Thursday, October 02, 2008

The one with the three evangelists on a train (in praise of "not taking ourselves seriously")

Have you heard the one about the three evangelists on a train?

So, last Wednesday, Nay Dawson, Michael Ots and myself spent the day in Salzburg, city of Mozart and the Sound of Music, enjoying the atmosphere, the street markets and the views. And at about 3pm we paid our 14 euros and boarded our train to Mittersill from which we were due to arrive at 5.45pm.

Simple eh!

An hour later we passed through Schwartzach St. Veit and continued to enjoy the views of the mountains and the lakes. Awed by the handiwork of our creator. Thrilled by the views. Enjoying the journey.

At 5.40pm with our destination almost in view we asked a passenger "is Mittersill the next station" to which we received the interesting reply "never heard of it". We checked with the guard, who laughed! He advised us that we should have changed trains at 4pm. The lights went on.

We'd almost completed a 200km journey from Salzburg to Klagenfurt, which is down near Slovenia in the south of Austria. Our intended destination, Mittersill is in the north of Austria near Switzerland. Our diversion should have cost us about 35 euros but thankfully the amused Austrians allowed us to get back on track for no extra cost. Some grace.

For almost two hours we'd been heading south east instead of west. Ignorant of the truth, with no idea where we actually were, though we were perfectly happy. It's full of spiritual illustrations about how the destination does matter, about what it's like to live in ignorance - we were loving the journey. The application the three of us took to heart as we waited to correct our error at Klagenfurt was the need to not take ourselves seriously. We must take God very seriously. We dare not take ourselves seriously. What do we know? Who do we think we are?

Our error exposed and repented of we finally arrived in Mittersill about 6 hours late. Journey's are great, but destinations are actually more important. In an amusing sequel Nay and I were driving back to Southampton from Stanstead on Monday night and managed to get within about 1.5miles of running out of petrol at 2am...

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