So in a couple of hours I’m going to begin the journey home after a rather epic week in New York with 3 of my best friends.
I’m packed up, dressed for the next 15 hour flight, and pleasantly exhausted from the amount we’ve literally crammed into the last few days. These girls encourage me and inspire me. I love them. But as I live in Japan, and they live in Scotland, it’s pretty precious time when we can grab some space together.
Now New York has been a massive culture shock for me. It’s worlds apart from Japan. Literally. It’s crazy loud, and the customer service is crazy intense, and the people talk crazy fast.
It’s also a little bit *and by little bit, I mean a whole lot* less safe than Japan. I mean, don’t get me wrong, it’s not that bad. But you do have to pay attention to certain things.
Things like, for example, not getting into unknown strangers cars.
Okay, okay. I know. That’s kind of a given in any country isn’t it?
Okay, okay. Let me tell you a story.
I was travelling to NYC from Japan, and my friends from the UK. They actually arrived the day before me because of the slightly shorter journey. And when I arrived at JFK airport myself and checked my emails, I had one from them saying, ‘Only get in a yellow NYC taxi! No other car!’
Which was weird.
I mean, I had heard this advice about taxis before, but it also made little sense to me because I’m on a travel budget and hadn’t been planning on using a taxi from the airport anyway. A taxi costs about 60 dollars after all! So I kind of disregarded this email and just hopped on a 7 dollar train, subway combination. No problem.
But when I made it to our hotel and had a proper chance to catch up with them, I had to ask… ‘What was with the weird taxi email about?’
To which my friends all groaned.
And then told me about their experiences the previous day.
They had arrived at the airport. And they had a reasonable amount of luggage. So they thought they’d share the price of the taxi from the airport to the hotel between three of them.
Except when they got to the taxi place, there weren’t any yellow taxis waiting.
But there was a black ‘taxi’.
The driver told them there were no taxis running at that time (or something relatively ridiculous, but kind of plausible if you’d never been to NYC before), and then quoted them a pretty expensive price, that they decided would be alright for an easy journey.
So they began their journey.
Which I think consisted of them driving the length and breadth of NYC, in a random black car, driven by a very unauthorised taxi driver and possibly quite a dodgy individual, who spent the journey speaking multiple languages into multiple mobile phones.
It’s honestly the stuff of this-is-how-people-get-trafficked-nightmares.
Thankfully, my three friends are pretty hardy, and after some questioning on their location, the guy eventually took them to the hotel. And proceeded to charge them possibly the most expensive taxi fee ever paid in the history of dodgy-taxi-driving cons.
We have since been able to look back on this experience of New York, from the safety and comfort following week, and see the learning and funny side.
Predominately, don’t get into non-yellow taxis.
Like, just never, ever, ever do it.
Even if the driver sounds convincing.
Even if it looks like it’s okay.
If it’s not a yellow taxi, for goodness sake, don’t do it.
And so, as I finish this epic week of fun and laughter, and SAFETY, my thoughts are on this experience and some of the parallels it has to life and love and faith and how we journey with Holy Spirit.
Amanda Cook released a song last week called ‘Pieces’, and it’s talking about the love of God, for us. It begins like this.
Your love is wild
Your love is wild for me
It isn’t shy
Your love is proud
To be seen with me
You don’t give Your heart in pieces
You don’t hide Yourself to tease us.
It’s an awesome description of the awesome love of God. This love that we are invited into. This love that invites us into an exclusive and fully committed wholeness.
Let’s pretend that it’s like a yellow taxi.
It’s the one way we should take. It’s clear. It’s the spoken, revealed Word. It’s true love.
And yet sometimes, in the wait, and in the search for the way to move forward, and in our desire to get somewhere quickly, we forget.
That a yellow taxi is the only way.
A black car? A fickle love? Another idol? Another lover in first place? An unauthorised driver? These lead us into precarious territory.
Sometimes they just take longer. Sometimes they’re just more expensive. But sometimes they’re dangerous.
Because we were created for the safety found only in the embrace of the love of God. We were created to travel with Him, and for Him.
And so, today, don’t take a non-yellow taxi.
Don’t get kidnapped in NYC.
And more so, keep pressing into the Love that casts out fear.
Here are a few photos of our adventures this week 😉