On a Parisian Street Corner
Today's travel-related Miracle Monday is a memory from your Gospel Blog Editor, Sister Michelle Watson.
For my husband's 30th birthday, we did this two-week trip to Europe. One of our stops was Paris. We had a spectacular time, but one thing that we just couldn't get the hang of was the metro. It seemed like every time we descended into that underground labyrinth we'd either get lost or take three times as long as necessary to figure out which fork in the tunnel to take.
The day we were leaving Paris, we checked out of our hotel early that morning in order to catch a train to Florence, Italy. There was only one train that traveled between Paris and Florence each day, so we couldn't miss it without throwing a wrench into our plans and reservations for the rest of the trip. We left the hotel early ... but we didn't give ourselves very much extra time.
Walking along the mostly deserted streets at a brisk pace on our tight schedule, we passed an ATM and decided that, even though we didn't have a ton of time, we had a few spare seconds to withdraw some cash for our journey — we might need it. My husband slid our bankcard into the slot, and, after pressing a few buttons, the ATM screen unexpectedly froze!
We anxiously pressed more buttons — cancel, cancel, cancel! We frantically tapped the touchscreen in vain. The machine wasn't responding. We were losing precious seconds.
The bank doors weren't open yet, so we couldn't go inside for help. We were losing precious seconds. We had two options: 1. Wait till the bank opened and miss our train to Florence. 2. Abandon our bankcard in the uncooperative ATM and run to the train station.
Both options were unacceptable. And, did I mention we were losing precious seconds?
We felt so helpless, but that didn't mean there wasn't help available. I grabbed my husband's hand, closed my eyes, and said a prayer out loud at full volume right there on that Parisian street corner.
I tell you, within 10 seconds of saying "amen," that ATM machine spit out our card. We didn't press any buttons or fiddle with the machine at all. We were just standing awkwardly on the sidewalk mutely looking at each other wondering what we should do. There was no earthly reason why that machine did what it did.
We snatched the card and started running toward the nearest underground entrance.
After descending into the subway maze, my husband entered some kind of "zone." He somehow knew exactly where to go — turn left, now right, get on this train, get off, get on this next one, get off, go up these stairs. The complicated, multi-connection trip was the smoothest, quickest transit we'd yet experienced.
We hurled ourselves onto the train and sank into the nearest seats. In the grand scheme of things, this wasn't a huge deal, but the sight of that silly plastic debit card had never looked so miraculous, and those tatty train seats never felt so heavenly.
What Are You Waiting For?
This article has undergone ministry review and approval.