The only way to expel fear is to recognize you are not alone.
A few years ago I spent a day in France. I was excited to tour this beautiful romantic city, even if for just a few hours. My friend, Rochel and I landed super early and planned more than we could fit in, but because we are super human- we managed to see pretty much everything important in just 8 short hours.
In between hitting the Eiffel Tower, sipping an espresso in a cafe (of course one must get to France and experience that) downing a baguette, and hitting up the Jewish quarter in the 3rd and 4th arrondissement we ended up splitting up for what was supposed to be a short period of time. Within several minutes, every building and street began to look exactly the same to me, and I got lost.
This has happened to me before. I tend to pay attention to detail, which causes my imagination to wander, which eventually causes me to lose direction. Like the time I was 14 and had wandered off in Fresno while I was on a student getaway weekend and ended up walking the streets of Northern California until five in the morning. Why they never set up a search party for me, still pisses me off. I guess the teacher in charge figured he’d have one less annoying mean-ager to make a warm soggy tuna sandwich for on the bus ride home.
Okay it only happens to me.
But the time I got lost in France was different then getting lost in Fresno. I was in a different country and unable to understand the language. AND MY PHONE DIED. (not that I had a phone in Fresno either, it was shabbat and also they didn’t have phones back then.)
Here’s what happens when you literally get lost.
You Panic. (check)
You Fear being Kidnapped. (check)
You wonder what it will be like to be trapped forever and what new name people will start calling you. (Oh is that only me?)
Then You pray.
It was in that moment in prayer, while I wandered the streets of France, knowing my flight was to take off in 2 hours, and that I might miss it, and that my friend was probably panicking, that I realized no matter how alone I felt in that moment, I was actually not alone at all. I had a guide and all I needed to do was ask him- “God, what direction should I head towards?”
So I was all, “Hey God, I could use a compass, right about now.” So God sent me into this adorable cafe where they spoke enough broken english and understood enough sign language to allow me to charge my phone and BAM- I was back on track. I stayed with it and found my solution, but solutions don’t come in panic mode. Solutions don’t happen during fearsome episodes. Solutions only come once we surrender. I had to surrender if I was going to catch my flight, find my friend, and not end up as a sex slave. Hello “Taken” thank you for ruining trips to Europe for me forever.
Fear happens when we are not looking, but is conquered when we finally see.
That day it became clear to me that no matter where I go, I am not alone. I have a Higher Power calling the shots. And I realized that Facebook is great for finding French Jews named Eli who got my friend, Rochel and I to the plane on time. Thank God for him, cause I clearly couldn’t find my way to a train if I was staring right at it.
Now you see why I need a tour guide wherever I go. I wonder if God has an app for that.