There is something wonderfully simple in a new city. Guidance, in any form, is gratefully accepted. Directions are received with blind trust. There is little option. Individuals that speak your language are given unusual access to one’s trust. Suggestions on where to eat, shop, wander, experience, and explore are always welcomed.
Shanghai is a new city for me. When I look out the window of the hotel, I have no idea if it is east, west, north, or south. In a city of 20+ million people, it is easy to get or be lost. The skyline seems as if it is out of a sci-fi movie. The roads, rivers, and routines are unfamiliar. Even as I begin to explore the city, it feels as though I just beginning to get a hint of what others consider familiar.
In this context, a friendly face is angelic. He had ideas. He knew how to communicate, at least most of the time! As we shopped and explored, the process was energizing. In spite of hours in the market, more in the art galleries, I walked away richer for the experience with all my money in my pocket. I know it does not always work this way. This trip was magical.
I wondered what it would have been like if I came with an agenda. Being informed without experience will not open the door. Following the lead of someone who has walked the path is an opportunity to see more than either of you imagined.
I am not the first to take another’s guidance. Friends with insight laid out a path. Paul, listened and followed; he “took the men, joined them in their vows, and paid their way. The next day he went to the Temple to make it official and stay there until the proper sacrifices had been offered and completed for each of them.” (Acts 21.26)
Not everyone is willing to go with another’s flow. It takes trust. It takes a willing spirit. It takes courage. Shanghai is a great town, filled with adventures. It is just beginning.