Now I have been exploring the city a fair bit on foot, and when he showed me the address, I could see the problem - he was on the wrong side of the river. You see, the river snakes through Edmonton, making certain avenues and almost every street appear on both sides. My foot journey the other day had taken me to an address I thought not too far from the one this man was showing me. So after several minutes, this gentleman was on his way, his gratitude evident, and he thanked me for taking the time to help him... "finally", he said, finally someone who steered him the right way.
On the way home, I thanked God for the opportunity to be involved in this man's journey today. I was glad that I was on that street corner at the same time; glad I could be helpful, useful, a blessing in this man's day.
It's 7 hours later now... and I just looked up the address on the map. I sent him to the wrong side of the river. In a sitcom, it would make a great episode; in real life it stinks. A tired man, alone in a big city, looking for help, weary from his journey, was led astray. In his world, it doesn't matter what my intentions were, the reality is that I was just one more person who didn't help him get where he needed to go. He has already suffered for my mistake.
Maybe this is dramatic. By now, even with the detour, I would hope that he has been somewhere warm and safe and dry for a few hours; hopefully he is well fed and sleeping as I type. But it has gotten me thinking about really knowing the directions - for the roads in the city or the roads in life. When somebody asks, you've got to be sure. I think I need to go and study the Map...