive, I had not gotten lost, I inserted my card and the doors opened and I stepped out onto the Subway platform. I had never taken a subway trip before, this was exciting…but scary…I mean…I’ve seen Law and Order and Batman. But I’ve got this, I can do this.
We boarded the train, the doors shut, I was not shut in a small metal box traveling about 2 blocks a second and I was going to be on it for three stations. You know, what could possibly happen?
We followed the train down three stations and then, instead of switching to the Red-Line to South Station, which I will do when I go down on Friday. We decided to go check into these Disability passes and so we exited the station and walked down to the store and talked to the lady and then we decided to go up to summer street and walk down to South Station and we found it with great ease and then we decided to walk to Boston Commons and get coffee at “The Thinking Cup” and then we took the green line back to North Station…and…I did it…I learned a good amount about the Boston transit system, enough to try it on my own…Which I get to do…on Friday.
Cause you know, freaking out about things is not always the best, when you have great people in your life who love and care for you and who point you to Christ. Then you really have all you need in life and whatever happens God is going to be good and the Spirit is going to be within you and your sins are forgiven and God is in control and well…that makes learning the Boston Transit system a breeze.
Now if you’ll excuse me I am going to train for NASA…I can do that right?
Jonathan David Faulkner is a student at Gordon-Conwell Theological Seminary, a Pastor, Musician and Writer. He holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Christian Education & Administration with a concentration in Urban Ministry