In Ireland they say, ‘safe home’. When saying good night after a drink at the local pub, when departing from their friends in the street.
Safe home. Get home safe. Be safe. Stay safe. Drive safely.
We wish these upon each other with the hopes that we will all get from point A to point B with no harm. No bodily danger, no accidents, no assaults. No pain.
But what happens when you have no idea where point B is? Or how to get there? What if you are stuck and you are not safe? Or you don’t feel safe?
It’s after 11 pm and I’m remembering why I moved out of NY. I don’t miss the subway at all. I’m slow. You can tell I’m not from here, getting in people’s way on the subway platform, not walking fast enough. I stand out, despite the fact that I grew up here and lived here the majority of my life. But I’m no longer a city girl. I’m a stranger now.
By now I no longer know what time it is. My phone is dead. Which was fine, when I knew where I was going. But now I find myself at Port Authority and the guy behind the counter looks at me like I’m an idiot when I ask him how to get the train home- he says, go to the train station, this is a bus terminal. Give me a break, I say. I’m not from here.
I search in vein for an outlet to charge my phone. You’d think in a place this big there would be an outlet of some sort somewhere. But no.
I try Starbucks, asking politely if I can charge my phone there, after looking around surreptitiously and seeing no outlets on the walls. They must be hiding them.
They tell me to try Hudson News Stand. Score! There’s an outlet right at the entrance. But when I ask the guy behind the counter he says no, try a charging station ‘down that way’. I see no charging station ‘that way’.
I ask a cop passing by. He says he doesn’t know.
I stop by the information desk, by now on the verge of tears. It’s been a long day. I’m tired and sweaty and my dinner consisted of a black and white cookie and a bag of chips. I just want to go home.
I ask the lady by information if she knows where I can charge my phone. She says to try the building next door. At this point I begin to cry, hating New York and all its inhabitants. The woman asks me if I’m ok. I tell her no, my phone’s dead. She says, looking at me like I’m a child, (I don’t blame her), that’s not a reason to cry.
Through my shuddering breaths I say, “I don’t know how to get home.”
She asks where I live. I can’t talk for the tears. Finally I stutter out, Rockland County. She has no idea where that is. Taking pity on me, she offers to take my phone into the booth and charge it for me. Finally! Some kindness.
I calm down and read a book, standing in exhaustion leaning against the booth.
I did eventually get home. Around 2 am. So the story has a happy albeit exhausting ending.
The scariest part was being without my phone, not knowing how or who to ask for help. Even though I knew where my home was, that it wasn’t very far, that there was a likely solution to be found, I didn’t feel safe. I felt like curling up in a ball and crying and crying, waiting for someone to come save me.
Safe. We take that for granted. Some people never feel safe. Some people don’t have a home.
I’m blessed to have a home and feel safe most of the time.
It’s the lost feeling that gets me. The sadness. The anxiety. The uncertainty. Where do I go next? What do I do? How do I put one foot in front of the other and keep walking?
By the time I collect my phone from the nice information lady and it’s at 35%, I am calm and composed. She wouldn’t know I was the same woman crying outside her booth like a little child only a short time ago.
And I pulled myself up and walked to the train station and managed to figure out how to get on a train and go home.
But in the times when my anxiety gets to be too much and everything is making me scared and I’m almost certain I’ll end up alone forever, that is when I wonder about the God I abandoned, and if He’s listening to the words I’m not telling Him. If He’s collecting my tears and storing them away for later. If He even has a plan and knows what will be with me.
Because I certainly don’t. I’m not saying that faith is everything, but lack of it can be scary. It can make you feel unsafe and uncertain a lot of the time.
I don’t want to be alone forever. I really don’t. and I hate that my inborn faith makes me beg and plead with the God I left behind for something and someone good to come along for me. I hate that I have to ask. Like He doesn’t already know. Like He hasn’t seen my suffering this whole time. Getting a kick out of it, are you?
I want to feel safe, just like everyone else. I want to find my way home, wherever that may be, into the arms of the person I love, and be secure in the knowledge that I’m truly okay.