Janie will tell you: I’m not one to ask for directions. It has been standard for some time to credit this to the demon Y chromosome, but I experience it more personally: because I think I should know how to get somewhere, or do something, I tend to persist even when I’m clearly in over my head. “It’s just around the corner here, I’m sure.” (No I’m not.) “I think it’ll work if we just push this.” (No it won’t.)
So it is both good and humbling for me to be in a place where I know nothing practical. I know the alphabet if it’s in formal print–think Hebrew’s version of Old English font. I know a few words, but pretty much none at the speed of conversation. If I’m going to do anything, I have to ask.
Today, I had to ask the hotel manager which buses went to the Tiberius central station (buses 7 & 8). At the main station, I asked the person at the counter which bus went to Ginnosar (biblical Genessaret), and found out as an unasked-for bonus that one was leaving in thirty minutes. At Ginnosar, I asked the way to the museum, the one with the preserved first century boat (called “the Jesus Boat”–it was awesome, and off-limits for photographs–thus the mosaic imagining from a joint Arab-Jewish children’s art display.)
It’s actually a very freeing thing to depend upon the kindness of strangers. Maybe I don’t how to do something, or I don’t have the knowledge to get somewhere–but hey, everyone around me does. And not only will most of them help, but they’ll feel better for it, and so will I. Perhaps that’s why our Lord sent disciples out with explicit instructions to cast themselves upon the hospitality of others.
I have, however, learned how to read “Falafel” in modern Hebrew script, and so found tonight’s dinner place on my own–though in consultation with the server, I had the chicken shawarma instead.