One thing I have realized in the twenty-seven years I have been alive is that everything will always turn out right – or at least that everything will be okay at the end of all things. This small, yet difficult, lesson has taken me a little while to begin to learn, and I continue to grow in my application of it. In college back at OBU, there were countless times when I’d sit and cry just because I had a plan that did not go, well, “as planned”. One time, a good friend of mine decided at the last minute that he didn’t want to join us at the Norman Medieval Faire. I cried all night. All of this began to ease when I spent the summer in Kathmandu. They have a saying there: “Kay garnay?” It means, “What can you do?” The implied answer is nothing. We can’t do anything about most things that happen in life. We actually have very little control. I ask my students during our “Julius Caesar” unit if they believe in fate – if they think we have control over the future. And the truth is that we can’t do anything about the external elements in life. I cannot do anything about what happens outside myself. Car wrecks, cancer diagnoses, suicide of friends, injustice in the world. I cannot change much – if anything – about any of these things that have happened and will happen. But I can (and should) change what happens within myself. That doesn’t mean that I must always be happy. But it does mean that I need to love God and love others. It does mean that I need to take every opportunity to find my journey in the same Jesus who changed everything inside of me and made me new.
So, yesterday morning, my mother and I woke up at 5:30 a.m. We walked to the tube and headed back to the airport to pick up our rental car. By the time we pulled out of Enterprise (on the other side of the road, I might add), it was 8:30 and time was ticking away. The day was not like we had planned, but it was wonderful. For the record, I am amazing at driving on the British side of the road. Nailed it.
We drove for a few hours longer than expected, but we passed some pretty darn stellar places- such as Oxford, Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwick Castle, and adorable villages like Tamworth and Lichfield. The motorway was very busy, so it took us twice as long, but we got there: Liverpool, England. We came in from the top, I think. Which is weird become we came from the south. But – hey – now we know. And we were able to see quite a bit of Liverpool. Driving by the waterfront, we saw some Beatles museums from the outside. Apparently, the Beatles are from Liverpool.
Also apparently, Liverpool is such a charming city. I think the name is a bit off-putting. But I want everyone reading this to know that Liverpool is a beautiful city with such friendly people.
I also want everyone to know that I tried to sing Beatles songs all the way up.
After driving around the city, we eventually made it to Sefton Park – destination of my fourth Peter Pan statue. Momma went off to the café and I journeyed onward with my camera and we were to meet at the statue in just a few minutes. So, I pranced down a magical, tree-lined pathway, holding my camera dearly next to me, taking photos here and there and then here again. Then I prod upward and upward to the giant glass house and I know that Peter Pan must be right in front of me. But, as I came closer, I noticed that up ahead, at the time of the hill, was a large, black, iron gate. It was foreboding, looming over me like the Great Wall of China.
Well, probably not that big. But, still.
On the gate, there was a lock.
I looked to the right. The gate belonged to a long fence.
I looked to the left. There was more fence.
I’m not talking about a tiny white picket fence. I’m not talking about Texas barbed wire. This fence was in a circle and it was taller than, not only me, but everyone twice over. I could not climb this fence.
I saw that this large, black, iron fence curved. I realized that it was a large circle surrounding the glass house. Peter Pan was inside the fence and the bushes climbed the fence. I could not see inside. I went back to Mr. Ward’s geometry class from high school, recalling that there are not openings in a circle. Thus, I began to become disheartened.
Luckily, a grey squirrel decided to pose for some pictures. So it wasn’t that bad.
After my woodland creature photo-shoot, I circled the fence and came across my mother. We put our heads together and decided to find some sort of clearing in the bushes. Maybe we could see Pan at a distance. She had seen someone moving inside the glass house, so we went to investigate. Indeed, we walked around and found another locked gate. A man on the inside was talking to some kids and parents on the outside. They walked away from the man looking disappointed.
Uh-oh, we thought.
We walked up to the gate, making eye contact with the man. He was the guard. He said there was a private event in the glass house and no one would be allowed inside the gate.
Here is where my mother comes in handy. I mean, she’s a very handy woman anyway. But, she did something no other person, no matter how brilliant, could have thought of in that moment.
She began to cry.
Obviously, it worked. Thank goodness for my momma.
This guardsman, who we believe is from Scotland, let me in. And I was able to see Peter Pan in Sefton Park for approximately one minute and maybe twelve seconds. Enough time to take some photos and say hello. Yes!
Thus, my mother and the sympathetic Scottish guardsman saved the day.
Life may not be what we plan. But, it all turns out alright. The drive home took twice as long as well, but the day was beautiful. Kind Brits gave us directions everywhere we went and we got back to our hostel safely. Today, we saw the original statue, which I will try and write more on later.
We are having adventures. We are taking control of what we can and creating stories with our lives. And it’s a good feeling…. minus the jet lag. 🙂