Of Open Lostness and Train Station Platforms



“I’m not sure if I knew what I was signing up for when I said yes to going on another ‘adventure.’”

Clouds over the AtlanticSo began the first post in this blog two years ago. I remember sitting on the floor in a corner at gate E28 in Atlanta, tired and a bit confused, writing those prophetic words. Step out of your normal, give up control, and get ready for the miraculous.

Do we call it miraculous because we really think God is involved? Or do we just assume it is impossible that anything good can happen that is not brought about by our own power, our own control?

Four minutes.

Arrive from Nuremberg at 6:28pm. The next train leaves at 6:32pm. That means grab my bag and run, and hope to God I can find the right platform. A bit of “directness,” and a good quick decision to take an abandoned staircase gets me on the train with 30 seconds to spare. Just enough time to write Ryan and Elyse, my hosts for the coming weekend, and tell them I’m just a few hours away, and then to get Subway directions for once I’m in their lovely city.

52% is what it said. I swear. I had planned so well, avoided using my phone the whole day, so I could have it in these crucial moments where I needed to make the next step in my travel plans. But the best laid plans of mice and monsters cannot bring a dead phone back to life.

Empty PlatformsSo what do you do? No address, no phone number, and no knowledge of your destination. You relax, because there’s no answer available and two hours left on this train. You wonder: what happened in your life that led to situations where it is possible to get lost in eastern Germany. You exit the train, and see a smiling face at the end of the platform.

I almost started crying, for I know that I’m seeing something genuinely good, something undeserved and unexpected and unexplainable. I’m seeing Grace, and it’s called Hospitality.

I tend to think of Hospitality offering a couch or a warm meal. It’s associated with the concept of “entertaining” in my head, where you try to give someone a good experience. And while that catches an aspect of it, I think there’s deeper nuance that is missed by that. I think, rather, Hospitality is a smiling face at the end of the platform.

I was a stranger. No words can clarify what that means to those who have never experienced a deep sense of out-of-place-ness. Helpless and in need. A bit scared, but trying. I was a stranger, and someone found me, and then brought me in to their world.

There is such joy in being found. But you can never be found if you don’t dare to step into a place of open lostness, if you don’t take on the lot of a stranger.

Step out of your normal.

Give up control.

Get ready for the miraculous.


Still Wandering,



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